Preserving the identity of diaspora population, improving business ambiance and applying new technologies are key topics of the second diaspora forum to be held in Banja Luka in the end of May, gathering a large number of participants of various professions.
The forum which is aimed at strengthening relations between the Republic of Srpska and diaspora will be held on 30 and 31 May, and it is organized by Srpska’s Government and Office of the RS President Željka Cvijanović, who is also the sponsor of this year’s event.
The assistant minister for international cooperation at the RS Ministry of European Integration and International Cooperation, Nemanja Kovačević, said for the Glas Srpske that expectations from this year’s forum were great.
– This is a unique opportunity to exchange opinions on various topics which are of interest, both for Srpska’s institutions, economy and academic community, and for diaspora itself – said Kovačević.
The aim of the forum is to establish a platform which will gather each year Serbs, Serbian organizations, people from abroad and friends of Srpska.
– Our intent at this year’s forum is to include the Republic of Srpska strategy for cooperation with the diaspora in the discussion. This will also afford an opportunity to our diaspora to propose the ways to take the cooperation to a higher level, after which we should draft the document – said Kovačević.
About 200 participants from 40 countries are expected at the second Diaspora Forum, and support for the organization was provided also by Srpska’s representative offices abroad and Serbian Orthodox Church.
The Head of the RS Representative Office in Brussels, Mario Đuragić, said for the Glas Srpske that this Representative Office had already launched the Srpska Club project in order to map human potentials of Srpska abroad.
– We developed a platform that we have been maintaining for a number of years, through which we are creating a database not only of those originating from Srpska, but also of all those with a positive emotion towards the Republic. The database would serve not only the Representative Office, but also the RS institutions for activities throughout the world. It is very important that we, being a small nation, take care of our people – said Đuragić, who is also advisor to the President of the RS for international cooperation and diaspora.
He emphasized that this idea was the basis for the idea to organize the Diaspora Forum in order to connect people from the diaspora with Srpska.
– Earlier, when our people emigrated to the USA or elsewhere, they would refer to the church for information and assistance. It is different today and this forum is an opportunity for us to assemble and be part of this virtual community of ours. The forum is also evidence of good will of the RS institutions to establish relations with people abroad, to learn and recognize what we can do for them to our mutual satisfaction – said Đuragić, emphasizing that most participants were expected from Europe, but also from the Philippines, USA and Republic of South Africa.
The Diaspora Forum was launched in 2018, at the initiative and under the auspices of the then President of Srpska, Milorad Dodik, with the aim to establish permanent mechanisms for strengthening economic, cultural and scientific and all other forms of cooperation between the Republic of Srpska and Serbs abroad. The first forum gathered about 150 participants from 26 countries, including renowned university professors, culture professionals, businessmen, members of state, province and local parliaments, representatives of the Serbian Orthodox Church, unions, associations, cultural, humanitarian, student and other organizations.
Nemanja Kovačević emphasized that the Ministry had launched the official forum webpage at www.dijasporars.com, where interested parties can register. The forum is open also for foreign nationals studying Serbian language, history and culture, who are interested in supporting the development of the Republic of Srpska by their knowledge, experience and contacts.