ISAC fund successfully organized its annual seminar in Vršac from 8 to 11 October, 2019. For five years now, the seminar has gathered over 100 young leaders interested in knowing more about contemporary security challenges that we as a society and individuals face.
This year’s seminar was opened with an informal evening discussion on security sector reform Serbia over the last 15 years. The official part of the program started the following morning with Swedish Deputy Head of Mission, Mr. Joachim Waern, who gave a keynote speech on Swedish security cooperation in the 21st century; topics of Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), European integration and challenges that Europe is faced with were also discussed. Brigadier General Cesare Marinelli, head of the NATO Military Liaison Office in Belgrade, spoke about NATO structures and the relations between NATO and Serbia. He highlighted that NATO respected Serbia’s decision to remain a neutral country and that it is up to Serbia to decide if it wants to pursue membership. Afterwards, participants had the opportunity to talk about contemporary military asymmetric threats with Col. Katarina Štrbac, Director of Directorate for European Integration in the Ministry of Defence, who pointed out that wars will be conducted with keyboards instead of conventional means in the near future. The first day of the seminar was finished with a presentation of the Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for Security Policy, Ambassador Branimir Filipović, who spoke about NATO-Serbia relations in the context of the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP). IPAP is currently the main framework which defines Serbia-NATO relations and cooperation in specific areas that are jointly agreed by Serbia and NATO.
The second day of the Seminar, after having some time to explore the town of Vrsac, started with the panel “Fake news and the post-truth era: perceptions of media, security and conflict”. The speakers for this panel were investigative journalists: Marija Vučić (KRIK), Slobodan Georgiev (BIRN) and Siniša Dedeić (Istinomer). The panellists touched on several important topics including media freedom, disinformation, relativization of the truth, deep fake news, etc. which was followed by an in-depth question and answer session with the participants. Following the panel, cyber security expert Adel Abusara, brought up the topic of cyber security and risks that individuals, companies and states are faced with, through an interactive and dynamic debate. Many participants after the presentation quickly double checked their online security and privacy credentials, especially when it comes to email and social media. At the end of the day, participants talked about the EU and CFSP, security risks and challenges in light of Brexit with Vladimir Ateljević, Senior Advisor of the Minister for European Integration.
The last day was dedicated to visual communication as a mean for spreading propaganda, a topic that was presented by Nenad Baćanović, creative director at Imagine&George. The fifth Young Leaders Security Seminar was officially closed with the presentation about skills necessary for applying for work and internships, which presents a daunting task for some students and recent graduates. Participants had the opportunity to hear what a good CV is consisted of, how to prepare for an interview, and how to present yourself at the interview through a simulation with Svetlana Stefanović, Program Coordinator at the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence and Executive Director of the Belgrade Security Forum (BSF).
It is our distinct pleasure that we managed to fulfil our participants’ high expectations and provided a platform for gaining new knowledge, hearing different perspectives and opinions, expressing their doubts and critics.
ISAC Fund is especially proud of the Young Leaders Security Seminar because it cherishes the culture of debate and discussion based on arguments. This seminar encourages participants to ask questions, criticize, explore, express their own opinion and listen to others. For five years ISAC has expanded its alumni network to more than 300 people from a wide variety of programs. We are pleased to maintain contact with our alumni members through programmes of volunteering, internship, mentoring and publishing papers, forwarding invitations for seminars and conferences with similar topics.
Once again, we would like to thank to all participants and speakers on their great contribution and excellent cooperation! Special thanks to our partners from European Western Balkans (EWB) for following the entire seminar and providing news that you can find below.
Photos will be available at our Facebook page soon!