Panel curated by Dipartimento di Beni Culturali of University of Bologna and Centro Europe Direct della Romagna with the professors Stefano Bianchini and Marco Zoppi, the artists Simon Capelle / ZONE -poème- and Ziga Divjak, coordinated by the professor Annalisa Furia.

Only a few days after the signing of the Maastricht Treaty establishing the European Union (February 1992), the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina began, expanding the complex picture of civil conflicts and wars that, already since 1991 and for about a decade, would be tearing Europe apart. To the same period belong two crucial events that made clear the centrality of the Balkan area for migration routes to the European Union and Italy in particular. The first arrivals in Italy of people escaping from the dissolving former Yugoslavia and, along a different route, the docking of the ship “Vlora” carrying Albanian citizens running away from the communist regime in the port of Bari, also date back to 1991. What remains of the history and memory of these dramatic events more than 30 years later? What challenges remain toward the full integration into the European Union of the countries of the Balkan area? How have migration flows of the Balkan route changed and why we continue to see many people challenging the walls and the European hostility by attempting “the game”?

For the translation during the meeting we thank Estranei, an independent magazine and cultural project that focuses on Mitteleurope, the Balkans and Eastern cultures.

Annalisa Furia, associate Professor of History of Political Thought at the Department of Cultural Heritage of the University of Bologna since 2019. Her research interests include the study of the political thought of the French Revolution (Sieyès), modern and contemporary doctrines of human rights, citizenship and security and feminist political thought (Martha C. Nussbaum, Joan C. Tronto). She has also studied foreign aid, migration intended as a res politica and, more recently, the history of the concept of solidarity in French political thought. She is the Director of the MA Programme I-Contact – International cooperation on human rights and intercultural heritage and of the Master Course on Human Rights, Migration, Intercultural Inclusion. Over the years, she has taken part as expert and/or scientific coordinator in many European projects on human rights, migration and development.

Stefano Bianchini is Professor of East European Politics and History at the Dept. of Political and Social Science, University of Bologna, Forlì Campus. He was Rector’s delegate for relations with Eastern Europe from 2015 to 2021. From 2004 to 2015 he coordinated the MA in Interdisciplinary Research and Studies on Eastern Studies (MIREES), an international MA in English awarding a joint diploma of the U. of Bologna, Vytautas Magnus (Kaunas), St. Petersburg, and Corvinus of Budapest. As an expert of Balkan issues, particularly on Yugoslavia and its successor states, he published nine books, 29 edited books and more than 100 articles in Italian, French, English and other languages. He was an adviser of the ICTY, in the Hague. Leader of international projects under the framework of Jean Monnet, Erasmus+, Espon, Interreg, PRIN. He is also the Editor in Chief of the Series on the Balkan and East-Central Europe (Longo Publ., Ravenna) and the Executive Editor of “Southeastern Europe”, Brill, Leiden. One of his last book is Liquid Nationalism and State Partitions in Europe (Edward Elgar, 2017).

Marco Zoppi is a research fellow at the Department of Political and Social Sciences of the Alma Mater Studiorum – University of Bologna. His research interests focus in particular on migration and integration, in Europe and in the Adriatic-Ionian macro-region. He is currently involved in three international research projects (REInSER, TESI and GlocalEast) dealing with the issues of integration, migration, borders and diaspora in Europe from various perspectives. He is the author of about forty scholarly publications, including the book Futures of the Western Balkans: Fragmentation and Integration in the Region and Beyond (Springer, 2022).

Simon Capelle is an author, performer, and director, first learning classical and contemporary dance as well as music. He obtained a Masters in Theatrical Studies and a Masters in Contemporary Literature. Eager to train with great European directors, he takes part in numerous internships given by the Biennale College Teatro in Venice with Wajdi Mouawad, Pascal Rambert, Anne Bogart, Mark Ravenhill and Anna-Sophie Malher. In 2016, he published his play Pur with Editions La Fontaine and his first novel Tes eyes cosmos with Editions Belladone. His career is oriented towards performance and the relationship between live performance and plastic arts. He publishes in the Revue Ver(r)ue. And several of his texts are regularly published in the journal Frictions.

Žiga Divjak entered the Slovenian cultural domain (still as a student) with the series of events and performances entitled Right Before the Revolution (2013–2015) which brought him the Academy Prešeren Award and with which he toured to Germany and Croatia. Even after his studies, he remained loyal to his socially engaged position in his work, which has so far led him to direct at the Mladinsko, Maska Institute, Prešeren Theatre Kranj, Cankarjev dom, SNT Drama Ljubljana and Ljubljana City Theatre. His sensitive way of approaching social questions brought him a Borštnik Award for direction for The Man Who Watched the World (Mladinsko) in 2017, while the project (Maska nad Mladinsko – The New Post Office programme), which he directed, won the Borštnik Grand Prix for the best production. The same goes for The Game (also The New Post Office), which received six more awards (for direction, acting, young actress, dramaturgy, set design, music and sound design).

Centro Europe Direct della Romagna, hosted by the U.O. European Policies of the Municipality of Ravenna, deals with communication and information on European Union issues and acts as an intermediary between the European Union and citizens at the local level. It is part of an information network coordinated by the European Commission’s Direction for Communication.