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Palmer on Serbia's Visible Progress

From a fireside chat organized by EWB, SAFC & US Embassy, Belgrade

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and Special Representative of the State Department for the Western Balkans Matthew Palmer assessed that Serbia has made significant progress in recent years, adding that bilateral relations between Serbia and the United States are strong and that there is a clear common vision for the future.

Matthew Palmer took part at a fireside chat conference "The Future of US-Serbian Relations and US Policy towards the Western Balkans", organized by the Congress of Serbian-American Friendship (KSAP) and "East West Bridge" (EWB), talking about Serbia in 1993 when he first visited our country and Serbia today, he pointed out that it is clear that progress has been made.

As he said, during his last visit, he saw more optimistic and positive people, which is completely understandable due to various circumstances in the mid-1990s, such as the war and sanctions, the KSAP and EWB said.

In a conversation with EWB founder Jovan Kovačić, Palmer said that the visible progress that Serbia has experienced in recent years is especially significant, although there is room for progress, and it is clear that optimism is shared by the United States.

"My impression from the last talks with Serbian officials is that fundamentally, bilateral relations between the two countries are strong, but that there is also a clear common vision of the future and the future of Serbia as an EU member, with all areas that qualify it as economically strong states," he said.

The United States supports Serbia's European path

He reiterated that the United States supports Serbia's European path, and speaking about Euroscepticism in the Serbian public, he said that it was not incomprehensible, having in mind that reforms, which in the end prove to be worth the effort, are sometimes difficult.

"The path to EU membership is difficult and often seems endless. However, in practice it has been shown that when a country reaches its goal, it becomes clear to citizens that the benefits far outweigh the difficulties. I expect that this will be the case with Serbia, ie when people see the real benefits of membership, that support for the European path will increase, "Palmer said.

He also pointed out that it is important for the Balkan countries to know that the path of reform is important and always recognized and rewarded.

Speaking about the mini Schengen, Palmer emphasized the importance of regional connections and initiatives that further encourage growth and prosperity.

He reminded of Serbia’s constructive role in regional initiatives such as mini Schengen, but also added that he would like to see the support of the entire region for such initiatives aimed at solidarity and connecting peoples and countries.

Asked to comment on the importance of the DFC for cooperation between Serbia and the United States, Palmer said that the arrival of the American development agency is the best indicator of the good intentions of the United States.

"The arrival of DFC in the Balkans shows that the United States is committed to the development of the Western Balkans, where I would include Greece. DFC in Belgrade works and is open to new business challenges, which is an important opportunity for the entire region and the United States to develop economic cooperation. projects and other important areas that will help the Balkan countries integrate into the West, "he said.

Palmer added that American companies in Serbia have a very positive impression of our country, that they are satisfied with the conditions, quality and creative staff, especially when it comes to scientific and technological activities.

Godfrey: Deepening good relations between Serbia and the United States

The US Ambassador to Serbia, Anthony Godfrey, emphasized the importance of deepening the good relations between the two countries and stated that this cooperation not only contributes to the economic development of Serbia, but also to the United States.

"That has not changed with the arrival of the new administration in the White House, on the contrary, and the administration of President Joseph Biden continues with the same approach," Godfrey said.

The founder of the Congress of Serbian-American Friendship and MP Vladimir Marinkovic said that he was satisfied, as he said, with the now strong friendship between Serbia and the United States, but that there was still room for development.

He added that in addition to economic issues, Serbia also counts on the support of partners from Washington in resolving the Kosovo issue through a constructive dialogue.

EWB founder Jovan Kovačić concluded the conference by saying that this is just the beginning of joint traditional activities that will be held in order to support and understand the same goals of the two countries.

The KSAP and the EWB have previously signed a Declaration reaffirming joint co-operation in areas such as trans-Atlantic co-operation and integration, regional stability, free movement of people, goods, capital and services, gender equality and others.




