The conference MAN 2012: New Balkan Boy was held on 30th – 31stJanuary, 2012 in “Center for Cultural Decontamination/CZKD, Belgrade. Around 150 participants gathered in attendance to hear many eminent experts in the field of gender equality, masculinity and youth work. The conference was organized by Center E8 and CARE International NW Balkans with the financial support of the Ministry of Youth and Sports of the Republic of Serbia and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
For the second year in a row conference successfully deals with some of the most important issues regarding the prevention of gender based violence among young men. This conference has the goal of becoming a traditional gathering of experts from Serbia, countries of the region and also from across the whole world. This project aims to work with men to deconstruct the challenges they face, especially those related to social and cultural norms of masculinity. Addressing gender norms in terms of promoting gender equality and attention to the risky behavior related to health and violence faced by men, requires the inclusion of boys and young men (men across society) in a reexamination of attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that affect the choices made by boys and men (and women and girls).
Famous Serbian actor Branislav Lečić, who is also signatory of our Declaration of real men against violence against women, opened the conference with his speech. After introduction speeches by Vojislav Arsić (Center E8), John Crownover (CARE), Vesna Vidojević (Ministry of youth and sport) and Tinde Kovač Cerović (Ministry of education and science), cocktail gathering took place. Gary Barker, one of the world’s greatest experts dealing with masculinity and gender-based violence, opened the second day of the conference with his lecture. He stated that: “Young men who saw their father beating their mothers, are showing more aggresive behaviors and are prone to delinquency and risky behaviors. They adopt that model of behavior and they have no ambience where they can speak about it. Now that’s the problem! That is the reason why we should work with young men and that is why I consider this work to be important. Don’t abandon them and also ask yourself: why do we always ask why are young men fighting and causing problems, and you forget the ones that don’t take violence as a method of problem solving, and they are also a considerable resource for our society.
On second day of the conference we also heard Michael McKenna (Northern Ireland, Youth Action), John Hughson (UK, International Footbal Institute), Vojislav Arsić (SRB, Center E8), John Crownover (USA, CARE), Branislava Arsenov (SRB, Center E8), Marina Blagojević (SRB, Institute for criminology and social research), Matija Sinković, (CRO, Faculty of philosophy, University of Zagreb) Nataša Bijelić (CRO, CESI), Srđan Dušanić (BIH, Perpetuum Mobile, Faculty of philosophy Banja Luka), Natko Gereš (CRO, Status M),