The XVIII congress of the International Federation for the Study of Latin America and the Caribbean (FIEALC) was officially opened on Tuesday, July 25th, in the largest amphitheater of  ‘John Naisbitt’ University building in New Belgrade. The gathering of about four hundred scientists from 43 countries of the world began with the national anthem of Serbia, and then, on behalf of the Organizing Committee, prof. Slobodan Pajović, PhD, Dean of the Faculty of Geoeconomics, and an operative organizer of the Congress, addressed the attendants. Prof. Pajović emphasized the importance of this meeting for a deeper study of the social, scientific, cultural and geoeconomic phenomena of Latin America and the Caribbean, and thanked for the opportunity for our country and our University to host the congress – the first in the region of its kind. He particularly thanked the diplomatic representatives of Latin American and Caribbean countries in Serbia for the heartfelt support and good organization of the Congress, as well as distinguished guests from remote countries who came to our country and raised significance of the Congress.

On behalf of ‘John Naisbitt’ University, prof. Milomir Minić, PhD, Rector, welcomed the participants and guests and said that our institution was proud to host such an important gathering, which confirmed the high academic and scientific level of the University, in particular the Faculty of Geoeconomics and its Latin American and Caribbean Department. ‘In today’s world full of challenges, I see the contribution of this Congress in an objective scientific discussion on the topic, in the perception of open issues and the dilemmas of the modern era and in the valuable exchange of views of researchers coming from different meridians,’ said prof. Minic.

The follow-up of the congress was addressed by the FIEALC general coordinator Ruben Ruis Gera and the Ambassador of Argentina in Belgrade Ricardo Fernando Fernandes, who is also the Honorary Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the Congress.

First Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivica Dacic also gave recognition to ‘John Naisbitt’ University and organizers of the Congress at the beginning of his presentation. ‘You have done a historically important job to confirm the national and state interests of Serbia,’ Dacic said, adding that our country attaches great importance to developing relations with the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. ‘From the period of the policy of non-alignment, cooperation with Latin American and Caribbean countries is a strong complementary dimension of our foreign policy engagement,’ said Vice President Dacic. Therefore, Serbia has regularly participated in meetings of regional organizations from Latin American and Central American integration system since 2000, and especially since 2012. The goal of Serbia, according to Dacic, is to improve economic cooperation with these countries, which is not at the level of good political relations. Meetings like this, hosted by ‘John Naisbitt’ University, will provide strong support to already started initiatives to increase the volume of economic cooperation and balance trade,’ said Dacic in his closing remarks.

Alvaro Garcia Liner, Vice President of the Multinational State of Bolivia addressed the public, holding a very interesting lecture on the most current issues of the economic and political situation of Latin American and Caribbean countries and nations in today’s complex international conditions.

The opening of the Congress – which continues to work in the sections, and ends on Friday, July 28th  – was attended by many prominent personalities of domestic scientific and public life, including Minister of Culture and Information of Serbia Vladan Vukosavljevic, Minister of Culture of Paraguay Fernando Grifit, academician Ljubisa Rakic and Ivan Jevtic, numerous representatives of Serbian universities and faculties, teachers and students of ‘John Naisbitt’ University, journalists and others.

On the eve of the opening of the Congress, Serbian and Paraguayan ministers Vukosavljevic and Grifit met on the premises of the University and agreed on the modalities of cooperation between the two countries in the field of culture.

        Recorded by: Milutin Rajkovic and Vukasin Basaric