MAN2016: Gender and number is the expert Conference that is organized this year for the sixth time by Centre E8, CARE’s partner organization in Serbia. The Conference brings together experts who, in different areas of their work, are dealing with issues of gender, gender equality, non-violence and promoting positive social values among the youth. It takes place from 1 to 3 June 2016 at the Center for Cultural Decontamination.
First, guests were addressed by Branko Birač on behalf of the Centre E8 and Kevin T. Furey on behalf of the US Embassy in Belgrade.
The Conference began with the session “Whois the real man in Serbia today?”. Young people are growing up in a social environment that has many elements of conflict and violence. Violence in schools, on the streets, at sporting events, against minorities or dissidents of any kind has become an almost daily occurrence. The men, as fathers, friends, decision makers, leaders, play an important role in the fight against violence and through their engagement in society they should become positive role models for young people.
The Conference speakers were the men who are public figures and who are able defy the established social norms with their attitudes: Zoran Kesić – journalist, TV show host, TV author, Marko Somborac – author of comic books, graphic designer and illustrator, and Dragan Ilić – journalist.
Dragan Ilić: We as a country had a long period during which the equality existed and I was convinced that something that was a part of society could not disappear so easily but it happened. We have a case of turning a death of a female singer into a reality show, the show programs which promote some wrong values and in all that both young men and women need to find their own place to resist the fact that someone will make fun of them if they are different, to find their idols. It is not easy. It is important to recognize if someone behaves nicely and politely towardtheir friends, environment, girls, and it is important to praise them and encouragethem.
Marko Somborac: Although I took some things for granted, sometimes I need someone to invite me to be a part of some campaign, to talk to people and understand that it is not the same everywhere. I think it is normal to be equal in the community, to participate in the life of your child, to bewith your family. However, it turns out that this is the exception, not the rule. Yes, so it is important to talk about these issues, about gender equality, about fatherhood, about participation in the family. I think that Real men exist, just like the Real women, they are the people who do the right and proper things.
Zoran Kesić: First of all, I think that it is very important for children to have a stable family. If parents are constantly watching TV and reality shows you cannot expect the child to be any different. No matter how much the environment, friends and schools try, the family is the most important in making the future Real men. I had my role models when I was young, mainly in the sphere of sports and I understand that I have become a role model for some new people. Everything I do, I do with a group of wonderful people and we are trying together to do things that will make people think, but also to promote some positive and true values.
The Conference MAN2016 is organized with the support of the US Embassy in Belgrade, CARE International Balkans, Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) and OAK Foundation.