Thursday, 12 January 2023

Breakthrough Scientific Discovery at Ruder Boskovic Institute in Croatia

January 12, 2023 - How does the cell build a supporting structure for chromosomes? For years, scientists have been trying to understand how spindle fibers form, which are cellular structures crucial for the proper distribution of chromosomes. A new paper by Croatian researchers from the Ruder Boskovic Institute published in the prestigious journal Nature Communications sheds light on this issue.

Researchers from the team of prof. Dr. Sc. Iva Tolić from the Ruder Boskovic Institute (IRB), in collaboration with colleagues from the Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb (PMF), and Croatian scientists in the diaspora, described how the cooperation of kinetochores and microtubules is crucial in the assembly of the spindle fibers and in determining the movement of chromosomes during cell division, as reported on the Ruder Boskovic Institute's official website.

The scientists reached these results by applying their knowledge of cell biology and theoretical physics and thanks to new approaches and methods of cell microscopy that they developed for this research, which enabled them to study hitherto unseen structures of the spindle fibers in the earliest stages of cell division.

The results, published by this interdisciplinary research team are extremely valuable because they contribute to understanding cell division and the diseases associated with this important process.

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Iva Tolić, Marin Barišić and Nenad Pavin - Ruder Boskovic Institute

How are chromosomes organised during cell division?

Our bodies are made up of about one hundred trillion individual cells created by division from a single cell. Spindle fibers, dynamic micromachines composed of protein tubes - microtubules, are responsible for that division. Although the assembly of the spindle fiber is essential for proper chromosome division, this process has not been fully elucidated due to its complexity.

The spindle fiber has a unique architecture consisting of evenly distributed bundles of microtubules - kinetochore bundles, which are attached to chromosomes, and bridging bundles composed of microtubules, which connect the two poles of the spindle fiber by folding in the middle.

While the formation of kinetochore fibers has long been investigated in many laboratories around the world, how the bridging bundles are assembled has remained unknown. Without these bridging bundles, spindle fibers end in a star shape that cannot separate chromosomes. This is proof that bridging bundles play an indispensable role in cell division.

To clarify the formation of bridging bundles of microtubules, group of Professor Iva Tolić teamed up with the group of Professor Marin Barišić from the Danish Cancer Research Center in Copenhagen and the group of Professor Nenad Pavina from PMF Zagreb as part of the project of the Croatian Science Foundation (HrZZ) under the programme encouraging cooperation with Croatian scientists in the diaspora.

The project was completed with the publication of the results of interdisciplinary research in which, combining cell biology and theoretical physics, the researchers discovered the phase transition of microtubules from a sparse network structure to dense, well-separated, and properly organised bundles of the spindle fibers.

Experiments conducted by student Jurica Matković showed that this transition occurs because motor proteins on kinetochores, which are located in the central part of each chromosome, bind to microtubules.

Binding requires the activation of motor proteins by Aurora kinase B, a protein that has multiple roles during cell division. This result was proven by experiments based on motor protein mutants by researchers led by Prof. dr. sc. Marin Barišić.

When motor proteins bind to microtubules, cross-linking proteins cross-link the microtubules into a bundle attached to the kinetochore. The mutual repulsion of the condensed chromosomes, which push against each other on the equatorial plane of the spindle fibers and thus lead to the separation of the bundles to which they are attached and the expansion of the structure into a characteristic spindle shape, is responsible for not all microtubules joining into a single bundle. This novel mechanism of bundle formation is relevant not only to microtubule-based structures but also to cytoskeletal self-organisation in general.

Young researchers have developed new approaches and methods in cell microscopy

"To be able to reveal these complex processes, our research team devised new approaches and developed better methods for observing the spindle fibers. Rapid imaging of microtubules in the cross-section of the spindle fibers allowed us to monitor the dynamics of microtubule redistribution in a living cell. Until now, it was impossible to achieve this with conventional approaches due to the large number of microtubules and the high speed with which they are reorganised. With the help of super-resolution STED microscopy, young researchers were able to analyse the previously unseen architecture of microtubules in the earliest stages of cell division,'' explains Professor Iva Tolić, head of research at IRB.

