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Vladimir Marinković, Director Of The Serbian-American Friendship Congress

A Friend In Need Is A Friend Indeed

Relations between Serbia and America determine the future of our country and the Western Balkans as a whole. It is a fact that Serbia began making dynamic advances from the moment the U.S. began treating our country as a partner, key ally and factor of stability and progress in the region of Southeast Europe

Despite extremely negative events having occurred during these 140 years that have cast a shadow over our alliance, today the time has come when our two countries have excellent cooperation, notes Serbian-American Friendship Congress Director Vladimir Marinković, emphasizing that the Congress has a strong intention to work on developing a strategic partnership and alliance.

The Serbian-American Friendship Congress is an organization that deals primarily with improving bilateral relations between Serbia and the U.S., with the main goal being to achieve a strategic partnership between the two countries and peoples. Serbia and the U.S. staged a series of events to commemorate and celebrate the 140th anniversary of the establishing of diplomatic relations, reminding our two peoples of their common values, shared history, and political, economic and scientific cooperation.

Despite extremely negative events having occurred during these 140 years that have cast a shadow over our alliance, today the time has come when our two countries have excellent cooperation and a developing strategic partnership and alliance.

Members of the Serbian-American Friendship Congress include individuals, organizations and institutions that recognize the two countries’ shared interest in expanding cooperation in all areas of social life, with a special emphasis on promoting civilization’s highest and most humane values, such as democracy, liberal economics, human and minority rights, new technologies, innovation, science, education and culture.

Members of the Congress are of the opinion that relations between Serbia and America largely determine the future of our country and the whole of the Western Balkans. The fact is that Serbia began making dynamic advances from the moment the U.S. began treating our country as a partner, key ally and factor of stability and progress in the region of Southeast Europe. This has prompted the Congress to implement a series of specific activities with the aim of bringing our countries closer together and showing Serbia’s citizens the huge benefits Serbia gains from this cooperation.

Members of the Congress are of the opinion that relations between Serbia and America largely determine the future of our country and the whole of the Western Balkans

The fact is that the United States is among the largest donors to our country, that American companies employ more than 25,000 people in Serbia, that these investments characteristically spill over onto others and signal to all other democratic countries that Serbia is a stable destination and one of the best for investing this part of Europe.

The Congress has dedicated itself mostly to organizing events that promote the tangible results of our cooperation that have a concrete positive impact on our countries and peoples. We have established excellent cooperation with the U.S. Embassy in Serbia, and organizations such as the NDI (National Democratic Institute), IRI (International Republican Institute), USAID, the U.S. Congress, Senate, State Department, the U.S. administration and AmCham, but also an entire series of individuals and the business community, not only representing American companies, but also domestic firms wanting to establish cooperation with American companies and compete in the large American market.

Public opinion polls on Serbian- American relations are conducted continuously and aim to define key points and problems that could hinder the development of our relations.

The Congress has organized a series of conferences on the topic of cooperation between the entire region and the United States through the Open Balkan initiative, which is being strongly supported by the U.S., covering the areas of energy and cooperation in the area of energy and the development of renewable energy, cooperation in the area of security, with special emphasis on intensive relations between the Ohio National Guard and the Serbian Army. The Congress also pays great attention to cooperation in the fields of culture and art, in the belief that this form of cooperation is very important in the rapprochement process between the two countries and peoples, and that it can have a great impact on improving Serbia’s standing among the American public, but also on advancing political and economic relations.

We would single out specifically cooperation between the U.S. and Serbia at the height of the Covid-19 crisis, when both countries demonstrated an extremely high level of solidarity and empathy. Even during that crisis period, the Congress worked with its partners from Diplomacy&Commerce to organize online conferences with the goal of informing our citizens about the very close cooperation between our two countries in crisis situations. These initiatives received wholehearted support from our country’s highest officials and the U.S. Embassy in Serbia, but also from our partners and friends in America, who showed that reliable partners always show their true colors in crisis situations.

The Congress is especially proud of the Serbian-American Leadership Academy, which focuses on young people who want to learn about America and become future leaders of our relations and cooperation

Our Congress is especially proud of the educational program and the Serbian-American Leadership Academy, which focuses on young people who want to learn about America and become future leaders of the development of our relations and cooperation. The Academy’s most important quality is its program, but also lecturers with the capacity to transfer practical knowhow on key segments of the functioning of American society. Testifying to how well recognized the Academy is as an important segment of advancing future cooperation is the fact that the lecturers at our Academy are also the highest officials of both countries.

Lecturers at our Academy to date have included U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Gabriel Escobar, National Assembly of Serbia Speaker Ivica Dačić, Serbian Deputy PMs Zorana Mihajlović and Branko Ružić, State Secretary at the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Nemanja Starović and other experts and specialists on U.S. politics, economics, security systems, history, culture and religion. Our Academy has so far been completed by more than 200 young, highly-educated people, who we are sure will give their all in their future jobs to strengthen this type of cooperation.

Together with partners from the National Democratic Institute (NDI), we are implementing the project “Ambassadors of the Serbian-American Leadership Academy,” the goal of which is to broaden cooperation with young people, with a special emphasis on promoting Serbian-American relations and cooperation across the whole of Serbia, in order to provide young people from the provinces with a chance to influence such important processes, and to give their own contribution to realizing their country’s highest interests.

In the end, the essence and key to the success of any organization is the people and their level of commitment to the idea, which is completely inherent to our Congress and our members, who are able – despite their differences – to come together around common goals that are important for our citizens and our state to achieve. Speaking volumes about this is the very fact that the Congress is managed by people from different spheres of social life, different political parties, businesses, non-governmental organizations and universities, and who fight hard for a better Serbia and a better future for our children.