EWB & SAFC Sign Cooperation Agreement to Bolster Serbia-US Ties

The Serbian-American Friendship Congress (KSAP) and the East West Bridge (EWB) signed a Declaration on Cooperation today regarding joint work to support state bodies in establishing even better relations with the United States, further developing the European perspective, market economy, transatlantic cooperation and integration.

The declaration was signed at the Hilton Hotel in Belgrade by the president of the KSAP and MP, Vladimir Marinkovic, the co-president of the KSAP Advisory Board and the Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia, Zorana Mihajlovic and the EWB President, Jovan Kovacic.


deklaracija, ksap, ewb, saradnja
TANJUG (Zoran Petrović)


Deputy Prime Minister Zorana Mihajlovic assessed that this is a "step forward" in promoting communication, joint cooperation and work between Serbia and the United States, both at the level of state and public administration bodies and among prominent individuals, scientists, writers ...

"This year we are celebrating 140 years of diplomatic relations between Serbia and the United States. Not only do we have American companies that have invested several billion dollars in Serbia and employ some 25,000 people, but we are also working together on infrastructure projects, and in the future we can do much more." said the Deputy Prime Minister.

Marinkovic said that the platform for joint cooperation between SAFC and EWB in Serbia, as well as the signed declaration, are a good moment for continuation and new dynamics in the relations between the two countries.

"We want to have a proactive position on the issue of economic and political cooperation, new investments, military and defense cooperation, etc. Serbia deserves a strategic partnership with the United States," Marinkovic pointed out.



ksap, ewb


He announced the visit of Assistant US Deputy Secretary of State Matthew Palmer in March, who, as he says, will be the main guest and keynote speaker at an event that will be jointly organized by the EWB and SAFC.

"Also, in April, we have a conversation on the topic of vaccination and the fight against Covid-19. We want better relations with America in the best interest of our citizens and our countries," Marinkovic underlined.

The President of EWB, Jovan Kovačić, said that communication between the countries is necessary for better overcoming of serious obstacles, best illustrated during the Covid-19 pandemic last year.

"We must establish the best possible cooperation. Cooperation with the United States can only bring good to our country. Let's not forget the history of good relations and the role of Serbs in the development of the United States and the indelible mark left by Pupin, Tesla ...", said Kovacic.



EWB & SAFC Cooperation Declaration

Strong Support to Serbia's European Future and Cooperation with the US



                                                                                                                                                   Belgrade, Feb 24, 2021


of the Serbian-American Friendship Congress (SAFC) & East West Bridge

on common work to support Republic of Serbia in developing its European future, social market economy, gender equality, religious freedom, trans-Atlantic cooperation and integration, regional stability and free flow of people, goods, capital and services, development of energy policy and energy supply diversification, research and development,


                                                     We, the undersigned,


Advocating for the achievement of common goals that are based on fundamental, interdependent, equally important and generally applicable European and Euro-Atlantic values of freedom, responsibility, quintessential equality, justice, truth and solidarity, as well as prosperity,

Recognizing that we consider the welfare of all citizens of Republic of Serbia as our primary concern and duty,

Emphasizing firm commitment to achieving European values through Republic of Serbia’s speedy integration into the European Union,

Reaffirming the inalienable rights of every human being, irrespective of gender, culture, ethnicity, social and religious views to pursue Life, Liberty and Happiness,

Expressing our commitment to secure and further develop the concept of social-market economy, based on freedoms applied at the EU market, 

Striving to further promote a democratically organized society, based on respect for human rights and fundamental and natural freedoms, gender equality, respect of diversity, equal opportunity, all-inclusive social justice and security in a stable and efficient political system ensuring the well-being of all citizens living in Republic of Serbia,

Having in mind that powerful ties that bind United States of America and Republic of Serbia are more than 140 years old and that the two countries’ destinies are inextricably intertwined, sharing the common goal of freedom and justice for which they both shed blood and suffered millions of casualties in two world wars,

Realizing that American companies employ some 25,000 workers in Serbia, that they have invested nearly USD 4 billion in Serbia so far and donated over a billion through the development help program and that Serbian exports to the USA were 50 times larger than in 2001,

