Fifteen years ago, the Centre for Civic Education (CCE) was established, ascribing itself a mission of necessary modernization of Montenegrin society, thus becoming a part of relatively small group of non-governmental organizations still struggling for adequate social and political positioning.
This was a large, perhaps even venerable, task for at the time being limited capacities, although strongly supported with enthusiasm. However, can one move any further without a vision? Can seemingly insurmountable borders be crossed without a dream of better? We believe it cannot, and without such vision we would have not been able to subsist for a decade and a half, to have been institutionally established, to have become recognizable and credible within our and international public, to have directly involved more than 5,000 Montenegrins citizens in our educational and related programmes, to have influenced legislative and policy-making processes…
Long is list of initiatives, projects and endeavors that included even some pioneering steps. It moves in a wide range from establishing the first educational programme for European integration when this issue was not even on the social and political agenda, and even less within the framework of institutions of the system, advocating for and support of introduction of civic education into regular educational system, followed by Democracy School, the oldest alternative educational programme dedicated to learning and applying democratic principles in order to raise the level of democratic political culture in Montenegro, then the Human Rights School through which decision-makers, as well as generations of young people, learned about the modern concept of human rights, to addressing some of the neuralgic aspects of the Montenegrin society, such as dealing with the past, LGBT rights, corruption in education, media financing from public funds, the need to develop political memory, following up with modern tendencies of critical thought, and so on.
The mission of a fight for the civic concept of understanding society which will not limit the basic human rights and freedoms with party and other restraints nowadays is even more pivotal, and exclusion towards those who do not think the same limits social and personal potentials.
This was bespoken by the Executive Director of the Centre for Civic Education Daliborka Uljarevic, during opening of the eighth FAST FORWARD Human Rights Film Festival 2017, which officially began last night in the Cultural Informative Centre (CIC) Budo Tomovic, with the film ‘The Frog’ of the Bosnian director Elmir Jukic.
The Festival is realized by the CCE in cooperation with CIC ‘Budo Tomovic’, International Documentary Film Festival BELDOCS, Sarajevo Film Festival, Cultural Centre ‘Nikola Djurković’ from Kotor, municipalities of Kotor and Berane, as well as Cultural Centre of Berane.
Centre for Civic Education (CCE) will from 10 to 16 December 2017, organize the VIII FAST FORWARD Human Rights Film Festival 2017 with the central programme in Podgorica in the PI ‘Budo Tomovic’ from 10 to 14 December, and with accompanying editions in Berane on 11 and 12 December in the Cultural Centre and in Kotor from 15 to 16 December in the Cinema Boka.
FAST FORWARD 2017 is being realized with the support of the Commission for Allocation of Part of Revenues from Games of Chance of the Government of Montenegro, the Canadian Embassy, the Heinrich Böll Foundation, the Embassy of Italy, the Embassy of Israel, the US Embassy, as well as companies Metropolis, Studio Mouse, Post of Montenegro, PG Taxi and Compania de Vinos Montenegro. Partners of the Festival are PI CIC ‘Budo Tomovic’, BELDOCS, Sarajevo Film Festival, CC ‘Nikola Djurkovic’ from Kotor, Municipality of Kotor, Municipality of Berane and Centre for Culture Berane, while media sponsors are public service RTCG (TV and portal) and Vijesti (newspapers and portal).
Centre for Civic Education (CCE) in cooperation with Coalition for RECOM, organized today a debate on the topic of EU Support to transitional justice and reconciliation in the region.
On this occasion, Daliborka Uljarevic, Executive Director of CCE, stated that ‘it is important for us to discuss on future and establishment of sustainable mechanisms in the process of reconciliation in the region on this day, and we believe that RECOM is precisely such mechanism. Incursion on Dubrovnik, at the time named ‘War for Peace’, was a defeat of conscience and consciousness in Montenegro. This deranged act, that will produce multiple human tragedies must remain a testimony that admonishes and a motive for advocating to the end for facts on events that had their victims and their perpetrators, which left a profoundly negative trace in neighbourly relations. Only righteous and brave proceedings for war crimes, individualization of the guilt, publishing of documents that testify about decisions made by decision-makers of that time, may be a guarantor of security and stability of this region in the long term.‘ Finally, she pointed out the fact that we are ‘witnesses of region being still quite easily ‘flammable’ by irresponsible rhetorics, that more recent history in textbooks either ignores or represents with nationalistic colours, and therefore regional establishment of facts is important in order to constrict space for daily-political manipulations and interpretations that strenghten certain leaders but substantialy jeopardize cooperation and reconciliation, and RECOM offers exactly that.‘
A year of work of the Government of Montenegro, led by Prime Minister Dusko Markovic, has passed into an unexpectedly extremely unfavorable atmosphere for work and operation of non-governmental organizations. Namely, the Government has not made a single positive move towards fostering cooperation with the non-governmental sector, and certain Government actions in this field have taken us several years backwards.
Specifically, the Government of Montenegro has produced a Strategy for Enhancement of Encouraging Environment for Action of NGOs 2018-2020 in this year, without participation of NGOs to the end of this process. Something like this did not happen even in 2009 when the first Strategy for Cooperation between Government and NGOs was drafted. Even eight years ago, the Government recognized the need to involve NGO representatives in drafting a document that relates precisely to the position and work of NGOs. Now even this is being annulled. The Government itself completed the Strategy, feigning ‘involvement’ of NGOs by ‘enabling’ us to give opinions and suggestions at public discussion, when the possibility of influence on the document is very limited, although it is difficult to intervene on content of the document because of many deficiencies. No positive comment from the NGO representatives at the public discussion was directed to the Government Draft Strategy. It is therefore clear that, if such version of the Strategy is adopted, it will not help the further development of NGOs, but it can only serve the Government for formal reporting toward international actors.