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Reconstructing Science, Engineering, and Higher Education in Bosnia-Hercegovinaand Croatia: Summary of a Meeting
A number of other participants reiterated the importance of convincinggovernment officials in Bosnia-Hercegovina and Croatia that science,engineering, and higher education must receive higher priority andthat these institutions can and should be assisted within the currentreconstruction framework. Dr. Veljko Zlatic (University of Zagreb)added that the science and engineering communities in these countriesalso need assistance in becoming better advocates for themselves.Not only do they need American moral support, but also assistancewith such skills as writing proposals. Some participants promisedto examine the possibility of engaging other international organizations,such as the Inter-Academy Panel and the International Council ofScientific Unions, in these endeavors.
Following these comments, several participants praised the formerScience and Technology Cooperative Agreements, which were establishedwith a number of Central European countries, as an excellent modelwhich should be revived. Under these agreements, the U.S. Governmentand the cooperating country each placed a fixed amount of money (usuallyin the range of $500,000 to $1.5 million) into a “joint fund”. American andforeign scientists submitted proposals to a joint board, which oversawthe funds. Ms. Janet Mayland (U.S. Department of State) explainedthat the joint funds, despite efforts by the foreign governments,were not considered a high priority by the U.S. Department of State,and international science programs are not viewed favorably by manymembers of Congress. While significantly larger funds are neededin the war-devastated region today, this experience provides a goodbasis for optimism that funds for science and technology can indeedhave substantial impact on economic development.
The workshop ended with a call for the establishment of an informalcontact group that would keep in touch with all participants. Itsobjective would be to coordinate efforts to raise the awareness ofthe importance of science, engineering, and higher education withthe U.S., Bosnian, and Croatian Governments and among other internationaldonors. This group would also explore the possibility of organizinga larger meeting in Europe next year.