Super-resolution microscopy protocols were developed on a microscope purchased as part of a project financed from the European Regional Development Fund as part of the Operational Programme Competitiveness and Cohesion 2014-2020.

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Jurica Matković, Mateja Ćosić and Subhadip Ghosh - Ruder Boskovic Institute

The group of Professor Nenad Pavina studied the physics of the formation of microtubule bundles from PMF, where postdoctoral student Subhadip Ghosh developed a theoretical model that allows for identifying the conditions necessary for the formation of the bundles. Since this is a complex process, a minimal model is helpful in understanding the interplay between microtubules, kinetochores, chromosomes, and crosslinker proteins and their roles in bundle formation. The model results support the central hypothesis that the attractive and repulsive mechanisms revealed in the experiments drive the formation of microtubule bundles.

The functional importance of this concept is evident in the context of proper chromosome division, given that PhD student Mateja Ćosić showed in this paper that improper formation of bundles leads to errors in chromosome division due to failure to correct improper connections between microtubules and kinetochore.

The authors propose the intriguing hypothesis that Aurora kinase B not only promotes the formation of overlapping bundles by activating motor proteins, but uses these same bundles as pathways to kinetochores to correct misconnections there.

Irregular and overly thin bundles lead to lagging of individual chromosomes, due to which one daughter cell may receive too many chromosomes, and the other too few.

"The wrong number of chromosomes is characteristic of tumor cells and is associated with the formation of metastases. That's why errors during chromosome division are intensively investigated in laboratories around the world, and this work adds a piece to the puzzle of understanding cell division and diseases associated with this important process,'' the scientists concluded.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Lifestyle section.

Friday, 9 December 2022

Vucedol Culture Museum Hosts First International Conference

December 9, 2022 - A two-day international scientific conference titled Vucedol/Culture: Origin and Heritage is currently underway at the Vucedol Culture Museum in Vukovar. The primary goal of this first scientific conference is to present the results of twenty years (2001–2021) of systematic research at the prehistoric site of Vucedol, but also to remind about the history of research and evaluation of earlier research of the site and the Vucedol culture.

"We are proud to host this first international scientific conference, where we discuss what Vucedol culture was in the wider area. This is also an opportunity to thank all previous researchers, university professors, and those who researched Vucedol culture in Slovenia, Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro. To all the areas that surround us, which gave birth to the most significant findings from the Vucedol culture. This is an opportunity to summarise previous research, but also to present the latest research in the past ten years on the location of the Streim corn field," - said the director of the Museum of Vučedol Culture, Mirela Hutinec, for HRV.

Danijela Roksandic Vukadin from the Department of Archeology of the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Zagreb added that she would present a significant find, a tomb in which the remains of 30 people were discovered. "So far, only twenty graves have been found in the entire area, and we found thirty bodies in one tomb," pointed out Roksandic Vukadin, reminding that Vucedol has been investigated for almost 150 years.

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Steve Tsentserensky

Pyramids were influenced by the Vucedol culture.

Because Vucedol culture represents one of the highest reaches of technological, social, and spiritual development of prehistoric communities on Croatian soil, the conference will cover a wide range of topics. It will include various issues related to the intensive development of metallurgy as a highly accumulative activity and its influence on shaping the material and spiritual aspect of the Vucedol communities, the high standard of ceramic production and pyro technology, the organisation and architectural design of the settlement, the complex element of religious life, problems of chronology and bioarchaeological and other topics.

"The Vucedol culture was the highest level of European civilisation 5,000 years ago. Research has proven that the culture of Vucedol is older than Egyptian, Mesopotamian, and Greek, that they had some knowledge and reach that was extended to other regions, and not the other way around as previously thought. For example, the three Egyptian pyramids were placed to correspond to the constellation of Orion's Belt, and in the Vucedol culture, Orion was mentioned 300 years before the construction of the pyramids. This proves what our Vucedol culture is; therefore, we must show the world what we have and where it all started, " stressed Professor Aleksandar Durman. He addressed young researchers, saying that only about 10% of the localities in Vucedol have been explored and that they should continue with excavations and research as well as developing cultural tourism to present Vucedol's culture to the world.

