170th anniversary of Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts
The Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts has marked the 170th anniversary of its foundation. During the introductory part of the ceremony, Serbian President Boris Tadic said that the Academy is expected to be an institution that will participate in the development, reformation and modernization of society and which will ensure independence of strategic assessment, measures and risks of primary, economic, technological and socio-economic development. Jelica Tapuskovic has more.
The first Serbian Academy was founded in 1841 as the Society of Serbian Letters with a task to create standard language, study vernacular language, history, customs, and remains of antiquity, and the country. Over 170 years of its existence, it turned into the Serbian Learned Society, became the Royal Serbian Academy, and in 1960, got its present name – Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts. Its mission has also changed over time and expanded onto the scientific and artistic fields. Speaking at the ceremony on the occasion of the Jubilee, President Boris Tadic said that the need to establish an academy stemmed from the liberating needs of the Serbian people and aspirations for the society to catch up with other developed countries. According to him, the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts is the holder of scientific and educational needs of the people.
"The role remains, as before, that it defines problems on scientific principles and create an atmosphere, to find long term solutions based on facts and scientific methods, contributing to the development of a richer and socially balanced society," the president said.
Tadic said he supports the Academy’s openness to new scientific departments and all of its activities aimed at scientific development. As he pointed out, the mission of Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts is not to serve the daily politics, or be an arbiter of a conflict of interests outside its scope, but to remain what it has been until now - a national scientific and cultural institution. He said that capacity building for Serbia’s inclusion in international scientific projects and effort to stop the brain drain must be one of national priorities and objectives of the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences, because the goal is to create work and living conditions in Serbia so future is created for the young and educated people in their country so they can achieve professional goals, develop and promote the economy, social and cultural life.
President of the Academy Nikola Hajdin singled out two tasks that characterize the current activities of the Academy. These are the analysis and study of educational problems on a scientific basis and understanding that every problem that preoccupies society and the people is the problem of the Academy as well.
Minister of Science and Education Zarko Obradovic said that with its tradition of education, Serbia has an important place in the world. In an effort to improve it, he said, one of the leading role belongs to the Academy. According to him, higher education must have a role of the prime mover of the overall economic and social changes and reforms in the process of creating a knowledge-based society.
"We have one of the most important resources – human resources. Competent scientists, researchers, experts, University professors have been achieving significant scientific and research results. For their work to be more successful, the state seeks to recognize the strategic role of knowledge through its policies, national projects and programs, and increased financial investments, "said Obradovic.
Minister of Culture, Media and Information Society, Predrag Markovic, congratulated the Academy's birthday and said that in future, the Academy will remain conservative as it should be, but that it will also find a way to connect young people and institutions to work on projects and tasks that must be completed.
The ceremony was accompanied with artistic program of Serbian academics Isidora Zebeljan and Dejan Despic, as well as of Hungarian composer Bela Bartok. Read were the writings of the first members of the Society of Serbian Letters - Jovan Sterija Popovic, Sima Milutinovic Sarajlija, Vuk Stefanovic Karadzic and Petar II Petrovic Njegos.
The ceremony was attended by National Assembly Speaker Slavica Djukic Dejanovic, Deputy Prime Ministers Bozidar Djelic and Jovan Krkobabic, Patriarch Irinej, representatives of religious communities in Serbia, academics, professors, and the diplomatic corps.