The conference Serbian Studies Today was launched to become the distinguishing mark of the Serbian Department of the Faculty of Philology, University of Banja Luka, by presenting its academic achievements and the achievements and results of other departments and universities working in the fields of Serbian language, literature and culture. It has been organised annually to allow scholars to present research contributing to Serbian philology and cultural studies, as well as the affiliated disciplines, which the Department has developed in the preceding decades. The conference is also envisaged as a gathering place and a place of collaboration for Serbian scholars from both regional universities and the wider international academic arena.
Titled Serbian Studies Today: The Problems and Prospects of Contemporary Interpretation of Serbian Language, Literature and Culture, the first conference was held at the Faculty of Philology, University of Banja Luka, from 23 to 26 March 2016. It brought together leading Serbian linguists and literary and cultural scholars from the country, region and beyond.
Serbian Studies Today: Contemporary Approaches to Interpreting Serbian Language, Literature and Culture was the title of the second sequel, also held at the Faculty of Philology in Banja Luka on 24 March 2017. The conference presentation sessions were preceded by plenary speeches given by Prof. Alla Tatarenko (Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, Ukraine), Prof. Rajna Dragićević (University of Belgrade, Serbia), Prof. Jasmina Ahmetagić (Institute for Serbian Culture Priština–Leposavić, Serbia), and Prof. Maja Anđelković (University of Kragujevac, Serbia).
The theme of the third Serbian Studies Today was Serbian Philology and the Persecution of the Serbs, and it was held on 30 March 2018. We were honoured to have Prof. Milo Lompar from the University of Belgrade, Serbia, and Prof. Ranko Popović from the University of Banja Luka, RS/BiH, as the conference plenary speakers.
The three conferences brought together academics from several tertiary education institutions from the Republic of Srpska, Serbia, and Europe, who presented excellent papers on a variety of subjects. In light of the conference themes, the presented papers were absolutely a substantial contribution to Serbian language and literature, becoming points of departure for future research within the boundaries of the themes thus defined. From one sequel to the next, the conference Serbian Studies Today brought to Banja Luka not only distinguished Serbian scholars, but also aspiring philologists, master and doctoral students, who have merited the trust accorded them with their research results to date, proving there is a bright academic future ahead of them. This is a combination of factors that certainly contributed to the conference being categorised as an academic conference of national importance for the Republic of Srpska. Each of the three events was rounded off with the publication of a book of conference proceedings of the same name.
The concept and selection of themes of the Serbian Studies Today conference, organised and hosted by the Serbian Department of the Faculty of Philology in Banja Luka, and the publication of the conference proceedings, have made it a major academic event, equally recognised by universities outside the Republic of Srpska, which has certainly boosted the reputations of both the Faculty of Philology and Banja Luka University. We look forward to many more years of joint efforts and promotion of the local academic community and its Serbian studies, and its affiliation and networking with institutions with Serbian philology programmes worldwide.