The International Society for Military Ethics in Europe
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5th EuroISME Annual Conference
10-13 May 2016
Military Academy, Belgrade

Conference Report

This year, more than 70 ISME members and interested participants representing different fields of science, politics and armed forces gathered for Euro-ISME’s annual conference. After the Defence Academies and Leadership Training Centres of France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Germany, the conference was hosted for the first time by a country which is not a member state of the European Union : The Ministry of Defence and the General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces had offered to co-organize the meeting with the Military Academy in Belgrade as venue.

On behalf of the host, the participants were addressed by the Head of the Military Academy, Major General Goran Zekovic, who stressed the importance of military ethics in the education and life of every officer. According to him, each future senior member of the military must master the basic concepts of morality and ethics, understand the matter of applied ethics and professional military ethics in order to develop necessary capabilities for moral judgment and to be capable to apply the acquired knowledge in crises and in war.

With its modern conference infrastructure, including media technology of high standard, and located close to the city-centre, the venue was extremely attractive for visitors from all over the world. Thus, the rich program was not limited exclusively to lectures and discussions but also included historical-cultural excursions and a river cruise on the Danube and Sava in the shadow of the Belgrade Fortress “Beogradska tvrđava” and around the “Great War Island Veliko ratno ostrvo“.

Video documentation of the conference

Conference items

The participants were also addressed by the Rector of the Defence University, Major General Mladen Vuruna, who reminded them that, although it had been implemented relatively recently as a subject, military ethics represents a part of the education of every Serbian officer from the first day of the Military Academy. He stressed that the military profession is an honourable one, and that the Military Academy motto “Honour is our property” is the best proof that Serbian officers are aware of this.

The “Opening Session” was than completed by the presentation of the recently published 1st Volume of the Euro-ISME Book Series on “International Studies in Military Ethics”, co-edited by Euro-ISME vice-president Dr. David Whetham and his colleague Dr. Bradley Strawser from US-ISME. The volume is entitled “Responsibilities to Protect – Perspectives in Theory and Practice” and it brings together chapters by international scholars and practitioners who addressed these concerns, that international initiatives have also practical implications, during the 2nd Annual Conference in 2012 in Shrivenham.

The traditional relations of military cooperation that the Serbian Armed Forces established with its neighbouring countries in Southeast and Central Europe allowed us to expand the expertise available and to include for the first time the views of participants from Russia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Greece, and even from China.

A culture of open networking among academics experts and military practitioners guaranteed for an excellentworking atmosphere. Euro-ISME Vice-president Dr. David Whetham and Colonel Dr. Ilija Kajtez from the Military Academy concluded with justified satisfaction: “Due to the complex relationships that different countries represented within Euro-ISME currently maintain with each others, it did not pass without comment that the annual meeting was held at the Military Academy in Belgrade. However, we were received with a warm welcome and generous support. So the best conditions for an open exchanges, standing on a high academic level, were again achieved this year ”.

The meeting again also provided the opportunity to hold “the Ordinary General Assembly”. The members unanimously approved the annual reports of the chairman and of the treasurer and they re-elected those members of the Board of Directors, for whom the election term had expired.


Some more impressions from the Conference



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