Noting that military cooperation between Serbia and USA is steadily improving, that American and Serbian troops train together to tackle global peacekeeping challenges, and security services together fight terrorism and other forms of violent extremism,   

            Acknowledging that the Unites States is one of Serbia’s most important partners supporting it in its European integration and that the relations between the two countries are consistently improving, 




By this declaration, express our commitment to permanently and particularly over the next six years:


1.               Improve and strengthen bilateral ties between Republic of Serbia and United States of America to boost strategic partnership and alliance as a vital interest of both countries,


2.               Promote and encourage democratic communication with USA at all levels – from political, economic and military to scientific, educational, healthcare and entertainment, energy sector investments, research and development,


3.               Curtail hate speech and intolerance, affirm progressive ideas and initiate creative solutions to improve communications and political flows between Serbia and the USA as well as strengthen political stability, both at home and in the region,


4.               Create, promote, and implement measures for faster economic growth, reduction of unemployment and improvement of living standards for all citizens, with special emphasis on solving youth issues.


5.               Ensure the safety and security of all citizens by uncompromisingly fighting against terrorism, trafficking and crime in general and all forms of threats to freedom, religious and comprehensive human rights and by urging greater efficacy of the justice system.


6.               Accelerate reforms required for the speedy accession of Republic of Serbia to the EU and boost transatlantic cooperation.








General Principles:



 1. The parties shall consult and assist each other to discuss issues of common interest and interest of community and Republic of Serbia.

 2. The parties will take steps to boost cooperation on various levels representing their common interests in the field of development of the Serbian society and increasing cooperation and security in the region.

 3. The parties will consult when necessary, specifically in the case of organizing joint and collaborative events.


H. Amendments:


Each Party agrees to review the Memorandum of Understanding periodically.  The terms of this MOU may be modified or waived only by written documentation, signed by authorized persons in both Parties.


 I. Entry into force and signature:


This Memorandum of Understanding shall be effective as of the date of the last Party to sign it.

The Parties accept the agreement of this MOU by signing below:


Internacionala konferencija o kardiovaskularnom zdravlju žena "Dr Nanette Kass Wenger"

Prvi put u virtuelnom svetu

Prva virtuelna, ali treća za redom internacionala konferencija o kardiovaskularnom zdravlju žena "Dr Nanette Kass Wenger" održana je 21 decembra 2020.g. u ko-organizaciji sa tradicionalnim našim partnerom Odborom za kardiovaskularnu patologiju SANU koji predvodi Akademik Vladimir Kanjuh i dvoje novih, tj. Subspecijalističkom Katedrom Kardiologije Medicinskog fakulteta Univerziteta u Beogradu koji je predstavljao Šef Katedre Profesor Aleksandar Nešković i WomenAsOne, a na predlog našeg člana Asist.dr sc Biljane Parapid, Interniste-Kardiologa Kliničkog Centra Srbija.

Kako Medicinski fakultet u Beogradu slavi ove godine svoj 100ti rođendan, ovogodišnja konferencija bila je posvećena liderstvu u medicini i značaju nepristrasnog obrazovanja budućih lekara nezavisno od pola, a u cilju smanjenja globalnog oboljevanja i smrtnosti od kardiovaskularnih bolesti kod žena, na šta -- kako je i naučno dokazano -- ima uticaja pristrasno ponašanje lekara koji su mahom muškarci na žene pojedinih regiona, te se kao takvo smatra posebnom vrstom nedopustive diskriminacije kako pravo na lečenje imaju svi nezavisno od pola, rasne ili verske pripadnosti.

Pored Profesorke Wenger koja je bila naš gost i Decembra 2019.g. u Beogradu, i predavača sa Prve konferencije Decembra 2018.g. -- Profesorki Katarine Lalić, Miroslave Gojnić-Dugalić, Annabelle Volgman (Chicago IL, USA), Martha Gulati (Phoenix AZ, USA) i Dr Sandra J. Lewis (Portland OR, USA) koja je od prošle godine i PAC Chair American College of Cardiology -- učestvovali i brojni drugi gosti.