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Steve Tsentserensky

The director of the Vukovar City Museum, Ruža Marić, recalled all the activities they carried out related to the creation of the Vučedol Culture Museum. "It was a dream of professor Durman, me, and professor's fellow archaeologists, which we managed to realise."

The head of the Conservation Department of the Ministry of Culture and Media in Vukovar, Zdenka Predrijevac, recalled that the ministry had invested significant funds in the construction of the Vučedol Culture Museum and archeological research.

"The program was implemented from 2005 to 2015 and was financed by the Development Bank of the Council of Europe and the Government of the Republic of Croatia in the amount of HRK 70 million, while the permanent exhibition of the Museum was financed with HRK 15 million. The construction of the archeological park Vučedol continues, with HRK 118 million secured for that project, and it should be completed within the next two years", said Predrijevac.

The conference was organised by the Department of Archeology of the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Zagreb, the Vučedol Culture Museum, and the Vukovar Municipal Museum, with the support of the City of Vukovar.

"The city of Vukovar believes in the potential of the Vucedol culture and its influence on the development of Europe and the whole world. Therefore, we need to use this potential and put Vucedol on the tourist map of the world", said the deputy mayor of Vukovar, Filip Sušac, adding that proof of all this is the numerous recognitions that the Museum received, as well as this conference.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Lifestyle section.

Friday, 29 April 2022

Festival of Science To Be Held on 2-7 May

ZAGREB, 29 April (2022) - The Festival of Science, the most important and most comprehensive science popularisation event in Croatia, will be held in 37 cities across the country from 2 to 7 May, the organisers said on Thursday. 

This year the event will again be held live, its central theme being "Life".

The theme has been chosen as relevant due to the coronavirus pandemic that has raised many questions, among others, about the fragility of life, life values, and how science impacts the quality of life and how it can make it longer and better.

In Zagreb, most of the festival events will be taking place at the Nikola Tesla Technical Museum, where the opening ceremony will be held, as well as at seven other venues.

The Festival of Science has been organised by the universities of Split, Zagreb, Rijeka, Zadar and Osijek in cooperation with the Nikola Tesla Technical Museum and the British Council.

For more news about Croatia, click here.

 

Friday, 8 October 2021

Croatian Libraries in a Digital Climate: Conference Held in Lovran

October 8, 2021 - Croatian Libraries in the digital climate was the topic of a conference held in Lovran.

The pandemic and earthquakes of 2020 opened a lot of questions of handling everyday institutions in the not-so-usual times.

One such institution is the library, and Hotel Excelsior in beautiful Lovran (near Opatija and Rijeka on the Western Istrian coast) played host to the 17th edition of the Specialised and Higher Education Library Days. The event lasted from September 30 to October 2. It was organised by the Croatian Library Association (HKD), the National and University Library in Zagreb (NSK) and the University Library in Rijeka with the support of the Croatian Ministry of Culture and Media.

As reported by the University of Zagreb's official website, the focus theme of the conference was the ''Digital Transformation of Libraries in Special Circumstances'' which is divided into four parts and regards digital circumstances.

These topics explored copyright laws, librarian competency, roles, positions, services, and the content of Croatian libraries in the digital era.

''On the last day of the conference, visitors could hear all about the changes in university and higher education libraries in the digital context, not just in terms of the offer but in terms of the legal framework too. These topics were covered by Dr. Tatijana Petrić, while the trends on the development of Croatian universities from a scientific perspective were presented by dr. Miroslav Rajter,'' said the University of Zagreb's website.

Zagreb's NSK has already adapted to digitalisation with the digital library where users can search literature by authors, title, topics or metadata.

Aside from the fact that its faculties have libraries with titles relevant to the field students can study, the University of Zagreb also launched the Hrčak website that offers readers to enjoy Croatian scientific journals and papers, thus allowing access to the scientific content.

Speaking of libraries, any book published in Croatia is required to have an International Standard Book Number (ISBN), which is accessible for free by contacting and filling out the form at NSK, the ISBN is obligatory for every hard copybook. When it comes to digital books, the current law in Croatia states that an ISBN isn't obligatory if the electronic book has no intention of earning commercial money and if it isn't going to be on sale. However, if the author wishes to sell an electronic book and make money from it, then they're obligated to get an ISBN which is assigned for free.

