Critical Approaches to Activism, Advocacy & Policy in Southeast Europe

Thematic Faculty Seminar Overview

As the largest urban space in southeast Europe, Belgrade is home to numerous social justice movements, local NGOs, dynamic civic activism, and advocacy work. In this seminar, participants will examine civic action on a variety of issues—from memory activism to corruption scandals to demanding more democratic participation and socially just policies—on local, regional, and transnational levels. 

Many of these political claims are undoubtedly part of a global trend as civic initiatives demanding more democracy, greater participatory mechanisms, and more socially just policies—from anti-austerity movements to ecological justice movements—are on the rise globally. 

In the context of southeast Europe, civic and protest initiatives need to be understood against the background of failed expectations from democratic transition and European Union (EU) membership. Instead of bringing rule of law and socioeconomic justice, decades of transition to and practicing political pluralism and economic liberalization have also brought widespread corruption, increased inequality, abuse of political and economic power, large-scale state capture, and significant democratic backsliding.

At a Glance

Dates: June 4-11, 2023

Cost: $3,250

Location: Belgrade, Serbia

Who should participate? This thematic seminar is interdisciplinary in nature and is open to all interested participants. It is best-suited for faculty at higher education institutions and/or study abroad professionals who design and lead programs on these topics. Faculty with a research or teaching interest in the following fields may find this seminar particularly valuable: anthropology, history, political science, psychology, sociology, and women & gender studies.

Apply by March 1, 2023

Seminar Themes
  • Right to the City movements: the crisis of democracy and trust 
  • Memory politics and memory activism
  • The breakup of Yugoslavia and the legacies of the wars in the 1990s
  • Citizenship in southeast Europe 
  • Youth activism and social movements
  • Socioeconomic struggles and advocacy 
  • Gender equality, feminist activism, and LGBTQ+ rights
Sample Schedule

Activities on this seminar may include:

Sunday, June 4

  • Arrival in Belgrade
  • Welcome Dinner

Monday, June 5

  • Orientation
  • Walking tour of Belgrade

Tuesday, June 6

  • Citizenship in Southeast Europe
  • Visit to the History Museum of Yugoslavia

Wednesday, June 7

  • Political Movements in Southeast Europe
  • Environmental Activism and Struggles

Thursday, June 8

  • Memory Politics & Activism after Conflict
  • Youth Activism and the Legacies of the Past

Friday, June 9

  • Socioeconomic Struggles and Advocacy in Southeast Europe
  • Site Visit: A11 Initiative for Economic and Social Rights

Saturday, June 10

  • Talk on Gender Equality, Feminist Activism, and LGBTQ+ Advocacy and Rights
  • Final Debrief
  • Program Evaluation
  • Farewell Dinner

Sunday, June 11

  • Departure from Belgrade
Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this seminar, participants will be able to:

  • Critically discuss the appearance of new social movements in southeast Europe
  • Illustrate the concerns mobilizing citizens to act and engage
  • Describe and critically discuss the issues and demands at the heart of social and political activism in Serbia
  • Identify challenges faced by social justice advocates in the 21st century, and creative solutions and innovations they develop
  • Articulate the role of citizenship in current political struggles in Serbia and southeast Europe
Seminar Faculty

Orli Fridman, PhD

Photo of Orli Fridman
Dr. Orli Fridman

Academic Director, SIT Study Abroad Serbia

Serbia, Bosnia, and Kosovo: Peace and Conflict Studies in the Balkans

Serbia and Kosovo: Virtual Internship in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and Memory Activism

Chair and Affiliated Faculty

MA in Social Justice and Advocacy 

Dr. Orli Fridman holds a PhD in conflict analysis and resolution from the Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University. Her interdisciplinary research focuses on peace studies and memory studies with interest in comparative conflict studies. She writes extensively about memory politics and memory activism in Serbia and in the successor states of the former Yugoslavia. In her writing and teaching, she brings comparative knowledge, experience and expertise from the Balkans and the Middle East (with focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict). She is the author of Memory Activism and Digital Practices after Conflict: Unwanted Memories 2022 published with Amsterdam University Press 

Dr. Fridman has been involved in political education for more than 20 years. She was trained as a facilitator for groups in conflict, and facilitated group encounters for participants from Israel/Palestine, Cyprus, and the successor states of the former Yugoslavia. She teaches in the Politics Department at the Belgrade-based Faculty of Media and Communications (FMK), where she heads the Center for Comparative Conflict Studies (CFCCS).

Admissions Process & Eligibility

To apply, complete our online application form no later than March 1, 2023. Admission is on a rolling basis. Applicants will be notified of admissions decisions within two weeks of applying.

This seminar is designed for faculty from U.S. institutions of higher education and/or study abroad professionals who design and lead programs on these topics. Admission decisions are based on the relevance of the seminar’s focus to the applicant’s areas of interest, academic background, research, and/or courses taught. Preference may be given to applicants and/or schools with past experience on SIT programs or site visits.

Tuition & Scholarships

Program Fees

The program fee for the Critical Approaches to Activism, Advocacy, & Policy in Southeast Europe seminar is $3,250. This fee includes:

  • Single-room accommodations in hotels/guesthouses
  • Most meals, including special welcome/farewell meals
  • Transportation for all program activities, including airport pick-up and send-off 
  • All program activities  
  • International travel health insurance and health and safety support for the duration of the program 
  • Pre-departure preparation materials

The program fee does not include:

  • International airfare to/from Serbia
  • Passport and/or visa application fees, if required (tourist visa required for US citizens) 
  • Immunizations, if needed 
  • Personal expenses 

You will receive your invoice upon your acceptance. A nonrefundable $400 deposit will be due within three weeks of receiving your invoice. Balance will be due 30 days prior to the start of the program.


A limited number of partial fee waivers are available. Award decisions are based on financial need and other factors. Depending on your need and availability, scholarships typically range from $250-500. To be considered, you must answer the scholarship application questions in our program application.