The collapse of the Iron Curtain in 1989 triggered a frenzied phase of nation-building in Eastern Europe, while some Balkan nations embarked on armed conflicts aimed at strengthening national, religious and cultural identities.
To mark that anniversary and to explore the contemporary landscape after two tumultuous decades of fragmentation as well as European integration, applicants for the 2009 Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence were invited to explore the broad concept of “Identity” in the Balkans.
Has the drive to establish separate national identities and corresponding nation-states now reached its conclusion, and is the attraction of the EU proving a stronger force?
Is migration creating new supra-national or rather composite identities in the Balkans?
Has a new European identity emerged as a by-product of European Union expansion, and is it at the expense of national identities?
Have EU enlargement and European internal disputes caused a crisis in the EU’s identity, and if so, how is that affecting the path of Balkan states to membership?
Participants were encouraged to also explore the theme of identity through different kinds of issues, such as gender, generation, new technologies, minorities, and questions concerning religious and cultural identities, or to unpack ideas about economic identity - such as globalisation versus national brands.