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Research and other academic initiatives at IECOB are categorized into discrete Study Areas. Many of the researchers on theses teams are members of the Europe and the Balkans International network. Although the Study Areas are not currently working on any projects, should the opportunity arise, IECOB has the resources to mobilize teams of researchers to work in the following disciplines: Political Studies; Economic Studies; Agricultural, Environmental, and Rural Studies; and Linguistic Studies.

The Political Studies work group, headed by Francesco Privitera, tracks the political evolution of the countries in Central-Eastern Europe and the Balkans, focusing on democratisation processes, ethnic-national issues, problems of minorities, the question of safety, and the redefinition of the geopolitical borders in the East-European and Balkan area (acknowledging other important neighboring regions, such as the Caucasus and the Middle East). The work group is divided into three sub-groups that focus on three different regions: the Commonwealth of Independent States (the Russian Commonwealth), Central-Eastern Europe, and the Balkans. The researchers of the Political Studies work group, many of whom are specialists on regional languages and cultures, give high priority to using primary sources in their work. As a result of their successful research, the Political Studies work group, in collaboration with the Economic Studies work group and other contributors, published the Guida ai Paesi dell’Europa centrale, orientale, e balcanica from 1999 to 2010 with Mulino Eds.

The Economic Studies work group, led by Guido Gambetta, analyses and monitors the transitions towards a market economy in the former communist countries. The group produces in-depth, micro- and macroeconomic analyses of Central-Eastern European and Balkan economies, focusing on monetary policies and the development of small and medium enterprises. The Economic Studies work group often carries out ad hoc research, feasibility studies, and market research on request for Italian companies. The group has also made significant contributions to the Guida ai Paesi dell’Europa centrale, orientale, e balcanica, preparing macroeconomic reports on each country profiled in the guides.

The Agricultural, Environmental, and Rural Studies (AERS) research group investigates the multifaceted dimensions (from the ecological to the social, economic, and global implications) of sustainable development in agricultural, rural, and coastal areas in Central-Eastern Europe and the Balkans. The group is also interested in regional environmental and agricultural policies as well as the changing relation between Eastern and Western Europe. The work of the AERS research group involves education, research, and consulting on environmental issues and rural and agricultural development. The AERS group also carries out ad hoc research, feasibility studies, and market research for governmental, nongovernmental, and international organizations.

The Linguistic Studies group focuses on the great linguistic diversity of the countries in Central-Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Scholars in Slavic, Turkic, and Romance languages all provide the group with the ability to actively engage with primary sources, instead of relying on external translations.


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