Kosovo Collective Report – Fostering societal peace through inter-ethnic dialogue in Kosovo
In 2021, New Social Initiative (NSI) and Peacebuilding Group, supported by the Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD), have brought together a group of people from Kosovo and Serbia in what has been called the “Kosovo Collective” to discuss prospects and challenges for achieving more sustainable peace in Kosovo. Those involved in these conversations were civil society activists, policymakers, experts, scholars, and journalists. To unearth and have a deeper understanding of structural and situational blockages that undermine the potential for durable societal peace in Kosovo, in their discussion, the Kosovo Collective has tackled different thematic clusters, such as: how political developments affect the inter-ethnic consensus between Kosovo Serbs and Kosovo Albanians on issues such as the dialogue on normalization, political representation, and central authority; elections and democratic participation; potential for multi-ethnic and active citizenry; contentious issues surrounding cultural heritage, and the rise of populism and nationalism.
The purpose of this report is to provide a summary of the discussions of the Kosovo Collective in their five meetings during 2021. The Kosovo Collective discussions were structured as semi-formal, Chatham house meetings to facilitate an open discussion on topics that seem to divide Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo. What makes the Kosovo Collective discussions extraordinary is that they tackled issues that are considered as sensitive (i.e., the lawsuit for genocide against Serbia from Kosovo), but these meetings were inspired, organized, and facilitated entirely locally, and none of the meetings had anyone externally (i.e., “someone from EU”) to help create an enabling environment for discussion. What this shows is the strong agency of the civil society in Kosovo, and the potential to play a more constructive and enabling role in the overall process of normalization of relations.