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This academic year the campus is focusing on the Balkans, a region that has seen much turmoil.

There is also much debate over the meaning of the Balkans, and the faculty and staff in the program offered several different definitions to consider.

The executive committee decided, after the lively discussion, to stay with the US State Department definition of the Balkans region, which is similar but not identical to the CIA Factbook definition of the Central Balkans.

  • Albania
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Croatia
  • Kosovo
  • Macedonia
  • Montenegro
  • Serbia

This definition does not preclude anyone studying other areas in the region that might be considered Balkan, or non-Balkan comparative study.

Kosovo as a country has been under dispute in recent years because Serbia had rejected the idea of Kosovo being independent. At present the two are engaged in "EU-facilitated talks" (CIA Factbook). The framework for a resolution supposedly "affirms the primacy of Kosovo’s legal and institutional framework throughout Kosovo’s territory, and provides the basis for substantial local self-governance in Kosovo’s majority Serb north" (US State department).

The year 2014 marks 100 years since the start of World War I (e.g., see BBC). The BBC timeline, 37 Days: Countdown to World War One, describes the key events. On June 28, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary was assassinated in Sarajevo, Bosnia by a person linked to Serbian interests. On July 28, 1914, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, on August 1 Russia declared war on Austria-Hungary, on August 3 Germany declared war on France, and on August 4 Britain declared war on Germany.


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