While the development of digital technologies is something that poses a challenge to old reading habits from the library's perspective, the pandemic is also something that limits the physical activities of Croatian libraries. Libraries may no longer hold a vital position for accessing literature, but here in Croatia, they're still valuable for hosting book presentations of Croatian authors (particularly new and lesser known ones who need help in reaching their potential audience).

As TCN covered earlier, the difficulties of 2020 also inspired the country's civil protection services to analyse and adapt to ensuring security ans safety in unexpected situations at a conference in Vinkovci. With the fast-changing day-to-day reality we live in thanks to technology, and the ever uncertain future, it seems 2020 was the wake-up call Croatia needed to be better prepared for what lies ahead in all possible scenarios.

Learn more about famous Croats, including writers in our TC guide

For more about science in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Thursday, 7 October 2021

Scientists Record Distressed Female Lošinj Dolphin Mourning Loss of Calf

October 7, 2021 -  A female Lošinj dolphin mourning the loss of her offspring saw scientists visibly heartbroken and showed once again that animals have feelings which run just as deep as our own.

The clear and beautiful waters of the Croatian Adriatic bring a lot of joy and relaxation to people from all over the world, either by jumping and swimming in the soft waters in the hot summer months or by simply observing and breathing in the healthy air either from deck or land on less sunny days.

However, like any other place, the Adriatic can be a place of tragedy and sad scenes, whether for humans or animals that call this Mediterranean ''alley'' their home. The waters surrounding beautiful Lošinj island was sadly the location of a sad tale.

As was reported on Wednesday by Croatian RadioTelevision (HRT), the Blue World Institute from the small town of Veli Lošinj, recorded a female Lošinj dolphin mourning the  tragicloss of her calf. The calf sadly died and the mother used her nose to keep the baby on the surface of the sea, swimming with the deceased calf for hours.

This recording of dolphins in the Croatian Adriatic acting this way showcased just how much love, empathy, and emotions they possess.

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''These are the first recorded cases even though the research here has been being conducted for over 35 years,'' said Tihana Vučur Blazinić from the Blue World Institute for HRT.

The touching scenes disrupted scientific procedures which decided to only record the incident and not take the calf's body to try to determine the precise cause of death of the unfortunate baby dolphin.

However, since they saw these touching scenes in person, it's hard to blame them for not removing the corpse from the female Lošinj dolphin who was visibly distressed, especially when other dolphins joined the mourning mother.

''At one moment, you had a feeling as they were swimming so close, as if to hug and comfort her, like they're supporting her in these difficult times. The mother, however, regardless of other adults animals approaching, didn't want to leave her baby,'' they told HRT from the Blue World Institute.

With the stork Klepetan mourning the death of his love Malena, the heart-breaking grief of this female Lošinj dolphin is proof that animals have very deep emotions and are much more like humans than we might think. These sad scenes offer another argument that should warn the public that the preservation of biodiversity is a must.

For more about animals in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 4 October 2021

Croatian Quality of Life Panel Held on Vis Island

October 4, 2021 - The level of Croatian quality of life is the interest of Dr. Liljana Kaliterna Lipovčan, and she presented her findings during the "The Quality of Life in Croatia" panel recently held on the island of Vis.

Many people pose questions to themselves about how they might go about living a higher quality of life, on both a Croatian and indeed on a global scale. When it comes to Croatia, the question is looked upon in a higher level through scientific curiosity.

''The Quality of Life in Croatia'' panel made gorgeous Vis the host of the scientific pondering of this particular issue under the organisation of the Ivo Pilar Social research Institute last month.

As TCN wrote earlier, the Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute, the leading institution for social sciences, opened its research office on Vis back in late April 2021. Vis is otherwise the most distant Croatian island (from the mainland) with residents, divided by the Adriatic Sea from mainland Croatia by 50 kilometres.

Dr. Ljiljana Kaliterna Lipovčan is otherwise the head of the Ivo Pilar Institute of Social Sciences office on the island of Vis.

