Serbian Rule of Law Project – Day 9

The first order of business this morning was to go to the proposed new campus of the Belgrade Business Law School. Their current building is quite nice, however the relationship between the Law Faculty and the other three faculties they share their current building with has deteriorated over the past year, to the point that the Law Faculty wants to move to a different building. They plan on moving at least the 1st through 3rd year students to the new location (and possibly the graduated students as well) for classes starting in October. They will need to do renovations to the new buildings quickly if they are to be ready for classes in October. The new complex consists of a very large 90 year old house, and indoor, outdoor sports complex with attached offices, and a third smaller building that I did not tour. They have plans to add a fourth building to the property to add classroom and office space, but a additional building is probably two years or more away. In the mean time, I’m not sure if the current facility is large enough to handle 1000 students. I did not see inside all three buildings, but it will be a tight squeeze at the very least.

I did see the training facility they have in the office area (which will be a computer lab). The room has space for between 18 and 22 computers. This room is what the company currently occupying the buildings (an IBM business parter) is using for computer courses. They already have fairly high speed internet for the business in the building. The area for the library is not huge, but it is larger than the current Business Law Library space. There office for the librarian set aside. They have additional space near the library where they plan to place computers for the students to use. Their goal is to have 100 computers for student access, giving them a 1/10 ratio of computers to students. It will be interesting to see what happens over the next month and a half to see if they can pull this move off.

Baskeball with the Mormon missionariesAfter the site visit Vlad an I returned to the NCSC office and I wrote up my notes from the visit and then went to get a quick hair cut (my hair has been taking too long to dry in the mornings). Tanya was very helpful in taking me to the little salon a half block away, and making sure that I could communicate with the young lady cutting my hair. Thankfully the hair turned out just fine. I went back to the office and did a bit more report writing, and then at 12:30 left for a lunch time basketball game with the Mormon missionaries I went to church with on Sunday. Most of them are American, but a couple of young Serbian guys came to play as well. We had three or four quick games of half court 3 on 3 basketball. It was a lot of fun. I really like the Serbian style of half court basketball (you don’t have to take the ball to the top of the key after a defencive rebound… you can shoot right away). It makes for a much quicker, or higher scoring games. Who really likes to play defence anyway; it is much funner scoring points.

Eastern Orthadox Temple in BelgradeAfter more report writing in the afternoon I started to walk back to the hotel around 7pm. As I walked through the park around the large Eastern Orthodox temple near our offices (St. Sava I think – right beside the Serbian National Library), I decided to try to take a look inside (it is still under construction). The picture to the side is taken from my office window. No one stopped me when I went through the front door, so I went in further. The place is incredibly HUGE inside (note the size of the back hoe below the front door in the picture). The outside of the building has been finished, but the inside is only between five and ten percent completed. I have never been inside St. Peter’s in Rome, but I imagine that the dome is probably about the same size and height as the St. Sava dome. It will be an amazing place when it is completed. The interior space give the architect a huge canvas to work with. Given its’ size, who knows how long it will take to finish. The temple is situated on the site where a Turkish Visier is said to have burned the remains of St. Sava (the patron saint of Serbia) in order to punish the people of Serbia for a recent rebellion. I think that the Visier would be in awe of what has been built on that site.

I continued on my way to the hotel, but ended up stopping about half way there because of a torrential down pour. I had an umbrella, but I was getting soaked by the wind blown rain, and the water splashing up at me. I was fortunate enough to share a shop awning with two men roughly my age from eastern Serbia. They were in town working on a construction project because there is so little work in their little home town. I mentioned to them that I was going to Novi Pozar the next day, and they told me that I had to purcahse some jeans while I am there. Apparently there is a fair bit of textile manufacturing that goes on in Novi Pozar. We’ll see what I find when I get there.

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