Present at this conference were renowned international and local scholars and politicians, like: Prof. Dr David L. Phillips, from Columbia University, Prof. Dr. Tom Sauer, from Antwerp University, Prof. Dr. Hannes Swoboda, IIP, President, Institute for Peace, Vienna, Doc. Dr. Dane Taleski, Advisor of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Macedonia, Prof. Dr. Blerim Reka, South East European University, Matthew Rhodes, George C. Marshall Center, Prof. Dr. Fatos Tarifa, Rector of New York University, Tirana, Prof. Dr. Jan Muss, Vitsula University, (Poland), Prof. Dr. Dejan Jovic, University of Zagreb, Dr. Arlinda Rustemi, Naim Rashiti, from Balkans Research Group, etc.
In his opening speech the Rector of SEEU -- Prof. Dr. Zamir Dika, said that this conference is of particular importance at this time of re-alignment and reconfiguration in the global political context, by striking the essence of the conflicts, making us understand another dimension of conflicts at a new age of widespread knowledge and communication across national borders.
“Our university was founded at a time when security and stability in Macedonia and in the region was fragile, with lots of turbulence, ambiguity and many security challenges. However, the idealists and those who believed in this vision knew how to turn a dream for a university in Albanian language into reality, and to turn it into an open institution for all local cultures and languages, with the sole purpose of having quality comparable to European and American values in education.”, said rector Dika.
According to him, when a part of the Western Balkans still lags far behind the Euro-Atlantic values, therefore we must believe and strive to target precisely these pro-Western values.
"Historical effects of major events, such as the unification of Europe within a great administrative, economic, customs and cultural framework, have a necessity to be taught in order to be understood as a motive for accelerating the train of major civilizational changes into our areas", noted rector Dika, by continuing "Exactly, in my opinion, here lies the power of South East European University, a coalition between international friends and those who strongly believe that international standards in higher education are the only path to progress and the future for the region has created an overwhelming majority among us, our staff and our students".
The SEEU model, according to Rector Dika, can help on how disagreements can be overcome; how cooperation can be achieved even when everyone feels that this is impossible; how universal values can be applied and protected and how all of this is acceptable by all of us...
This is the real context of our daily life. So, to change a state, the only sustainable and long-lasting solution is to deal with the actual reality and create alliances of values, ideals, and embracing of friendships and accepting the hand offered by the international community.
"Geopolitics of regional and global crises have sources also in unsustainable educational systems. Therefore, not by chance, we perceive this cold war every day, through the confrontation of these topics at various scientific conferences and in the debates that we are organizing. We must overcome the misunderstandings, and resolve conflicts, because demographic changes in higher education (with ever-declining student numbers across the region ...) will not give us long time available to find solutions", added among others Prof. Dr. Zamir Dika.