4th International Conference on European Studies

November 9th, 2013

Epoka University, in collaboration with Celal Bayar University, organized the 4th International Conference on European Studies titled “Social, Economic and Political Transition of the Balkans” (ICES 2013). The 4th International Conference on European Studies was organized for the third time in Albania and during the two days of the conference around 90 participants from 10 different countries presented their academic research papers and studies, addressing the developments on social, economic and political transition of the Balkans since 1990. Organized under the auspices of the Centre for European Studies at Epoka University, ICES 2013 was supported by BKT and Dardania Construction.

Speaking at the beginning of the conference, the Chairman of the Conference and the Head of the Centre for European Studies at Epoka University, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Bekir Çınar welcomed the participants to the conference stating that the organization of the 4th International Conference on European Studies and the presence of such a large audience provides a very valuable encouragement for the continuation of the academic activities carried out by the Centre and the University. According to Dr. Bekir Çınar, ICES 2013 encourages academicians to take a picture of the whole Balkan region and to find out where the Balkans countries are directed to in terms of economic, social and political improvements. “I am sure that this conference will deliver what has been expected at the initial stage of this organization. The participants, delegates and audience will leave this conference with having some useful ideas and opinions to benefit”, Dr. Bekir Çınar stated. He noted that the 5th Conference will also address the challenges that Europe and the Balkans face and it may be held in another country in the future with the collaboration of partner institutions.

Dr. Bekir Çınar also presented the activities for the Centre for European Studies of Epoka University noting that this centre has a partnership with more than fifty universities and endeavors to conduct research on European history, politics, economy, culture and society, particularly in the framework of the process of integration of Albania and wider region into the European Union.

Welcoming the audience, the Rector of Epoka University, Prof. Dr. Remzi Altın expressed his appreciation to the participants for the sharing of their studies and experiences, becoming part of the mission of the university: contributing to the advancement of society through research, creative activity, scholarly inquiry and development of knowledge at the highest level of excellence. “The 4th International Conference on European Studies is a regular event that will hopefully provide further input to development of the region. This conference aims at contributing to a better understanding of the transition period of the Balkans at an international scientific level and also to raising the awareness on the challenges faced today in the fields of the social, economic and political transition of Balkans in terms of EU integration”, Prof. Altın stated.

He emphasized that by providing a high-quality education to its students and by equipping them with all the necessary skills and competences requested by the modern labor market, Epoka University is contributing to the improvement of human capital in Albania. “It is only through a properly educated and trained human capital that Albania will be able to successfully meet the challenges posed by the European integration process”, Prof. Altın said by also sharing with the audience the aim of Epoka University to become a student-centered institution in line with the most contemporary trends in higher education that originate from the process of globalization.

The audience was also greeted by the Minister of Education and Sport of the Republic of Albania, Ms. Lindita Nikolla. In her speech, Minister Nikolla focused upon the importance of advancing the standards of education at all levels so as to be able to ensure a sustainable development for the country and in this context, to contribute to Albania’s progress in the framework of the process of European integration.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Bugra Ozer, representative of Celal Bayar University in Manisa, Turkey, expressed his pleasure that this institution has contributed as a partner to the organization of this regular event and called for a further intensification of cooperation among Balkans and Turkish universities in areas of mutual interest.

In his speech, Prof. Dr. Edmond Rapti, Vice-Rector of the University of Tirana, stated that the University of Tirana has established a very fruitful and stable cooperation with Epoka University, as one of the best higher education institutions in the country. Prof. Rapti noted that the Conference draws the interest of the academic community in Albania and beyond as it focuses on the transition process that most of the region’s countries have been going through.

The proceedings of the 4th International Conference on European Studies titled “Social, Economic and Political Transition of the Balkans” (ICES 2013) were followed by numerous members of the academic staff of the main universities in Albania and the region.