About us

In the spring of 1992, when the turmoil of conflict was spreading across the area of the former Yugoslavia, the Peace and Crises Management Foundation was founded in the Swiss city of Zug. It was founded by a French businessman of Yugoslav origin, Boris Vukobrat.

The basic idea of the Foundation is the peaceful resolution of conflicts, the suppression of all forms of ethnic, religious and any other form of hatred, and the establishment and strengthening of all forms of a civil, democratic society founded on the highest standards.

The work of the Foundation was based from the start on two main projects: the future of the former Yugoslavia and of the former USSR. It is understandable why the Foundation’s activities were from the very beginning more focused on the events in the Yugoslav territory. Since he was concerned for his home country, Boris Vukobrat came to the idea that he, together with several European experts, formulated in the project “Suggestions for a New Union of the Ex-Yugoslav Republics”. The first document was written by Elisabeth Kopp, a lawyer in Zurich and a former member of the Swiss Parliament and the Minister of Justice and Internal Affairs, Prof. Jean Francois Ober, professor of constitutional law at the University of Neuchatel and Geneva, Prof. Alois Riklin, a political science professor at the University of San Gal, Prof. Kurt Rothschild, a professor of economics at the University of Linz and Prof. Vojislav Stanovčić, a professor at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Belgrade and a corresponding member of SANU. This article was the basis for five roundtable discussions held in Belgrade (September 19, 1992 and June 1993), Ohrid (September 1993), Subotica (December 1993) and Cetinje (March 1994). A new union of the former Yugoslav republics was contemplated on the basis of nine key principles:

1) Democracy
2) A state of Law
3) Protection of the Minorities
4) Prohibition of Discrimination
5) Principle of Subordination
6) Economic Liberty
7) Frontiers of the Republics
8) Orientation towards Europe
9) A Market Economy

At a roundtable discussion about the project held in Ohrid, in September 1993, the tripartite talks were initiated about the Serbian-Albanian-Macedonian “issue” and the possibility of a disastrous outcome was already pointed out. Forty intellectuals and experts, representatives of the three nations, stated in the Ohrid Declaration: “Attempts to enforce maximalist and conflicting national programs, including those that are based on ethnic divisions, will lead to new wars. The only possible solution is an inter-ethnic compromise, which implies acceptance of democratic and not nationalist options”. Five round tables validated the idea of seeking a quiet, sensible solution to difficult issues that the nations of Yugoslavia were faced with.

The contributors to the second project concerning the countries of the former Soviet Union were prominent Russian experts and scholars: Sergei Alexeyev, Gavril Popov, Anatoly Sobchak, Grigory Yavlinsky and Alexander Yakovlev.

However, time relentlessly brought new circumstances, and the original idea of restoring the former union of Yugoslav republics, ceded primacy to restoring trust and cooperation in the region where a number of independent states were constituted. Aware of the necessity of economic cooperation among the newly-formed countries as well as in the entire region, the Foundation organized a conference entitled “The Economic Future of the Balkans and Southeast Europe”. The conference was held in Paris in June 1995, and the sponsor was Jean Matteoli, the president of the Social and Economic Council of the Republic of France. In the final document adopted by the participants, in addition to strong demands for institutional change, privatization, a stable legal framework, free market and liberalization, with a critical analysis of the previous experiences, there was an emphasized need for regional economic ties. The representatives of Europe stressed in particular that it was a precondition for integration into the European system, and the integration was “the only realistic and reasonable alternative to overcome the backwardness of the past and instability in the region caused by non-economic factors”.

The second conference was held in Paris in March 1997, under the title “The Situation and Prospects for Cooperation in the Former Yugoslavia”. The organizers of this event were the French Institute for International Relations (Institut Francais des Relations Internationales – IFRI) and the Peace and Crises Management Foundation.

When the war ended and the undemocratic authoritarian regime was ousted from power, the conditions were created for the renewal of talks on economic cooperation as the most natural way of restoring confidence in a region dominated by enmity and revanchism. On October 12 and 13, 2001 the conference “The Economy of Peace” was organized in Sarajevo in cooperation with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. Participants included economists from all the countries formed after the disintegration of Yugoslavia. These experts did not represent their countries, but attempted to share their experience and vision of the necessity and nature of economic links. The sponsors of this conference were Mr. Wolfgang Petritsch, High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The conference, in terms of the basic idea and its participants, was the continuation of the conference held in Paris in June 1995.

Since its establishment, the Foundation has had its own peacekeeping, humanitarian, publishing and media activities.

Our humanitarian work is reflected in the aid given by the Foundation and its president, Boris Vukobrat, to the areas where it was most needed. A well-known example is the provision of equipment for the hospital in Knin, which, unfortunately, was looted during the war. Boris Vukobrat provides scholarships for a number of students from the former Yugoslavia region. These are very capable and talented young people who are educated at the most prestigious universities in Europe and America.

Our publishing activity is focused on the publication of articles and publications arising from the activities of the Foundation. More on these activities can be found in the part Publications.

Our media activity is based on the radio program “The Age of Reason” which was launched in mid-1993. During 1999, the program was broadcast by over 50 independent radio stations in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Temporarily or permanently, in whole or in part, “The Age of Reason” was broadcast by foreign radio stations: Radio Študent, Ljubljana (Slovenia), Radio Deutsche Welle (Germany), Independent Radio Ohrid (Macedonia). The program was also broadcast by a station in New Zealand, which has programs in the Serbian language. The prestigious European award Premios Ondas was given in 2003 for the program “24 Hours After the Assassination of Zoran Djindjic”. In 2009, under the auspices of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, the Foundation made the documentary series entitled “Interreligious Dialogue in the Function of Peace on the Balkans 1999/2009″ which was broadcast in Serbian and English on several regional and national television stations.

The Peace and Crises Management Foundation operates as a non-governmental and non-party organization.

The President of the Foundation, Boris Vukobrat, is a co-founder and honorary president of the Association of Non-Governmental Organizations of Southeast Europe – CIVIS. The CIVIS association was founded by the representatives of non-governmental organizations in Serbia and Southeast Europe on June 4, 2007. Given the fact that there was no common body or organization to represent the interests and position of NGOs in Southeast Europe, the Association CIVIS received, shortly after the establishment, the status of a member of the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe. CIVIS is active in the areas of inter-religious dialogue, the promotion of human rights and values of civil society, as well as the acceleration of the European integration of the Western Balkans.

The Foundation actively participates in international conferences such as The 4th World Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (Doha, Qatar, 2011), Brussels Economic Forum (Brussels, 2011), Extension for the New Balkans and the European Union (Miločer, Montenegro, 2011), National and Inter-ethnic Reconciliation, Religious Tolerance and Human Security in the Balkans (Croatia, 2010), The Role of NGOs in the Fight Against Corruption – Practices and Perspectives (Belgrade, 2010), the Accession of the Western Balkans to the EU, the Process Evaluation (Dijon, France, 2010).