''Her research interests include the subjective indicators of quality of life, the psychophysiology of work, and the psychological consequences of aging. She has led several national and international projects: 2007 – 2013 ''Developing national indicators of Quality of Life''; 2002-2006 ''Psychosocial indicators of Quality of Life'', 2008-2010, and was a national coordinator of the ESF-European Social Survey-Round 4.

In 2013-2014 she led the project on the ''3rd European Quality of Life Survey: Reports on trends of Quality of Life in Croatia'' by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions from Dublin,'' reads Kaliterna Lipovčan's biography posted by the Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute.

Her interest in Croatian quality of life from a psychological point of view moved away from the eye of the academic and research community and gained public attention.

Followed by Croatia's jump on the World Happiness Report which placed the country as the 23rd happiest country in the world, Kaliterna Lipovčan explained this result. As Gloria.hr reports, Kaliterna Lipovčan stated that Croats realised how important it is to have other people to rely on during the coronavirus pandemic.

"Researchers have shown that Croatian citizens, on average, experience six larger positive events per year. For example, graduation, finding a job, a wedding, childbirth, healing from a disease and a pleasant journey and only two negative ones such as a court hearing, some form of bigger material loss or the contraction of a disease. When we think about daily life, let's try to remember what good things happened yesterday. Did we notice that we managed to get to work on time? that the boss was in a good mood? That there was no crowd in the tram? Probably not. But if there was a crowd in the tram, or the boss was in a bad mood, we'd notice it and we'd tell our friends about it. Let's try to agree with ourselves and start noticing positive events more often, and we'll learn there were more of those than negative ones,'' advised Kaliterna Lipovčan to the readers of Gloria.hr.

The panel was opened by Vis mayor Ivo Radica who expressed his joy for the cooperation between Vis and the Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute which went on for years before the opening of an office there. The head of the Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute Željko Holjevac also reminded everyone 2021 is the 30th year of the Institute's work.

If you also have an interest in social questions, you can learn more about religion, politics, education & diversity in Croatia on our TC page.

For more about science in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 2 October 2021

Overweight Croatian Children: Every Third Child Eats Too Much

October 2, 2021 - With every third child having a weight problem, the study finds that the sheer amount of overweight Croatian children is a legitimate concern.

The Dalmatian meat specialty of Pašticada, Zagorje's Štrukli, spicy Slavonian sausages called Kulen... the list goes on and these are just some of the delicious foods Croats traditionally eat. But even outside of tradition, there are loads of contemporary food restaurants, foreign food options (Chinese, Mexican, Arab, Greek and more), not to mention many fast-food chains and even more bakeries. Basically, there's no need to worry about starving in Croatia. And that may also turn into a problem.

As Srednja.hr writes, every third child in Croatia is overweight, meaning there is now a serious concern about overweight Croatian children which needs to be tackled.

This fact was discovered during the ''European Initiative for monitoring childhood obesity in Croatia 2018/2019'' (CroCOSI), conducted by the European Office of the World Health Organisation. It's interesting to note that the research leader for Croatia was none other than Sanja Musić Milanović, the wife of the current Croatian president, Zoran Milanović.

The results of the research were presented last week at the Croatian Public Health Institute (HZJZ). ''Around 35% of Croatian children aged 8 to 9 are overweight, and only 14% of parents are aware of that,'' writes Srednja.hr.

Looking at different regions, the lowest amount of overweight Croatian children can be found in Zagreb (29.7%). While continental Croatia has a higher percentage (36.0%), the Adriatic region holds a record-breaking number, reaching almost 37%.

Gender-wise, Croatian boys have more weight issues than girls do (17.8% / 11.9%).

While this isn't too much of a drastic rise when compared to the research from 2015/2016 (the total percentage was 34.9%), being overweight remains a big problem for Croatia which can lead to serious health risks sooner or later. These issues go deeper than personal health but also result in more pressure being placed on an already burdened healthcare system.

What's interesting, is that this weight problem is more of an issue in rural areas than it is in urban ones, even though you'd think it should be the other way around as rural areas are more in touch with nature and offer more possibilities for recreation. However, urban areas, as a study suggests, have better prevention programmes which advocate for healthy habits and lifestyles.

Additionally, the fact that only 14% of parents are aware that their child has a weight problem also shows problems in understanding of what a good diet actually is among Croats.

