'EUROATLANTISM AND CROATIA'
In cooperation with Gymnasium Velika Gorica, the Atlantic Council of Croatia held a seminar for high school professors ‘Euroatlantism and Croatia’, with the main goal to give more information and details to professors on international relations important for transatlantic community, on new security challenges and relations between the United States and Europe, with the special accent to the position of the Republic of Croatia in the euro-atlantic context, as well as refugee crisis.
The Head of the Gymnasium Velika Gorica Brankica Žugaj MSc welcomed the speakers and participants introducing the agenda and topics.
The Atlantic Council of Croatia successfully held traditional 14th International Summer School in Sipan, Croatia, 26 June – 1 July 2015, in cooperation with NATO PDD and International Institute for Peace. The School was divided into two topics: Mediterranean between Europe and Middle East: Challenges and Perspectives, organized with the support of NATO Public Diplomacy Division; and another topic was: Western Balkans between Integration and Isolation, co-organized with the International Institute for Peace, Vienna.
The School gathered speakers and participants from 15 different countries, United States of America, Russia, Ukraine, Italy, Canada, Austria, Hungary, Greece and all Western Balkan countries. The organizers invited as speakers many professors, experts and people from politics who transferred their knowledge to 40 participants, young leaders, PhD candidates, students from many countries, giving them different perspectives of the current situation of international security and stability. Participants were mostly interested in Macedonian crisis, current Greek crisis, but also Kosovo status.
Members of the Atlantic Council of Croatia participated the traditional Transatlantic Study Trip programme held in April in Washington, organized by the Atlantic Treaty Association (ATA from Brussels), that gathered representatives of other national councils, members of ATA.
The participants visited Herritage Foundation, Foundation for Defense of Democracy, The American Enterprise Institute, US Department of Defense, Center for American Progress, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Brooking Institution and Atlantic Council Headquarter. It was a great opportunity to meet analysts of the respective institutions, that are involved in creating US foreign policy and discuss on European views concerning different issues, and especially Ukraine crisis. Representatives of the US Department of Defense stressed that the time of the Cold War is back to Europe, and all American allies agree that Russia is a big enemy today.
NATO is going through a phase in which it needs to reposition itself, and therefore the role of the Atlantic Treaty Association (ATA), that gathers all Atlantic Councils, becomes very important in informing citizens and youth and educating them about NATO's role, Prof. Radovan Vukadinovic PhD, President of the Atlantic Council of Croatia stated when opening the international conference 'NATO – Achievements and New Tasks'. It was an event to mark six years of Croatia in NATO and 15th anniversary of the Atlantic Council of Croatia in the premises of the Military Academy in Zagreb, Croatian Ministry of Defence.
The participants were greeted by Deputy Defence Minister Visnja Tafra, who stated that Croatia has joined NATO to strengthen its own security, but also to contribute to the security and stability in the world. Tafra reiterated that Croatia is promoter of NATO’s enlargement policy, and it will state that at the next NATO Summit in Warszaw.
General Drago Lovrić, Chief of Staff, reminded the participants about the time when the Atlantic Council of Croatia was founded, which happened several days after Croatia joined Partnership for Peace in 2000, and when it started to modernize its armed forces according to NATO standards, to be ready for participating peace operations.
With the International Conference: NATO – Achievements and New Tasks, the Atlantic Council of Croatia will mark its 15th anniversary and celebrate 6 years of Croatian membership to NATO, on 9th April at the Military Academy in Zagreb. Distinguished guests and speakers have confirmed their participation, together with the President of the Republic of Croatia Kolinda Grabar Kitarović. Guests from the Atlantic Councils of the whole Western Balkans region will participate the programme.
The National and International Philatelic exhibition „Croatica 2015“ was ceremoniously opened on March 31, 2015 at the French pavilion in Zagreb. With this exhibition the Croatian Philatelic Federation celebrates its 75th anniversary of establishment. There are 86 exhibitors from Croatia, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, and for the first time Spain. You could see philatelic expositions exposed in more than 260 showcases. The President of the Croatian Philatelic Federation, Mladen Vilfan, told that every country represents the best of its philately. He also emphasized that philately is an important factor in spreading and enrichening cultures and friendships between countries. The exhibition also represented NATO through stamps and postcards.
NATO Parlamentary Assembly organized 88th Rose-Roth seminar in Serbia, Belgrade, with the topic: Serbia, the Western Balkans, and the Euro-Atlantic Community. Large number of high officials has gathered at the three-day seminar, who discussed in the Serbian National Assembly on Serbian aspects and its relation towards the Euro-Atlantic Community, but also on relations of the Western Balkan countries, especially towards NATO and their attempts to join the alliance. One of the important conclusions reached at the Seminar stressed the importance of the regional cooperation among Western Balkan countries, with the common goal of fight against common contemporary threats and challenges. Participants of the Seminar concluded that the fight against corruption and organized crime in the Western Balkans is very important, especially looking from the perspective of their geopolitical position. Looking from the perspective of relation among NATO and Western Balkan countries, it was discussed on the importance of defence management reform and integrity building, but also on the importance of continuation of the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina.
“NATO after Cardiff – challenges and perspectives” was the name of the international conference held in Zagreb, organized by the Atlantic Council of Croatia, with the support of Hanns Seidel Foundation, Office in Zagreb. President of the Atlantic Council of Croatia (ACC) Prof. Radovan Vukadinović, PhD, opened the conference and addressed the audience together with the Head of the Hanns Seidel Foundation, Office in Zagreb Aleksandra Markić Boban, MSc, announcing topics to be discussed by the panel speakers. The Annual Assembly of the Atlantic Council of Croatia was announced to be held after the conference.
First online conference between The Atlantic Council of Croatia and The Atlantic Council of Serbia was held in relation to the General Assembly of Atlantic Treaty Association and its conclusions on new security challenges, but also on the importance of NATO for Western Balkan countries. Moderator Monika Begovic, MSc, introduced Milovan Milošević and Luka Paunović from the Atlantic Council of Serbia, prof. Lidija Čehulić Vukadinović, PhD, and students of political sciences at the Faculty of Political Science in Zagreb.
By Rea Poljak, M.A., YATA Croatia President
General Drago Lovrić holds the position of Chief of General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces since March 1, 2011. He joined the Croatian Armed Forces in August 1991, at the beginning of the Homeland War in Croatia. General Lovrić has been decorated with numerous high Croatian military decorations, and was presented on February 18, 2013 with the Legion of Merit of the United States of America for his extraordinary achievements, special efforts and supreme performance of his duties. The award was presented on behalf of the President of the United States. Furthermore, General Lovrić holds a Ph.D. in national security from the Faculty of Political Science, University of Zagreb. His doctorate thesis was on transformation of NATO, and crisis management in the new world order.