This year’s study trip went to the city of Belgrade in Serbia. A diverse group of no fewer than 25 people from several NMUN generations participated - almost without exception from 2011 until 2019 were represented - what made the trip highly valuable. Sascha Markovic, one of the founding fathers of the Club of Hohenheim e.V. (CoH), who launched the association in 2001, welcomed us in Belgrade and accompanied us during the entire week. Sascha is currently working for the Zoran Đinđić foundation and supported us with advice and hospitality in order to make the trip memorable.
Our first day started with a morning briefing given by Sascha concerning the current political situation in Serbia and the Balkans. In addition, we learned a lot about the history of the Balkans and the form of government in Serbia. Following this, Jörg Heeskens advisor of the Serbian president for foreign investments welcomed us in the Presidential office. He told us about the difficulties and opportunities that German investors might experience and how the relationship between Serbia and Germany should be strengthened in the future. In the afternoon, we had an appointment with Sanja Kljajic who is currently working for the Deutsche Welle. During a very intensive two-hour meeting we learned about the limitations a journalist has to face in Serbia, given the current circumstances. We are very happy and grateful for Sanja’s honesty and the possibility to learn about the restrictions she had to face in the past.
On the folowing day, we started with an early meeting at the office of the United Nations Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). We learned a great deal about the current situation concerning internally displaced persons in Serbia as well as refugees from the Middle East. In the afternoon, we had a meeting with Brig. Gen. Cesare Marinelli of the NATO Military Liaison Office Belgrade. Fortunately, there was room for critical questions and a lively discussion, which made this meeting, quite intense as well as highly interesting. Our last meeting of the day was with Marko Savkovic from the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence (BFPE). He explained how Serbia interconnects with the European Union and Russia. In addition, we learned about the necessity of intercultural exchange in the Balkans region and the importance of Germany for the Serbian economy.
We spent our last days in Belgrade with an alternative street art tour and some relaxed drinks and discussions together. The city of Belgrade and the current political situation in Serbia is highly interesting and worth a visit and some political thought. Overall, the study trip was a very successful event with a lot of fun. Hvala!