EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The National Research Council (NRC) held a workshop in Washington,DC on May 6-7 on “Reconstructing Science, Engineering, and HigherEducation in the Republics of Bosnia-Hercegovina and Croatia.” Theobjective of this meeting was both to focus attention on this topicand to outline specific activities which could be undertaken by suchAmerican institutions as the NRC.

The workshop explored many reasons why science, engineering, andhigher education are critical for the long-term economic growth andsocial stability of Bosnia-Hercegovina and Croatia. During the meeting,the workshop participants made the following arguments for why science,engineering, and higher education should receive a higher priorityin the reconstruction efforts than currently planned:

  • The participation of the local research and higher education institutionsin the physical reconstruction of Bosnia-Hercegovina and Croatiais essential if the reconstruction efforts of these states are tosucceed in the long term.

  • Support of physical reconstruction without concurrent support ofhigher education and research could result in the weakening of thehigher education and research base by diverting scarce talent tomore lucrative employment, such as academics serving as translatorsand drivers for Western contractors.

  • United States involvement in the development of higher educationsystems would provide an unusual opportunity to favorably influencethe building of these states and the nurturing of a new generationof scholars and leaders.

  • Strengthening higher education institutions and networks could playan important role in promoting ethnic harmony as these institutionswill both transmit values of inter-ethnic cooperation and serve asplaces where inter-ethnic ties will be forged.

  • Time is of the essence as the external and internal brain drain fromthe universities and research institutes continues. Further delayswill increase the cost and time it will take to rebuild the intellectualbase of these institutions.

Attendees also expressed their individual ideas on how the currentreconstruction plans could better assist science, technology, andhigher education in Bosnia-Hercegovina. Some of these thoughts areas follows:

  • During the day and a half meeting, a number of participants expressedtheir hope that The World Bank would accelerate the timetable for supporting higher education projects.

  • Picking up on a proposal by John Moore (George Mason University),many participants agreed that The World Bank and USAID, within each priority sector, should consider including a fundingcomponent for support of relevant applied research. Directing a mere2% of USAID's support for the region to higher education would have a significantimpact in revitalizing the universities. In addition, The World Bank and USAID should include within each large reconstruction contract a clausethat would require the contractor to work with and support, as



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Reconstructing Science, Engineering, and Higher Education in Bosnia-Hercegovinaand Croatia: Summary of a Meeting EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The National Research Council (NRC) held a workshop in Washington,DC on May 6-7 on “Reconstructing Science, Engineering, and HigherEducation in the Republics of Bosnia-Hercegovina and Croatia.” Theobjective of this meeting was both to focus attention on this topicand to outline specific activities which could be undertaken by suchAmerican institutions as the NRC. The workshop explored many reasons why science, engineering, andhigher education are critical for the long-term economic growth andsocial stability of Bosnia-Hercegovina and Croatia. During the meeting,the workshop participants made the following arguments for why science,engineering, and higher education should receive a higher priorityin the reconstruction efforts than currently planned: The participation of the local research and higher education institutionsin the physical reconstruction of Bosnia-Hercegovina and Croatiais essential if the reconstruction efforts of these states are tosucceed in the long term. Support of physical reconstruction without concurrent support ofhigher education and research could result in the weakening of thehigher education and research base by diverting scarce talent tomore lucrative employment, such as academics serving as translatorsand drivers for Western contractors. United States involvement in the development of higher educationsystems would provide an unusual opportunity to favorably influencethe building of these states and the nurturing of a new generationof scholars and leaders. Strengthening higher education institutions and networks could playan important role in promoting ethnic harmony as these institutionswill both transmit values of inter-ethnic cooperation and serve asplaces where inter-ethnic ties will be forged. Time is of the essence as the external and internal brain drain fromthe universities and research institutes continues. Further delayswill increase the cost and time it will take to rebuild the intellectualbase of these institutions. Attendees also expressed their individual ideas on how the currentreconstruction plans could better assist science, technology, andhigher education in Bosnia-Hercegovina. Some of these thoughts areas follows: During the day and a half meeting, a number of participants expressedtheir hope that The World Bank would accelerate the timetable for supporting higher education projects. Picking up on a proposal by John Moore (George Mason University),many participants agreed that The World Bank and USAID, within each priority sector, should consider including a fundingcomponent for support of relevant applied research. Directing a mere2% of USAID's support for the region to higher education would have a significantimpact in revitalizing the universities. In addition, The World Bank and USAID should include within each large reconstruction contract a clausethat would require the contractor to work with and support, as

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Reconstructing Science, Engineering, and Higher Education in Bosnia-Hercegovinaand Croatia: Summary of a Meeting appropriate, activities at relevant local research and educationinstitutions. For example, these institutions should be involvedin engineering feasibility studies, the design of telecommunicationand transportation networks, and health monitoring networks. In conjunction with the Mine Action Center planned for Sarajevo,Glenn Schweitzer (National Research Council) and Martin Prochnik(U.S. Department of State, retired) suggested that The World Bank and U.S. Department of Defense should establish an International Landmine Research and DevelopmentCenter in Sarajevo to address global problems of landmines with specialemphasis on Bosnia-Hercegovina and Croatia. Ivo Slaus (Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts) and other participantsadvocated that the U.S. Department of State should strengthen the bilateral science and technology agreementwith Croatia, which is financed through a joint fund and operatedby a joint board. Dr. Slaus also felt a similar program should beintroduced with Bosnia-Hercegovina. Individual meeting participants suggested that The National Research Council could pursue the following activties: (a) continue to explore withUSAID opportunities for providing additional support for higher educationand research in the region, including establishing an applied researchgrants program administered by the NRC; (b)examine the feasibilityof involving European institutions as well as non-governmental organizations,such as the Inter-Academy Panel and the International Council onScientific Unions, in future activities; (c) send a team of expertsto the region and/or organize a European-based meeting on the importanceof science and engineering in Bosnia-Hercegovina and Croatia in 1997;and (d) sponsor studies on important regional issues, such as energy,transportation networks, environmental problems, and public health.