Article from July 1st, 2014
At Yokohama City University, we aim to cultivate human resources who can be globally active in the international community. As part of this, we invite VIPs from various countries every year to give lectures. In 2010, the invited speakers were US Ambassador John V.Roos and APEC Executive Director Muhamad Noor Yacob. In 2011, it was the turn of Italian Ambassador Petrone. And in 2012, German Ambassador Stanzel; 2013,Uganda Ambassador Akech-Okullo. This year, Serbian Ambassador Nenad Glišić gave a lecture entitled “Serbia in global relations”, dealing with Serbia’s economy, business, politics, and so on. In each case, the discussion was held in English, and the event provided valuable experience for the students who participated.
7/1/2014, I attended the lecture about Serbia presented by the ambassador. The Republic of Serbia is located in the center of Balkan Peninsula, and the capital Belgrade is one of the oldest European cities equal to Athens and Roma. The national flag is drawn with three colors of red and blue and white. He explained that white symbolizes the enlightenment, blue is associated with clear sky, red represents the sacrifices, royal double-headed eagle is with a shield that depicts national unity. Serbia is a country in which many races, many cultures and many religions exist together, but today Serbia still has serious and big issues which they haven’t been able to solve in the long history.
Serbia and Kosovo have fought each other over independence. Since the breakup of Yugoslavia came about in the early 90s, the gap between Albanian who assert Kosovo’s independence and Serbians who rejected it because it is a part of Serbia worsened and the Kosovo Conflict in the late 90s created an enormous number of deaths and refugees. We tend to regard the issue from ethnic feuds as having nothing to do with us, so I have never imagined how hard it is to live with multi-ethnic population every day. However, after I heard his words “Some issue might be big big challenges, and it is difficult, but they are living today. They are cooperating,” I thought that we need not see it as a problem of someone else but to imagine and keep on studying preciously because we live in the society in which there are a lot of conflicts even among people of the same ethnic group. In 2012, both prime ministers started to have a dialogue and today it becomes a major focus to implement the agreement and continue the dialogue in order to normalize relations. For sure, they are going ahead with looking back at the past.
How about the relationship between Japan and Serbia?
The ambassador has been enrolled at Jochi University and I felt his pro-Japanese feelings through his warm eyes and his way of speaking. In fact, the relationship between Serbia and Japan is great and I can use a specific example from the support on the Great East Japan Earthquake.
Unfortunately, the fact which Serbia supported us as soon as possible when the earthquake occurred is not famous, I think. Some news reports say that it is the largest monetary donation in the Europe since a month after it even though Serbia never has the money to spare for it because of the rate of unemployment, 21%. A lot of Japanese were saved thanks to Serbia’s prompt and warm assistance. On the other hand, there was a record heavy rain in Serbia in mid May this year, World Trade Organization showed an opinion that the situation was tragic. In Japan, donation for it spreads with a focus on the young generation and the ambassador is surprised at this great support and shows his gratitude. Japan which is in Asia is far away from Serbia which is in Europe. However a deeper bond has surely been built than we expect because it feels far because of distance. It may be that Serbian rich and holy national traits which are when someone gets hurt, other people can imagine their hurts and pains have been cultivated in the long history.
I can show you one notable event which is about the EU participation of Serbia in the future. The decision of Serbia may mark a new chapter in the history of it soon. Through his precious lecture, I believe that I have to be a student and human who always can learn more from various perspectives and have the power to be able to imagine.
I’m glad to take part in a significant lecture like this.
Written by Marina Suzuki,
Junior, International College of Arts and Sciences