The UNESCO/Keizo Obuchi Fellowship was a great opportunity for me to structure my research and to further define and examine the democratization and political participation processes in the western Balkans. It allowed me to establish an event database on which my research is based and to gather materials for the research. It also gave me the opportunity to pull an enormous mass of material together into a draft manuscript form. The University of Sheffield and the Southeast European Research Centre, with its own resources and the possibility of direct access to the books and other materials of their libraries, have provided me with excellent resources that were needed to carry out my research and other tasks during my fellowship.
The research enabled me to understand the organizational structure and methods of work of various institutions (democratic and political) in the region and beyond. Moreover, I had an opportunity to refresh my communication skills in English and I developed a network that will be useful for future mutual cooperation. From the UNESCO/Obuchi Fellowship I gained new knowledge, experience and contacts that will bolster my future contribution to the development of Macedonia. I had the opportunity to acquire new knowledge and experience which I will apply later to my work and which will contribute to the overall organization, work and fulfilment of my professional obligations. At the same time, the research increased my own professional capabilities, which will in the long term help my career in the service of the development of an open society in Macedonia.
The Fellowship has provided me with an exceptional opportunity to meet my needs in the areas of analysis, public advocacy and organizational management by sharpening my knowledge of the processes of democratization and political participation, issues that are of the utmost importance to my country.
Democratization and political participation in post-conflict societies was the topic of my research under the UNESCO/Obuchi Fellowship. How to strengthen democratic processes in the western Balkan countries was the specific area of the research, which examined the shifting focus in the region from post-conflict reconstruction and security to establishing conditions for sustainable development and issues related to democratization.
The UNESCO/Obuchi Fellowship helped me to conduct my research according to the methodology established. This included both desktop research (reviewing and drawing upon existing studies on the topic) and extensive interviews. It also enabled me to focus on research experience, with particular attention to writing and analysis through the preparation of research papers and manuscripts, and on developing policy analyses, with a continuous search for new knowledge in the field of politics and public policy. Moreover, it offered me an opportunity to cooperate closely with the University/ Centre faculty and other students and researchers throughout the fellowship period.
4 December 2006