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Everything is more fun in the Balkans: Technology, Civic Discourse, and Open Data

Samuel Lee's picture



Usually with a playful smile, it is often said that everything is more fun in the Balkans. History is alive. The region’s dynamic future is still being written and its inhabitants are as interesting and diverse as the intertwined architecture of different styles and cultures.

I had the privilege of delivering a closing keynote sharing early results of an Open Data Demand pilot project (currently open for consultation!) and the World Bank Group’s Open Finances experience at the Community Boost_r TechCamp held in Sarajevo from November 7-8. It was also a great opportunity to get a firsthand taste of what the civic tech scene is like across the Balkans.

The city of Sarajevo played perfect host to this hybrid conference and unconference exploring the role of data, including data for accountability and better coupling of data with technology. There was no shortage of innovation and inspiration among the thriving community of activists, development professionals, technologists, journalists, and do-gooders from every corner of the Balkans brought together by Fundacja TechSoup and Zašto ne (Bosnia & Herzegovina) in partnership with Dokukino (Serbia), and the IPKO Foundation (Kosovo).