Universities and Socio-cultural Institutions in Highly Uncertain Contexts: Challenges and Opportunities during COVID-19 in three Western Balkan Countries
Annual Review of Territorial Governance in the Western Balkans, II, 2020, 61-72 Journal
Ledio Allkja, Esmerina Hidri
The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has posed serious challenges to the territorial governance of social services across the globe, as well as in the Western Balkans (WB). SARS-CoV-2, being a virus that primarily attacks the respiratory system and spreads through breathing or close contact has required governments to apply strong policies of physical distancing. Schools, libraries, museums, and other socio-cultural services closed and are now gradually re-opening. Because of the distancing policies, several initiatives were taken to quickly shift these services online. These initiatives, though temporary as a result of the crisis, may pose interesting prospects for future policies in terms of increasing the resilience of these services as well as institutionalizing new ways, norms, and practices of doing things.
This paper investigates the different policies and practices that were applied in WB countries in the university and cultural sector through a desk study. The cases presented are based on official documents, websites, and social media profiles of the representative institutions in Albania, Kosovo, and North Macedonia.