Serbian Rule of Law Project – Day 5

Sunflower field on the way to Novi Sad.Today Mija’s brother, Mirko picked me up outside the hotel, along with Vlad. We then stopped by Ines’ apartment, and then set off for Novi Sad. Mija had the day off to take care of some family business, so his older brother Mirko was filling in for him. Novi Sad is about one hour north of Belgrade. The farm land that we travelled through was beautiful. The land is quite flat, almost like southern Alberta, except that things are not nearly as dry here; all the crops and grass along the side of the road were green. It appears that the main crops in this area are corn, sunflower and a little bit of wheat. It took us about an hour and a half driving northward to arrive in Novi Sad.

When we arrived at the Faculty of Law in Novi Sad, the campus was packed. Apparently this weekend there is a big music festival, and people have been pouring into the campus area all day, setting up tents and filling parking spaces. Mirko could not come in to the law building with us Meeting with the Dean of the Novi Sad Law he spent about 20 minutes looking for a parking space. Unlike all the other Facultys I have visited here in Serbia, the Novi Sad Faculty is situated on a campus similar to what you typically find in Canada and the US. Rather than a building in a down town like area, the Novi Sad campus has large open, grassy spaces between their buildings. After entering the building, we went strait to the Dean’s office where she warmly greeted us, and insisted that I try some of their famous Novi Sad tomato juice (which turned out to be very good). She told me a bit about the history of the Law faculty, and then answered some of the questions I had about administrative issues, such as paying for printing, and determining if they would be able to install the electrical and network wiring for the computers we would donate (which they indicated they could do). The Dean also had some questions about books on family law that Ines said she would follow up up with her on. Next we walked to the library where the head Librarian, and Systems Administrator joined The Reading Room at the Novi Sad Law We looked at the reading room where they proposed that the computers should be located. The room is large and bright, with a mezzanine, and expansive windows helping to light the room. The building is constructed of cement, but there are a number of columns where the data and electrical wires could be surface mounted in a relatively inconspicuous fashion (they have done this in one corner of the reading room already where they have 3 old public access terminals).

Next we went upstairs where they have a computer lab of 10 computers, including one workstation for an lab tutor to monitor the use of the computers. These computers had just been recently upgraded to Windows XP Pro, with 2.2Ghz processors and 256 MB of RAM. The Law Faculty has about 3000 students, and they have a grand total of 13 computers for the students to use. And just like all the other law schools, the students cannot browse the stacks for books. They must make a written request to a librarian, and then he or she will look for the book. If they are busy, the have to come back the next day to pickup the book.

The 10 computer Law at Novi Sad.After visiting the lab we said good-bye to our hosts and drove to the down town area to get a snack before head back to Beograd. The new word I learnt today was “good” or “Dobra” in Serbian. The English words for the day (I’m helping Vlad with his already excellent English) were “Eclectic” and “Ecumenical”. We were discussing the use of Linux and Windows by the Novi Sad systems administrator, and both those words seemed appropriate in the conversation. I’ll test him in the morning to see if he remembers them (he probably will).

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