This week we were invited to go with our pastor, Jeton, to an OSCE conference in Peje. The OSCE is the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the conference was for members of all religious groups and representatives of municipalities (like the local council) to discuss how the different faith groups in each municipality can have their voices heard by local officials. The OSCE recommended some time ago that each municipality should have a contact person that representatives of different faiths can contact regarding issues they may have.
I (Helen) am a big fan of the James Bond books and films and have always wondered what it would be like to have a live translation as in the opening of Live and Let Die. Well this week I found out. Delegates at the conference represented three different languages so there was Albanian to English, Serbian to Albanian and Serbian to English translations available via a headset. This also gave Ilir a break from translating for me.
One of the problems that was raised by delegates was that smaller faith groups, including but not limited to the Evangelical Church, were not being recognised by municipalities who were only inviting Muslim, Orthodox and Catholic leaders to meetings. There were also success stories of how cooperation from the local municipality had had a positive effect on a faith group’s activities e.g. installing street lighting in a village.
A representative from the OSCE presented information on gender equality and urged delegates to consider how they can promote gender equality in line with the law in Kosova. Of course the approach to this may differ between faiths but it was generally agreed that men and women should have their needs addressed equally.
Although we were only observers in this meeting it was interesting to see and hear how the different faith groups in Kosova cooperate.