Tolerance as a Way to Peace KAAD – Alumni Conference from 4th to 6th October 2019 in the Spiritual-Educational Center Mary’s Court (Marijin Dvor) in Luznica/Croatia

From 4th to 6th October 2019 17 alumni from Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovenia, Albania, Romania, Poland and Hungary met at the Spiritual-Educational Center Mary’s Court (Marijin Dvor) of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Vincent De Paul in Luznica in the vicinity of Zagreb.
Tolerance refers to the respectful treatment of the diversity of individuals, groups and organisations of a community based on different religious beliefs, worldviews, ethnic groups, languages, sexual orientations, opinions, behaviours and values.
Thus, the lectures given at the conference were quite diverse. Prof. Dr. Marko Trogrlic, professor of history at the University of Split, presented “pacifism” according to the idea of the Croatian politician Stjepan Radic, who was a driving force in the Croatian democracy movement and founder of the Croatian Peasant Party at the beginning of the 20th century. Radic’s political philosophy was based on three pillars: the peasantry as authentic people, the Slavonic mutuality (here he refers to the Czech Masaryk) and the pacifism after Ghandi.
Dr. Nikolina Pandza from the University of Mostar focused on language and its use as an expression of tolerance, intolerance, identity building and xenophobia (especially out of fear of the foreign). All these are patterns of behaviour which are relatively close to each other. Boris Zidar, an educationalist from Ljubljana, presented two projects from school boarding houses which lead to tolerance among the different groups and at a European level. Both support the idea that one should approach others impartially and without prejudices in order to get to know them. The Polish historian Tomasz Bartos related the two concepts of foreignness and familiarity with tolerance.

The last lecture given by the professors Gheorghe Farte (Iasi) and Alexandru Ronai (Bucharest) dealt with the concepts of balkanisation and tolerance. Balkanisation refers to the dissolution of multinational states into smaller homogenous unities, with a multitude of (partly controversial) external borders, an emerging nationalism, a high conflict orientation (also accompanied with the state’s readiness to use violence) and a lack of legitimised elites. This refers not only states of the former Yugoslavia, but also to Albania, Bulgaria and Romania. Many discussions are calmed down through the lecture. The visit to the house of Prof. Ljubomir Majdanzic, who showed his house as a model project for the use of alternative energies (solar energy) and water for domestic use, led into the field of scientific tolerances. Besides solar panel on the roof, he also installed a solar mast with a tracking system in the garden.

A joint alumni association for Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina was founded during the conference. A Linkedin group will initially be created as a platform. At the end of the conference, Father Prof. Dr. Roman Globokar celebrated the Holy Mass in the Chapel of the Virgin Mary on the Vinski Vrh with the participants.