Serb Diaspora gets Together

Belgrade hosted the first Diaspora Parliament on Vidovdan, when 45 delegates sought to represent the 3-4 million Serbs living outside Serbia.

Britain and Ireland sent two delegates Miloš Stefanović (Serbian Council of Great Britain) and Mirjana Lazić (Serbian Society). They campaigned on issues such as the Law on Restitution, simpler election voting and the “reverse brain drain” initiative.

Various organisations met for the first time at Sv Sava, London. They agreed on a transparent selection process to satisfy the hasty and rather imprecise request from Belgrade. There was also a shared interest in the Britić vision for a democratic Serb Assembly as the future unifying vehicle of our community.

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The Ministry of Diaspora proposed a 44-page draft strategy on how to better relations between homeland and Diaspora. Delegates must now comment on the plan which drew from the experience of large-Diaspora nations like India, Ireland and Israel. The Church is praised for preserving links throughout the twentieth century. The document observes a lingering suspicion within the old Diaspora of “Yugo-nostalgia” within Serbia, a latter-day Communist brand. However, this same Diaspora transfers $500m inwards led by the largest Serbian populations in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and USA.

There is a clear focus towards education of culture and language, singling out the Cyrillic alphabet. This “easy win” is certainly welcome but any hint of a one-language, one-alphabet outreach policy is not. Our experience shows that our identity as Serbs outlives a language that we rightly make great efforts to preserve but is ultimately no longer vital for our survival. The draft strategy carves out new paths to engage with the Diaspora using social networking sites Facebook and Twitter. This can only entirely fulfil its promise with the option of tweeting to us in the language of our everyday lives.

Read the strategy for yourself and contact Miloš оr Mirjana with your comments.