The Centre for Southeast European Studies was set up in November 2008 following the establishment of Southeastern Europe as a strategic priority at the University of Graz in 2000. The Centre is an interdisciplinary and cross-faculty institution for research and education, established with the goal to provide space for the rich teaching and research activities at the university on and with Southeastern Europe and to promote interdisciplinary collaboration. Since its origins it was also the aim of the centre to provide information and documentation and to be a place of call for media and the interest public on Southeastern Europe in terms of political, legal, economic and cultural developments.
Thus, the Centre has placed a strong emphasis on public events. In order to provide a broader audience information on Southeastern Europe, the Centre is organizing regular lectures, discussions and other events on current topics, including jointly with the Europe Department of the State of Styria, such as “Südosteuropa Akademie” and “Café Europa”. A first success and also recognition of the strong competence in the field of Southeastern Europe of the University has been archive of the Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe, which has been donated to the Centre by the former Coordinator of the Stability Pact Dr. Erhard Busek.
Already early on, the Centre established close links with a number of West European Universities, including LSE and the Universities of Frankfurt and Cologne, and partners in Southeastern Europe, such as the Universities of Sarajevo and Prishtina and the Centre for Human Rights in Belgrade in the context of an EU Framework Program 6 on “Human and Minority Rights in the Life-Cycle of Ethnic Conflicts” (MIRICO). A further project concluded in 2010, funded by the Zukunftsfonds of Austria, focused on Minorities in Central Europe (MIMI), jointly with partners in Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia and Italy. In addition, the Centre conducted Tempus programs with the Universities of Skopje and Prishtina.
In addition to regular teaching, the Centre also coordinates a Joint PhD in Diversity Management (with the University of Bologna, the New Bulgarian University Sofia and the University of Primorska, Slovenien), as well as a Joint Master in South East European Studies (with the University of Belgrade and partners throughout Europe).
Since 2010 the Centre manages “Balkan Academic News“, a mailing list with over 8000 subscribers. It was founded in 1999 by Florian Bieber as a network for academic information on Southeastern Europe.
In October 2011, Florian Bieber took over as the director of the Centre from the founder Joseph Marko. An interdisciplinary team of lawyers, historians, and political scientists has contributed through numerous articles, monographs and other publications to research on Southeastern Europe. In addition, the centre is regularly organizing international conferences and workshops to promote cutting edge research on Southeastern Europe.