RC32 has just held a very successful conference on ‘Developing policy in different cultural contexts’ in Dubrovnik, Croatia. This was held in the University of Zagreb’s Centre for Advanced Academic Studies on the edge of the Old City (see photo), and was well attended by scholars both from the ‘transitional polities’ of the western Balkans (the former Yugoslavia), and from further afield. The conference brought together a number of scholarly and professional perspectives, and was co-sponsored by RC5 (local government), the Research Committee on Public Policy and Governance of the Russian Political Science Association, the Croatian Political Science Association, and the Croatian Institute of Public Administration.

The topics discussed ranged from analytical constructs to empirical reports, and from the local through the national to the European scale. There was particular interest in policy as a field of specialized activity, with ‘policy analysts’ emerging as a professional group, while at the same time, non-government groups are being drawn into the policy process, raising questions about what impact this official recognition might have on their character and mode of operation.

Many of the papers focused on the ‘modernisation’ of the governmental process in the western Balkans, and the impact of external models on this process – the norms of the OECD, the expectations of aid donors, and most of all, the specific requirements of the EU for candidate countries: the acquis communitaire.

More detail is available on the conference website http://www.politologija.hr/hr.konferencije.php?id=34&konf=3