Inaugural Conference of the Forum for Cities in Transition, Mitrovicë/Kosovska Mitrovica May 2010

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This exciting conference brings together mayors, councilors, police chiefs, business representatives, media and civil society from ten cities from four continents for a working week in the city of Mitrovicë/Kosovska Mitrovica.

When the Forum for Cities in Transition was created, few cities believed that Mitrovicë/Kosovska Mitrovica could rise to the occasion. This will truly put this global Forum on the map – but it will put Mitrovicë/Kosovska Mitrovica on the map as well.

Mitrovicë/Kosovska Mitrovica will host the first ever conference of the Forum for Cities in Transition from May 24 to May 28.

This exciting conference brings together mayors, councilors, police chiefs, business representatives, media and civil society from ten cities from four continents for a working week in the city of Mitrovicë/Kosovska Mitrovica.

The conference delegates will be discussing challenges and successes of municipal administration in cities in transition from conflict. The delegates will talk about how their municipal services function and how to improve them, including issues such as housing, business development, citizens’ engagement, and policing, facilitated by experts from all over the world and of course from Mitrovicë/Kosovska Mitrovica.

The delegates will also experience life in Mitrovicë/Kosovska Mitrovica, visiting projects and sites where citizens have come together to overcome difficulties in their everyday lives. They will be staying in hotels both north and south of the River Ibër/Ibar, and eating and socializing throughout the city.

The program includes visits to high schools in Mitrovicë/Kosovska Mitrovica, a picnic along the banks of the river, a talent contest of young people and a concert by Mitrovicë/Kosovska Mitrovica’s very own rock school. Conference delegates will be guided through the week by a team of 30 international and local volunteers.

The Forum for Cities in Transition was established in Boston in April 2010 by representatives from Kirkuk, Nicosia, Derry/Londonderry and Mitrovicë/Kosovska Mitrovica. It is an initiative of the University of Massachusetts Boston , which hosted the founding conference. The university and the Northern Ireland Foundation, Belfast, are the Secretariat.

Representatives from Beirut, Belfast, Derry/Londonderry, Haifa, Jerusalem, Kaduna, Kirkuk, Mostar and Nicosia will join a delegation from Mitrovicë/Kosovska Mitrovica for this diverse and truly international conference.

Director of the forum, Professor Padraig O’Malley, calls this inaugural conference in Mitrovicë/Kosovska Mitrovica a historic event for the city.

“When the Forum for Cities in Transition was created, few cities really believed that Mitrovicë/Kosovska Mitrovica could rise to the occasion. Mitrovicë/Kosovska Mitrovica has not only risen to the occasion, it has surpassed all expectations. This will truly put this global Forum on the map – but it will put Mitrovicë/Kosovska Mitrovica on the map as well,” says Prof. O’Malley.

The Mitrovica Forum, comprising nine members from both south and north Mitrovicë/Kosovska Mitrovica, is hosting the conference, with the support of the University of Massachusetts and the Northern Ireland Foundation. Two NGOs for the city, the Centre for Civil Society Development and Community-Building Mitrovica, provide the technical co-ordination for the Mitrovica Forum.

Momčilo Arlov, from CCSD, says, “Opportunities are too few for representatives of cities burdened with post-conflict sensitivities to share experiences of improving the quality of everyday life of citizens. The Forum of Cities in Transition provides us with this exact opportunity.

“We need vision rather than gutless political statements, and courage to initiate genuine change to address urgent community priorities - not artificial initiatives providing the regressive actors, both local and international, with the opportunity to maintain the unbearable status quo. This Forum is not burdened with high-politics, but instead encourages technical dialogue and inter-community cooperation. Our citizens need this Forum.”

Valdete Idrizi of CBM says, “As a citizen of Mitrovicë/Kosovska Mitrovica, I am very excited to be part of such a special, important event. With so many people coming from different parts of the world, our city has a real opportunity to exchange experiences and opinions on how we can make citizens’ daily lives better. This is also a great chance to begin inter-city co-operation with cities from four different continents. I’m really looking forward to it!”

Editor’s note:
For more information, please contact:
http://citiesintransition.net/

Conference Coordinator Mia Marzouk
+381 65 4615 130/ +377 44 763 067

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Mia Marzouk

+381 65 4615 130
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