''The Health Ministry has recognised the weight issue as a priority area and has started with preparations for making a prevention plan for it. I believe that with the implementation of this action plan, we'll contribute in stopping this negative trend rising on a national level in the years to come,'' commented Health Minister Vili Beroš.

The problem of overweight children and fat-shaming has recently been recognised among Croatian pupils. As TCN wrote, pupils in schools are no longer measured publicly but privately. However, the combat against unhealthy habits among Croatian children for a healthier, more knowledgeable generation is still underway.

Learn more about Croatian food in our TC guide.

 For more about health in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

 

Friday, 1 October 2021

Croatian Scientists Tissue Research: New Study Lead by Ana Sunčana Smith

October 1, 2021 - In cooperation with their colleagues from Germany, the Croatian Scientists' tissue research brought about some new findings that made the news in the international scientific community.

Dr. Ana Sunčana Smith from the Ruđer Bošković Science Institute (IRB) is one more IRB scientist to find herself leading an international scientific team towards new exciting discoveries. Made up of IRB Croatian scientists and Germany's Friedrich-Alexander University from Erlangen-Nürnberg, Sunčana Smith's team (the members being Sara Kaliman, Maxime Hubert, Carina Wollnik, Lovro Nuić, Damir Vurnek, Simone Gehrer, Jakov Lovrić, Diana Dudziak, and Florian Rehfeldt) came to a new understanding on the mechanical properties that affect Epithelial Tissue (the form which covers all human bodies).

Their scientific paper titled ''Mechanical Regulation of Epithelial Tissue Homeostasis'' has recently been published in the prestigious Physical Review X scientific journal for the study of physics.

As IRB explained in their press release, diseases or injuries to the organism change the elasticity of microcellular surroundings during our lifetime.

''Despite recent efforts to understand homeostasis in epithelial tissues, there are many unknowns surrounding this steady state. It is considered to be regulated by mechanoresponse, but unlike for single cells, this idea remains heavily debated for tissues (…) Our results unequivocally relate the mechanosensitive properties of individual cells to the evolving macroscopic structures, an effect that could be important for understanding the emergent pathologies of living tissues,'' reads the abstract of the paper.

While the current researchers focused on a single cell, IRB points out that tissue research like this is scarce.

"This result showed us a more complicated connection between density and cell movability than has been known before. We determined that the organisation of the epithelial tissue is very robust despite great variations in density lead by the various hardness of micro-surrounding. This shows that density is the result of adaptation and that the cell organisation is actively controlled to fulfill its function. This fact can be used in diagnostics, and it has potential implications in understanding the process of epithelial regeneration,'' concluded Dr. Ana Sunčana Smith.

This is just one of the great results discovered by IRB, the biggest scientific institute in Croatia. As previously reported, this includes spindle and cell division research, quantum communication development (presented at the G20 Summit), heavy metal analysis in the Adriatic Sea, and much more.

Learn more about Croatian inventions & discoveries: from Tesla to Rimac on our TC page.

For more about science in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 1 October 2021

European Youth and IT Industry Panel: Digital Osijek on Horizon

October 1, 2021 - The European Youth and IT Industry Panel, part of the European Future Conference, talked about the importance of the IT sector and AI technology. The host city of Osijek is already displaying fantastic results in the field as a digital Osijek becomes more and more of a reality.

The last day of September, which is the unofficial start of new victories and losses for the Croatian youth (due to the beginning of the school year and final deadline exams for students), has been completed with a suitable discussion on the future of new generations.

Osijek, the biggest city in the Eastern Croatian region of Slavonia, was the host of the ''Youth and the IT Industry Future'' panel, one of the thematics panels from the European Future Conference.

Along with the Croatian Parliament and Croatian counties, the European Parliament Office in Zagreb hosts thematic discussions in ten cities which are home to universities.

''The European Future Conference is a series of public debates that allows citizens to express their ideas and come up with suggestions for the reforms and future policies of the EU,'' explains the European Parliament Office in their press release.

They added that the centerpiece of the conference is a multilingual platform where citizens can exchange ideas, connect with each other, and have their say on burning issues outside of these organised events.

