The Office for the cooperation with the diaspora of the City of Niš Office for Mayor’s Affairs, the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Niš and the “Media and Reform Centre” Niš, under the sponsorship of the Directorate for Cooperation with the Diaspora and Serbs in the Region of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, organised a conference gathering the authors from the diaspora and Serbia on the topic: “The Preservation of Language, Culture and Identity and Strengthening the Position of Serbs in the Diaspora.”
The conference was held from 15th to 17th May 2015 in Niš, and its aim was to increase the visibility of Serbian artists in the diaspora and to strengthen their positions within the communities in which they live and work, as well as to create mechanisms for the establishment of institutional cooperation between individuals and associations in the diaspora and Serbia.
The conference included four panels:
1. Academic cooperation between the disapora and homeland;
2. Mass media image in the diaspora;
3. The contribution of citizens’ associations and non-governmental sector to the improvement of the image of Serbs in the diaspora;
4. History and culture in literature written in the Serbian language in the disapora.
The moderator of the fourth panel was the Associate Professor Irena Cvetković Teofilović, the Head of the Centre for Serbian as a foreign and second language.
The Centre for Serbian as a foreign and second language at the Faculty of Philosophy in Niš, in cooperation with OEBS and the Embassy of the Republic of Germany, organised a seminar for the participants of the project The Improvement of Teaching Serbian as a Second Language which included the individuals of Albanian nationality in Bujanovac. The seminar “Serbian as a Second Language in Theory and Practice” was held from 19th to 25th August at the Faculty of Philosophy in Niš. The teachers and teaching assistants from the Department of the Serbian language and the Department of Serbian and Comparative Literature participated in the seminar, as well as 15 project participants.
The Centre for Serbian as a foreign and second language together with the City of Niš Office for the cooperation with the diaspora organised a project “Serbian Language Classes via Skype for the Youth from the Diaspora.” Namely, this is a free three-month course of the Serbian language via Skype. This initiative has attracted great attention of the members of the diaspora, which is confirmed by a large number of applications received by the office, but also by the interest expressed by the media and associations in Serbia as well as from abroad. This project has been conducted in two cycles during the 2015/2016 academic year, and the third cycle of classes is currently in the process under the name “To Be Understood by the Whole World.”
The Head of the Centre for Serbian as a foreign and second language, Associate Professor Irenа Cvetković Teofilović, participated in the round table discussion “Serbian Language Diaspora: Maintaining Language and Identity of Speakers in Migrant Conditions,” held within the 9th international scientific conference Serbian Language, Literature, Art in Kragujevac on 24th-25th October 2014, with a report “Specificity of Methodology of Teaching Serbian as a Homeland Language” as a co-author with Professor Marina Janjić, PhD.