“Partnership Bus” followed up on essay competition, organized by the Slovak Atlantic Commission at Universities in Serbia in the beginning of 2014. The goal of the event focused on young generation was to spark their interest in issues of defense, security, strategic relations of Serbia as well as provide neutral information about NATO. Event consisted of two parts – the first took place in Serbia and its purpose was the aforementioned essay competition, while the second part was a trip of winners of the competition to Slovakia. The topic of essay consisted of two questions, students needed to address – 1. Is it necessary for Serbia to become militarily neutral in order to guarantee its security? 2. Should Serbia become a member of any political-military Alliance?
Up until the deadline – 3 March, 2014, SAC received together 26 essays, that were evaluated by an expert commission and five winners were chosen from civilian universities in Serbia. The five students then on 24 – 28 March, 2014 attended a study trip consisting of rich program at various Slovak institutions – Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and National Council of the Slovak Republic. The trip also included discussions with Slovak students about experience with NATO membership at the Faculty of Political Sciences and International Relations of the University of Matej Bel in Banská Bystrica, as well as an interesting program at Academy of Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic in Liptovský Mikuláš.
Day 1: Monday, March 24, 2014, BELGRADE:
10:00 am: Meeting at the Embassy of the Slovak Republic in Belgrade
(address: Bulevar umetnosti 18, Novi Beograd, http://www.mzv.sk/belehrad)
Meeting with H.E. Ján Varšo, Ambassador of Slovakia in Serbia.
Day 2: Tuesday, March 25, 2014, BRATISLAVA (meeting with officials):
9:00 – 10:00 am: Meeting with Mr. Dalibor Pavolka, Director of the Department for International Relations of the MoD, with short discussion.
10:15 – 11:00 am: Meeting with Mr. Manuel Korčok, Director of the Department for Security Policy, with short discussion.
11:00 – 12:00 Meeting with Mr. Roman Hlobeň, Director of the Department for Countries of the South Eastern Europe and Turkey, with short discussion.
12:30 – 13:30 Meeting with Mr. Ivo Samson, the director of the Institute for Strategic and Defense Studies of the Ministry of Defense of the Slovak Republic and his staff, short discussion.
15:00 – 15:30 Meeting with Mr. Jaroslav Baška, chairman of the Committee for Defence and Security of the National Council of the Slovak Republic.
16:00 Meeting with representatives of the Slovak Atlantic Commission (SAC) and the Central European Policy Institute (CEPI), short discussion.
Day 3: Wednesday, March 26, 2014, BANSKÁ BYSTRICA (meeting with academic representatives):
12:00 – 13:00 Meeting with the Vice-Dean of the Faculty for International Relations, Dr. Branislav Kováčik PhD. Short Introduction of the Faculty and its programmes and partnerships.
14:00 – 15:30 Discussion with students of the Faculty of Political Sciences and International Relations of the Matej Bel University in Banská Bystrica
Day 4: Thursday, March 27, 2014, LIPTOVSKÝ MIKULÁŠ (meeting with the Slovak Military Academy representatives)
9:00 am: Meetings at the Slovak Armed Forces Academy of gen. Milan R. Štefánik
Meeting with the leadership of the Military Academy
Presentation of the Academy and its study programmes
Meeting and discussion with cadets of the Military Academy
Day 5: Friday, March 28, 2014, BRATISLAVA (recapitulation and evaluation)
10:00 – 11.00 am: Meeting with Mr. František Šebej, chairman of the Committee for Foreign Relations of the National Council of the Slovak Republic
11:15 – 12:15 Meeting with H.E. Sani Dermaku, the Ambassador of Serbia in Bratislava
14:00 Meeting with the SAC staff
Discussion about the Serbia’s Future Defence and Security architecture
– Serbia, Partnership for Peace and NATO
– Serbia and its neutrality
– Serbia, EU and the CSDP