THE CONFERENCE ORGANIZER’S WELCOME
“As the Chair of the Scientific board and Conference Organizer, I am looking forward to meet you in Portorož-Portorose in 2019. We decided to hold the conference in the multicultural, three-border Upper Adriatic region, as we believe that is an ideal place for reflecting the questions about contact areas, border communities and minorities, as well as social integration and inter-cultural cooperation. Even though the area was and still is so diverse and spatially and socially controversial, even though its territory was so intensively disputed during and after WW 1 and WW 2 among different geopolitical systems and nation-states, it always found the way to overcome geopolitical and international obstacles and differentiations, and to re-establish cross-border and inter-cultural relations between neighbours, native people and newcomers. This contact area, as many others, has actually showed how long-lasting functional multicultural regions are easier to be kept united than to be divided.
Geographers and other social scientists, who had already some voice in the past, when several studies have been conducted on the effects of political transformations on the ethnic and language structure, and on the developments of cross-border contacts, are now called to perform an even more important role in the preparation of new visions and projects for not only the preservation of the numerous European multicultural and border regions, but also in directing new forms of social integration between different cultures and groups, transcending the classic forms of territorial and social exclusion and marginalization.
And this is what we will actually try to do during the Conference: to discuss common academic issues and to look forward for better and more integrated forms of inter-academic and inter-national understanding and cooperation. I hope we could be successful in developing this apparently simple and natural task, and I promise we will do our best to create a friendly environment for both more formal and less formal meetings and talks, in particular during our excursions and visits of both the Italian and Slovene minorities in Istria and Trieste.”
Prof. dr. Milan Bufon, Chair of the Scientific board