Our story: Serbian-American Relations over the Centuries’
The ‘Our Story: Serbian-American Relations over the Centuries’ project started in the spring of 2018 with the idea marking 136 years since the establishment of relations between Serbia and the United States, 100 years since the establishment of the first military alliance, but also with a desire for a deeper understanding of the shared history and ‘use’ of history lessons in building a brighter future.
Project activities included a series of lectures and workshops in Belgrade, Niš, Novi Pazar, Kragujevac, Novi Sad, Vrnjačka Banja, Kruševac, Sombor and other cities in Serbia, an international conference on Serbia-US relations, an expert and other publications. However, the most important outcome of the project is the web portal www.nasa-prica.rs, which has over time become a central place for informing about the history and contemporary Serbia-US relations.
The impetus for conceiving the project was given by a survey of students’ attitudes about the United States conducted during November and December 2017 at eight universities in Serbia. One of the results showed that 79.9% of students in Serbia believe that Serbia and the United States have historically had mostly hostile relations. Although, understandably, this attitude is well influenced by very bitter memories from the recent past, the gap between the students’ attitudes and historical facts that speak in favor of our relations being friendly for most of history is definitely not good.
On the other hand, it is well known that such a gap exists in Western public opinion, where the important role of Serbia and the Serbian people in numerous historical events in which we were allies is forgotten, among which partnerships in world wars are certainly the most important. Having all the above in mind, we believed, and we still believe, that shedding light on the entire history of relations between Serbia and the United States is a justified and important undertaking. The relations between the two countries during World War I, when, according to researchers, they were at their peak, deserves special attention.
In 2018, 10 research grants were awarded to young academics to encourage a scientific-research approach in the study of Serbian-American relations. Also, we aimed to shed light on the period of mutual relations between Serbia and the United States, which were completely neglected by the scientific community and daily discussions.
37 original author’s texts were the result of awarded research grants. Many of the articles deal with periods of ‘forgotten history’, such as the second half of the 19th century, or the period between the two world wars.
17 original author’s texts published on the portal deal with the era of friendship, so rare in international relations, between the US and Serbia in the period from 1917 to 1920.
6 specialized video interviews were done for the portal, including interviews with renowned political scientist Francis Fukuyama and former US Ambassador to Belgrade, Cameron Munter.
18 biographies of key individuals in Serbia-US relations have been published on the portal
34 archival photographs, newspaper articles, and documents were also published on the portal.