Prvi "key note speaker" Profesor Stephen Ray Mitchell, koji je profesor Interne medicine i Pedijatrije, pored toga što je Dean Emeritus za medicinsko obrazovanje Medicinskog fakulteta Univerziteta Džordžtaun i Direktor W.Proctor Harvey centra za izvrsnost u kliničkom obrazovanju, u čijem legatu se nalazi kompletna kolecija tonova i šumova Profesora Harvey-a, koji je modernizovao stetoskop kakavim ga danas znamo i postavio osnove internističkog pregleda.  Profesor Mitchell je održao predavanje o liderstvu i značaju adekvatnog obrazovanja mladih lekara kako bi se smanjile diskrepance u lečenju žena kako u SAD, tako i širom sveta.

Profesorka Wenger se nakon njega u svom predavanju osvrnula na značaj izbegavanja "bikini medicine" kako je ona šaljivo zove, podsećajući da žene umiru više od srca i kardiovaskularnih oboljenja, nego od svih karcinoma zajedno, što šira javnost slabo primećuje imajući u vidu prisustvo brojnih kampanji za prevenciju karcinoma dojke.

Panel diskusiju su još obogatili: Doktorka Mirvat Alasnag, Šef Kateterizacione laboratorije Vojne bolnice King Fahd (Jeddah, KSA) internacionalno školovani i renomirani interventni kardiolog i prva žena interventni kardiolog u MENA.  Kao jedan od partnera Centra za žensko srce "Dr Nanette Kass Wenger" koji je u osnivanju pri Medicinskom fakultetu Univerziteta u Beogradu i u Kliničkom Centru Srbije, čiji je osnivanje 2018.g. inicirala Dr Parapid, pretvorivši svoju neformalnu redovnu kliničku ambulantu od 2006.g. u formalni referentni Centar kao prvi u zemlji, a treći aktuelno u Evropi. Profesorka C Noel Bairey Merz, Direktor Centra za žensko zdravlje "Barbra Straisand" na Cedars Sinai, koja je jedan od glavnih mentora Dr Parapid i aktivno pomaže kako formiranje samog centra u Beogradu, tako i usaglašavanje njegovog programa sa sopstvenim, ne bi li žene u Srbiji imale iste mogućnosti i pristup dijagnostičkim izborima sličniim onim koji postoje u Kaliforniji. Dr Rachel Bond (Gilbert AZ, USA), Asistent za predmet Interna medicina na Unviverzitetu Creighton i nosilac kompletnog programa za žensko kardiovaskularno zdravlje Dignity Health, koja sarađuje sa Dr Parapid na projektima smanjenja mortaliteta majki u SAD pod pokroviteljstvom Association of Black Cardiologists, što je jedan od gorućih problema zdravstva u SAD, a na koji je široj javnosti skrenuta pažnja tek kada je čuvena teniserka Serena Williams zamalo izgubila glavu posle porođaja, uprkos činjenici da ne pripada socijalno ugroženoj grupi stanovništva, ali je tek na insistiranje njenog supruga -- koji nije crnac -- čak usred' ugledne njujorške univerzitetske bolnice, njoj pružena blagovremena pomoć, nakon čega su oboje počeli sa intenzivnim lobingom za prava svih majki koje nisu bele boje kože u SAD.

Profesor Dan Gaita (Temišvar, Rumunija) kao jedan od renomiranih evropskih kardiologa, član Izvršnog odbora Evropskog Udruženja Kardiologa i regionalni partner beogradskog Centra za žensko srce, iskoristio je priliku da potseti da program koji se promoviše u Srbiji praktično podržava novo-lansirani hešteg #CantPauseAHeart što je slogan upravo započete kampanje za suzbijanje kardiovaskularnih bolesti u Evropi, kako su pacijenti u strahu od SARS-CoV2 tj. COVID19 virusa mahom ostajali kod kuće, umesto da se pravovremeno javljaju lekaru.

