Meeting of SASA EC with the representatives of Matica srpska and the University of Belgrade

The Serbian Academy of Sciences and Art hosted the representatives of Matica Srpska and the University of Belgrade. The delegation of Matica Srpska consisted of the President, Prof. Dr. Dragan Stanic, Vice Presidents, Prof. Dr. Branko Beslin, Dr. Miodrag Maticki and Prof. Dr. Nenad Ostojic, Director of the Academy Ms. Jelena Veselinov, and the delegation of the University of Belgrade consisted of the Head of University, Prof. Dr. Vladimir Bumbasirevic, Vice President for Science, Prof. Dr. Ivanka Popovic and Secretary General, Ms. Slavica Kapetanovic. The guests were received by the SASA President, academician Vladimir S. Kostic, SASA Vice President, academician Ljubomir Maksimovic, SASA Secretary General, academician Marko Andjelkovic and academician Djordje Zlokovic. The meeting was attended by the SASA Director Mr. Budimir D. Loncar and SASA Deputy Director Ms. Dragana Petrovic Radjenovic.
The issues related to publishing of the Serbian Encyclopedia and the Letopis Matice srpske (chronicle) were discussed at the meeting. Launching the matter of restitution of property was also discussed.
The presidents of SASA and Matica Srpska signed a Protocol on Cooperation. Both institutions are of national importance and it is natural that they cooperate closely in all domains.
It was emphasized that publishing of the Serbian Encyclopedia is a legally stipulated obligation of the state entrusted to SASA and Matica Srpska, and that the state has to keep sight of the national importance of such a project and must participate financially in its preparation. In spite of the fact that there are other ways of obtaining assets, the state is the one that has to bear the full burden. It was agreed in that sense that the SASA Executive Council will draft a letter with given data and seek reception with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development. Matica Srpska will enter its comments in the wording of the letter and submit a work plan for the provided 12 million dinars and a supplement to the work plan for the deficient assets which are expected during the budget readjustment.
The University of Belgrade and Matica Srpska have already launched the matter of property restitution. The University of Belgrade has a great number of endowment funds among which also the Kapetan Misino zdanje which houses the seat of the President's Office. According to the data availed of by BU, the University of Belgrade was at the top in Europe according to the number of endowment funds and wealth. There are currently 14 active foundations, operating in a way foreseen by the will of the endowers. The main problem of restitution is the legal continuity of the endowments. Considering that they had been nationalized during a certain period of time, they did not perform their primary duty and there is no legal continuity.
Expressing his gratitude for initiating the issue of publishing the chronicle Letopis Matice srpske, Prof. Dr. Dragan Stanic presented the current situation and problems this national heritage struggles with. He stated that the financing has been reduced from 46 to 32 million dinars. For this reason the Letopis is published three to four times a year which is devastating considering that even during the Austro-Hungarian time it was published more frequently. Matica Srpska reacted on several occasions and warned the Ministry of Culture of the catastrophic consequences of such a policy, and drew attention to the fact that a national monument is crumbling before our very eyes. However, the representatives of the Ministry refuse any communication and proposals for a meeting. It was agreed that a letter shall be forwarded via the Office of the President of the Government seeking an urgent meeting on this matter.