Balkan Trust for Democracy celebrates five years of effective grantmaking
On September 25-26, a diverse group of high-level civic activists, policymakers, and regional experts gathered in Serbia to celebrate the 5th Anniversary of the Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD). Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Bo?idar Ðelic proclaimed in his opening speech "we are very proud to have the Trust here in Belgrade." Noting the diversity of the crowd--comprised of Europeans, Americans, and representatives from throughout the Balkan region--Serbian Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic stressed in his keynote speech that "building a democratic society is our common objective."
The two-day conference drew together the Trust's broad network of regional and transatlantic experts and activists, and included interactive panels discussing the developing roll of donors in the Balkans, the state of the region 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the role of civil society in transitional democracies, and the future of development in these countries. Participants included representatives of the German Marshall Fund's two original partners in the founding of the Balkan Trust--the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and USAID--as well as many from contributors since BTD's launch, including: the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Belgrade, the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the Tipping Point Foundation, Compagnia di San Paolo, the Robert Bosch Foundation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic.
"I am very proud of the role that the Balkan Trust for Democracy has played over the last five years," said GMF President Craig Kennedy. "This progress is due to the hard work of BTD Director Ivan Vejvoda and his talented staff, and to the dedication of hundreds of others throughout the region."
The Balkan Trust for Democracy is a 10-year, $30-million grantmaking initiative that supports democracy, good governance, and Euroatlantic integration in Southeastern Europe. Operating from the German Marshall Fund's Belgrade office, BTD awards grants in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, and Serbia, including Kosovo. BTD also gives regional grants to organizations promoting the benefits of a pan-Balkan network. In addition to grantmaking, BTD is fully dedicated to the development of the Balkans, and toward the full integration of these countries into European and transatlantic institutions. From featuring the region in large discussions at GMF's annual Brussels Forum, to exposing Balkan and American leaders to the importance of the transatlantic relationship through the Marshall Memorial Fellowship and regional study tours, BTD continues to work to increase dialogue and development within the Balkans.