Profesor Robert Harrington, Šef katedre Interne medicine na Univerzitetu Stanford i neposredni bivši Predsednik American Heart Association koji je pomogao dolazak "Go Red for Women" programa koji u Srbiji vodi Dr. Parapid u sklopu koga se pruža prilika društveno odgovornim kompanijama -- kakvim su se pokazale do sada sistem privatnih domova zdravlja VIZIM i Informatika d.o.o. -- da se obezbede sistematski pregledi za sve zaposlene žene, a i po potrebi muškarce u cilju suzbijanja diskriminacije u drugom smeru. 

Profesor Mamas Mamas sa Keele University (Stoke on Trent, UK) inače jedan od najcitiranijih istraživača svoje generacije u svetu danas i jedan od glavnih lobista za pravovremeno lečenje žena sa akutnim infarktom u poziciji internvetnog kardiologa što mu je osnovni posao, ali i borac za prava adekvatne primarne prevencije kod žena koje su tokom naizgled normalnih trudnoća razvile gestacijski dijabetes, hipertenziju ili neku od njenih skoro fatalnih komplikacija.

Profesor Ron Waksman, takođe Profesor Džortdžtaun Univerziteta koji već više decenija u svom organizovanju godišnjeg prestižnog sastanka pod imenom CRT (Cardiovascular Revascularization Technologies) važi za globalnog #HeForShe lidera pružanjem podjednakog mesto ženama kardiolozima, od 2020.g. je počeo da sponzoriše na svom sastanku i učešće po 50 novih mladih lekara, koji moraju biti žene, ne bi li omogućio inače finansijski nedostupan sastanak mladim kardiolozima iz zemalja kojima je to teško pristupačno.  Profesor Waksman, inače, saradjuje više godina sa Dr Parapid, koje je i sama deo svog internističkog treninga dobila na Džordžtaunu 2004.g.

U 2021 godini, nadamo se ne samo fizičkom otvaranju centra odlaganom kako zbog pandemije i radova na rekonstrukciji KCS, već i 4toj konferenciji koja se planira i koja bi trebalo da okupi još više gostiju u Beogradu.



To save the country after 25 years, students call for changes to Bosnia’s peace agreement

By Jovan Kovacic

An unprecedented peace agreement was reached in Dayton, Ohio, 25 years ago, one that ended four years of bitter fighting in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but left an undesired legacy of a barely functioning state, massive administration, ethnic barriers and a brain drain. Now, after more than a generation has passed, students from Bosnia have called for a major change.

“The time has come to correct the deficiencies of the Dayton political system and overcome all obstacles to our building a successful future”, reads a joint call by 112 students from all corners of multiethnic Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).”

The students attended an advanced workshop named “Harnessing the Power of Cooperation”, which was held in the Bosnian town Jajce on November 20-22, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina (DPA).  The beautiful hilltop town with a striking waterfall and emerald waters is a powerful regional symbol because it was there, on November 29, 1943, that Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito laid the foundations for what would, in 1945, become the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

This workshop, and the six before held in different cities across BiH over the past several months, was organized by the BiH branch of the Belgrade-based think tank East West Bridge International (EWB), whose 850-strong membership includes experts from 60 countries worldwide, with the support of the US Embassy in Sarajevo, focusing on the proposals how to improve the system of governance at different levels. The students were offered the opportunity to discuss constitutional law, negotiations and diplomacy with top experts.

“We advocate a firm commitment of BiH to respect European values and ideas, as well as to harmonize legal regulations with the European Union laws, and we encourage the strengthening of regional cooperation (support for the “Mini Schengen” initiative) and bilateral relations,” the students, which came from Bosniak, Croat and Serb towns, said in a declaration adopted by consensus.

“I am pleased that EWB and participants of this event have decided to mark the 25th Anniversary of the Dayton Peace Agreement by looking forward,” US Ambassador to BiH Eric Nelson told the students, some of whom who were not even born when the DPA was signed. “DPA has saved lives but as it is frequently noted, it also created a complex government structure abused by ethnonationalist leaders in a way that has stifled progress.”