The panel in Osijek delighted the mayor, Ivan Radić, one of the opening speakers. Radić stated that Osijek has a lot to say and show when it comes to the IT sector as the city aims to rebrand as a place of excellence for this field, aiming for a more digital Osijek.

There is no better proof of that than the Osijek Software City Association, established in 2021 with the goal of promoting the IT sector towards the local community.

''Several leading IT companies in Osijek realised that the youth needs to be introduced to the IT industry in an approachable way,'' said Osijek Software City representative Ivan Ostheimer.

Thanks to their hard work, many local companies in Osijek now hire experts and produce quality software that can then be exported to the global market, in spite of the still challenging economic situation.

The background goal of the European Future Conference is to show people that European Parliament representatives aren't simply being hermits and hiding themselves in the EU Parliament in Brussels or Strassbourg. In that spirit, the Croatian MEPs Karlo Ressler (European's People Party) and Sunčana Glavak (Croatian Democratic Union) participated in the event (Ressler in person and Glavak via video link).

Ressler is the Vice President of the special EU Parliamentary Committee for artificial intelligence (AI). He stated at the panel the European Union currently has ongoing discussions on regulating this new technology. The goal is to find a balance that would use the potential of AI without stopping the industry, while also avoiding negative scenarios such as manipulation attempts that would damage people's lives.

Glavak pointed out how digitalisation now has a key role in every EU policy.

''The goal is for that at least 80% of the EU population to have digital skills by 2030“, said Glavak.

With the panel in Osijek demonstrating the current successes of the IT industry, the aim for a digital Osijek, and seeing the attendance of both political elites and professionals, it seems that this Eastern Croatian city is on a very good track.

Learn more about Osijek in our TC page.

For more about diplomacy in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

 

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Zagreb Subversive Festival 2021: Progressive Films and Discussions in October

September 28, 2021 - The Zagreb Subversive Festival 2021 will present movies and discussions on alternative, progressive solutions to burning global issues throughout October.

After the iconic Kino Europa (Europa Cinema) in Zagreb's centre closed down (despite huge support for it to remain, as well as protests), many cultural festivals that called the venue their home weren't sure where they would continue their cultural programmes.

However, many programmes successfully moved on, and the Zagreb Subversive Festival is no exception. The 14th edition of this progressive culture event is making a return to Zagreb and will last from October 3-23.

The Tuškanac Cinema, the Cultural Informative Centre (KIC), the Prosvjeta Serbian Cultural Centre (SKD Prosvjeta), and the Miroslav Krleža Institute of Lexicography joined forces to host the programme. Additionally, the online Volimdokumentarce.net (Ilovedocumentaries.net) programme will live stream online for those unable to attend the events in person.

''The Zagreb Subversive Festival 2021 is a multi-disciplinary platform inside which political theory and film join forces to shake up the status quo, identify the aesthetic of resistance and nurture a more radical approach to film, theory, and practice. We're interested in the potential transformation of our neoliberal daily lives, and the role art and culture could play in this endeavour,'' writes the official website of the Subversive Film Festival.

The festival began back in 2008, marking the 40th anniversary of 1968 global protests, and since then, it has evolved into one of the most important progressive festivals in the region. The festival is split into two sections: The Subversive Film Festival and the Subversive Forum.

The film part showcases movies that deal with topics of social injustice, social change, women's and minority rights, LGBTQ+, student and workers' issues and movements, as well as post-colonial heritage. The screenings also have a competitive nature due to the ''Wild Dreamer'' Award for the best feature, documentary, and short film categories.

The Subversive Forum portion of the festival holds conferences that present ''tools for the deconstruction of the offered normalised story about the world'', as well as the articulation of a possible alternative reality and its foundation.

Noted international movie directors, philosophers, social scientists, and activists such as Oliver Stone, Toni Negri, Slavoj Žižek, Michael Hardt, and many others have attended and participated in the Zagreb Subversive Festival over the years.

The 14th edition has a central topic, ''A Post-COVID Democracy: The Ethics of Fight and Solidarity Poetics'' and thirty movie titles are confirmed for the programme, which will be filled with exhibitions, lectures, and discussions that will stretch throughout the month of October.

Learn more about Zagreb in our TC guide

For more about culture in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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