Latin America and the challenges of the modern world
20/07 – 24/07/2017 Belgrade
CONTEXT_ With its decision to join the European Union Serbia has indicated clearly towards its foreign policy and social-economic priorities. Bearing in mind the geographical position of the country, as well as its historical and civilizational connection with the rest of the European continent, such a decision is entirely understandable. The accession to the EU itself is a process during which important decisions regarding political, social and economic questions are standardized and conformed to the existing norms and regulations. Even though the existence of a normative frame represents an important aspect of state organization, it certainly cannot determine the entire reality of everyday life. It also needs to be added that clear determination for membership within an organization surely doesn’t signify isolation from (intensive) contact with other regions. The stated fact is especially important in the modern day and age where the globalization process resulted in a strong interaction between even the farthest locations, i.e. in the words of Gunder Frank, a chain is being created from the farthest Latin American village to the Wall Street. In such circumstances, Serbia cannot be excluded from the global society and directed exclusively to the European continent, or to just one of its parts (EU).
Latin America represents a part of the world which has certainly been largely ignored by the Serbian public in the last two decades, especially by its academic community which have been dedicating so little attention to this continent. Study programs dedicating their attention to certain questions concerning Latin America are rare, and even more so are the examples where entire curricula are dedicated to Latin American studies. The described situation is certainly unjustified, especially bearing in mind the heritage, accomplishments, as well as the modern day relevance of Latin American experience. A continent on which the sixth largest world economy is located (Brasil), with two significant representatives of permanent members of the UN Security Council (Brasil, Argentina), whose social security systems represent an example to European countries (such as Uruguay) and which creates alternative governance models as opposed to the uniform perception of the world (Cuba and Venezuela among others) deserves to find a more notable place among the Serbian academic programs.
IDEA_ The project International summer school of Latin American studies, managed by the Association of Hispanists, under the slogan Latin America and the challenges of the modern world, represents an innovative project on our territory, referring in its widest context to a multidisciplinary platform which will offer theoretical and practical knowledge in the field of Latin American studies over its five-day execution. The aforementioned school has the goal to gather students, young explorers and experts in the field of social sciences and humanities such as: Hispanic studies, Latin American studies, political science, literature, anthropology, economics, law, sociology and philosophy. The students and experts from the country and from abroad will be able to form concrete ideas and future joint projects through cooperation which will be accomplished by the exchange of experiences, perceptions and thoughts, as well as active acquaintance with contemporary Latin American trends. This would contribute to the strengthening of Latin American studies in the country and the region, which are currently practically absent from formal education. The project plans for the publishing of a collection of papers, being the product of the Summer school and the cooperation between the abovementioned parties, with the aim of contributing to raising awareness of the importance and the necessity of academic and expert concern with Latin America, through confrontation with the challenges of the modern world and the discovery of alternative solutions to current problems.
The School will be conducted on the basis of an equal input and output from the participants, i.e. the participants will listen to lectures by eminent experts on various subjects, but they will also be able to voice their opinions and stands in debates, workshops and forums, all with the aim accomplishing goals of the project. Upon finishing the School, the participants, lecturers and moderators will also have the opportunity to submit their papers on various subjects discussed over the School course for the production of a collection of papers, which will simultaneously round up the whole project.
It should be pointed out that the School comes as a result of a comprehensive project Balkan Cronopios, which the Association of Hispanists has successfully been conducting through various activities since 2013. It is important for Cronopios to awaken the younger academic public and indicate towards the necessity of development of Latin American studies, with the International summer school of Latin American studies representing a continued and logical step towards accomplishing those goals.
ABOUT THE PROJECT BALKAN CRONOPIOS:
The project Balkan Cronopios emerged as a reaction to the lack of initiative among young people in Serbia with a higher level of education, to the insufficient study of Latin America, as well as the general crisis demanding varied approaches to dealing with current issues.
The realization of the project began in 2013. It was envisioned through a series of forums, lectures, debates, films, book promotions and music nights and was aspiring to gather those viewing the stated topics and problems as being significant for the development of our society, either on an individual or a collective level.
The following has been organized so far:
- 4 panel discussions:
- Cronopios (1) are gathering,
- Cronopios at the Balkans,
- Panel on gathering and using public areas in Latin America and Spain, within the 2014 Mixer Festival,
- Panel discussion on the topic of identity and the constant search for identity, with a particular retrospect on Latin America;
- 1 lecture from professor Huan Carlos Monedero on the topic “Is there hope for those who dream awake? The contribution of the civil society in the battle for democracy”;
- 1 book promotion for the book “Economic factors of armed conflicts: the rise of economic disparity as the cause of conflict within countries” Nemanja Dzuverovic;
- 1 presentation and projection of a mini-series “Buried mirror”, based on a book of the same name by Carlos Fuentes.
1 The term „cronopio” was first used by the Argentinian writer Julio Cortázar, referring by that name to „wet green beings”. He describes them as idealists, unconventional, naïve and sensitive beings, as opposed to famas (overly organized, rigid and judgemental) and esperanzas(ignoramuses, plain, dull beings). Such a divide encountered numerous positive reactions, with many of Cortázar’s advocatescalling themselves cronopios, and the creator himself “the biggest cronopio of them all”.