“It is fitting you have chosen to discuss the necessary constitutional framework to bring progress and prosperity to BiH and move (it) forward on its path towards Euro-Atlantic integration.”

In order to satisfy all sides in the bloody war, the DPA vested more powers in the two entities comprising BiH: the Federation, consisting of Bosnian Croats and Bosniaks (Muslims) and the Republika Srpska, which is mainly Bosnian Serb, and a single autonomous district of Brcko –  than in the weak central government, which is led by a rotating tripartite presidency and a council of ministers that is also divided among the three “constituent peoples.”

Strangely for a country in Europe in this day and age,  the Jajce meeting was for many participants the first opportunity to meet and discuss such vital issues with their colleagues from the other entity, Robert Jovanovic, the main organizer of the event said. The students learn different curriculums from entity to entity and in ethnically mixed areas schools are in some cases segregated. “We strongly oppose the elements of segregation and discrimination in education systems,” the students said, urging the harmonization of the BiH education system with the best world standards.

“Decision-making structures are further complicated by an unwieldy welter of institutions. The parliamentary assembly is composed of two chambers with identical duties. There are five presidents, four vice presidents, 13 prime ministers, 14 parliaments, 147 ministers and 700 parliamentarians, all for a population less than that of the city of Berlin and about half that of metropolitan Washington, DC. These structures entrench an ethnocracy ripe with clientelism that inflames ill-will among the country’s citizens on a daily basis. Corruption is endemic and growing; it has degraded the country’s governance, undermined its democracy, reduced public trust in state institutions, distorted the economy, and attracted dubious financial flows that ripple through the rest of Europe. Bosnia and Herzegovina is not uniquely corrupt, but its constitution is being uniquely manipulated to enable corruption” reads a recent report by the Wilson Center.

This situation has served all the ethnic leaders well to pose as defenders of their people. The Serbs and Croats together account for less than half of the population and fear they would be always outvoted in a centralized state by the Bosniak votes. This is now the case after the Croat member of the tripartite Presidency of BiH,  was not voted in by the Croat population but instead by Bosniak votes, thanks to the fact that the Bosniaks have a sufficiently large pool of votes to usher in their own candidate and enough left over to outvote the Croats. This has prompted Croatia to lately join the increasingly loud chorus urging the revisiting of the DPA.

Another idiosyncrasy is that if one is of any other non-constituent ethnicity or religion like a Roma or a Jew, one cannot run for the presidency. Indeed, the Strasbourg Court of Human Rights has ruled in the case Sejdic-Finci that the Constitution must be amended to allow others to run for public office 11 years ago.

Despite the stern warning by the Council of Europe that BiH can forget any progress towards EU membership until the court’s ruling has been implemented., this has not happened yet for the fear of opening the Pandora’s Box. Both outstanding members of the BiH community, Dervo Sejdic is a Roma and Jakob Finci is a Jew, who also happens to be the President of EWB BiH.

“Recognizing the contribution of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in BiH in stopping the armed conflict and establishing a democratic order, we believe that the time has come to correct the shortcomings of the Annex IV, ie the Constitution of BiH, in implementing all relevant judgments of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the European Court of Human Rights. In this way, we affirm the constitutively of the people as a fundamental principle of the Constitution, but also enabling all BiH citizens, including the citizens of the Brcko District, to vote and be elected for all levels of government,” the student declaration reads said.

The students echoed some ideas in the West including changing or reducing the administration and making it more efficient, respecting the legitimate interests and fears of all constituent peoples. They particularly singled out massive corruption and called for comprehensive economic, tax and fiscal, environmental, judicial and election reforms.

“The problem with BiH is that there are too many proxy wars fought over it and too many interests clashing over that piece of real estate. Russia is fighting the US, Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE are clashing with Iran and Turkey, each and everyone has their own favorite they back and are pulling in their own direction, everyone has an iron in the fire. No wonder it’s dysfunctional and it’s a miracle the fire is not a lot bigger, but if we don’t do something now, it could easily flare up overnight into an uncontrollable blaze,” one veteran Western diplomat said.

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