One of the key goals for 2024 is strengthening the bonds with our people abroad
Serbia, as a country with a rich history and heritage, has a diaspora around the world. Our compatriots living outside the borders of our homeland are a lively bridge connecting different cultures and a priceless source of support and energy for our country.
Therefore, one of the key goals for 2024 is strengthening the bonds with our people abroad. We shall continue to work on creating a favorable framework for the return of compatriots to their homeland. We understand the challenges those considering returning to Serbia may face and we intend to provide support through different programs. In addition, we plan to create business and educational opportunities that will enable our compatriots to contribute to the development of the country and see their full potential blossom. This is not just the job of the ministry I oversee but also a task for institutions such as local government bodies, the Chamber of Commerce, and different expert associations.
We are a bridge connecting the diaspora with the institutions in Serbia. I must emphasize that the diaspora is not just a source of financial means but a treasure trove of ideas, innovation, and experience. It is important to emphasize that one of our objectives is strengthening the trust between the diaspora and the homeland. Thanks to the activities at home and abroad, mostly those of the President of Serbia and the entire government, this trust has been restored. Our compatriots living abroad know exactly what kind of support, stability, and safety to expect if they return. Of course, there are still unresolved issues, but we look forward to working on them in the coming year thus contributing to the progress of Serbia. We shall organize different events, conferences, and projects to foster the exchange of ideas and the creation of long-lasting bonds. These days, we are drawing to a close the first round of talks we have had with the representatives of Serbs living abroad. One of the conclusions of the Vidovdan Assembly, where 270 delegates from the diaspora participated, was that a new law on diaspora is needed, which is to be preceded by a strategy addressing the relations between the homeland and diaspora. We have put together a team of experts working on that strategy not from their offices in Serbia but by meeting diaspora representatives in their countries of residence around Europe. Some meetings also took place in Belgrade, and we had video calls with those living on other continents. Each of those representatives had brought forth ideas, suggestions and guidelines that will help our team with the final draft of the strategy. Not only did we speak to our compatriots abroad, but we also visited municipalities within Serbia itself, given that all of them, sadly, have their own diaspora.
The diaspora is not just a source of financial means but a treasure trove of ideas, innovation, and experience
With the exception of the Veliko Gradište municipality, no other towns have a database of the members of the diaspora and a special body dealing with the diaspora. In 2023, we organized 22 theme summer camps throughout Serbia, where more than 5000 youngsters from the diaspora participated. During their stay, they perfected their knowledge of Serbian, learned more about their culture and tradition, made new friends, and, I am sure, have come to love Serbia even more. For some, this was the first visit to their ancestral homeland, and for almost all, this was the first time they visited a place in Serbia that is not Belgrade or the region their parents come from. We will be organizing similar events throughout 2024. Based on our inquiries, I can already say that the interest in these coming activities is immense.
Within our efforts related to strengthening the ties with the diaspora, we have supported the activities of numerous associations and NGOs that work on the preservation of our identity. By supporting events, art projects, sports, and educational initiatives, we wish to promote Serbian culture globally and offer our compatriots good conditions to preserve their identity and work together.
Dear friends, I believe that all our activities and goals will contribute not just to connecting the diaspora with the homeland but also to strengthening Serbia’s global presence.