Institute for European Affairs is focusing on negotiations between Serbia and the EU as well as on strengthening the capacity of all sides involved in the process. Given the complexity and long duration of the process, the Institute brings together a large number of professionals and external experts with whom organises trainings, debates and other forms of capacity development. We want to contribute to enhanced understanding of Serbia-EU relations. The Institute provides multi-perspective trainings in order to enable active participation of professionals and citizens in the decision-making processes. The Institute actively advocates for fundamental reforms within the EU integration process and in cooperation with partners working on strengthening Serbia's capacity to face the challenges of the global world through collective action. The overall objective is active membership of Serbia in Euro-Atlantic framework for the benefit of all citizens.

The power of one

Someone once said that the strength of the chain is measured by the strength of its weakest ring. Someone else said that the biggest changes started with the single step. Similar is it with the ideas and their practical application. That would be the power of the one.

After almost two decades of the armed conflicts across our region, so called political “leaders” are unable to achieve higher level of progress, specially in terms of communication and cooperation between ethnical groups. There is no, still, a general feeling that things are going better. Unfortunately, there is still present great level of charged interactions; religious feelings are highly abused for even greater and deeper conflicts, which cause progress of distance between the groups that should work on the respect for each other. The cause of these problems could be identified as lack of tolerance, lack of will to change the situation and lack of responsibility for own deeds and feelings. On the deepest, basic level, individual level.

Seems to be that expectations that, just tomorrow we will wake up and things will be settled down in good order, are not realistic. There must be an effort done. Doing things on the greater, political level- specially if there is a change to be implemented, is possible and successful only if the base is solid. Individual feelings of people in our region are not always helping, in terms of building more healthy society. If we could change this individual feelings, raise the level of tolerance, wake up the empathy for each other, there must be better sphere created for implementing the changes on a course of general progress. This problem is so deep and so broad that only complex, multilevel strategy, can provoke the changes. Social and economical depth that we are suffering past two decades, as well as shock of all these changes left deep traumas and lack of sense for other human beings. People became generally selfish and intolerant, even within family. There must be way to treat these feelings, to educate and remind people that being human means having empathy, giving an effort to understand and accept differences. We have to find the way to point out that all kind of differences, from being fan of an other sport club, being member of an other religious or ethnic group, being different in needs and acts, having different tradition are the beauty and the richness, “smell and taste” of different cultures.

One of the ways to wake up and build these feelings could be to act through religious instances. The moment that religious leaders start to insist on the very basic law of any religion, the law of loving the God and everything he has created, including the “others”, with respect against their difference, the changes would started. Also, it must be insisted on promotion of what the beauty of other religions is. Realizing that, a base for respecting them is already made. These are the steps on a personal and emotional level, a level where we feel connection with every human being. There is one more, important sense that must be developed. A sense for consequences of our actions. It is just about spending some time thinking about the consequences of the choices we make each day. Awareness of the results of our decisions must be developed. Even if it is only about words that are spoken out. Working on these small milestones, we would certainly make a fertile base for greater changes. It would be helpful, as well, that political instances move away from this attitude “only me can do it”; the power of individual actions must be recognized. Actions on individual changes could be realized on emotional level, through promoting love, respect and tolerance for each other. Religious groups are significant if not the most powerful factor in this region. This was used sometime ago to separate us, now it could be used to bring us together.

Battles are allowed and morally approved if there is an absolute certainty of the good aims. If the goals are wrong, then religious principles are abused. People are, by their nature, wonderfully generous and emotional. These feelings could be used and not abused for building the better tomorrow. Any more time should not be wasted, lets start changes by using the power of the one.

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