THE BALKAN WRITERS PROJECT
The Balkan Writers Project is a regional EFL organization founded and directed by Nathan William Meyer to promote English through creative arts, provide in-class training for new and future EL teachers, and post conflict peacebuilding through cross-border artistic exchanges between young literary artists in former Yugoslavia. At its core the Balkan Writers Project is a team of talented young writers, teaching enthusiasts, and citizen diplomats dedicated to fostering global mindedness and multicultural awareness through the English language; they are committed to making a difference. Learn more about the Balkan Writers Project
On December 20, 2015 Belgrade held its first city-wide poetography event developed and organized by the Balkan Writers Project. Poetography is a modern visual-literary art form that merges poetry and photography to further enhance the artistic impact of both arts. This city-wide project connected 105 writers and 50 local photographers through social media to collaborate on an artistic endeavor to jointly tell stories of this amazing city through words and images. Belgrade Poetography brought together native Belgradians, people coming from towns and cities around Serbia, other countries across the region, and even other continents. Locals, Serbs, emigres, and expats all devoting their boundless creativity to two fundamental things they have in common: the English language and the city of Belgrade.
THE WHITE CITY WORDSMITHS
The White City Wordsmiths is a creative writing workshop comprised of young, talented Serbian writers dedicated to expressing themselves artistically, crafting meaningful stories, and improving their writing and speaking skills in English. For each meeting original pieces of creative writing (poetry, fiction, and nonfiction) are submitted and read before the twice-monthly meetings where group members give supportive comments on each other’s works in the spirit of collaboration and constructive feedback. Meeting throughout the academic year workshop will polish, compile, and edit their works by fellow members, published as both a print and ebook, and hold a hold a public reading event.
CROSS-BORDER ARTISTIC EXCHANGE - PRISTINA, KOSOVO
In May of 2015 five students from the University of Belgrade, Serbia traveled to Kosovo for an exchange program with twenty students from the University of Pristina, Kosovo. The program was an exchange for writers to share their work and learn about each other’s writing. The weekend began with a tour of Pristina and two nearby locations with ten of the students, five from each location. They learned about the history of both the Albanian and the Serbian communities in Kosovo. Following the tour, students participated in a joint reading of their writing at Kosovo’s annual ESL teacher conference. After the joint reading there was a 'Writers Dinner' to celebrate their accomplishments and participate in 'flash-writing' activities. This highly successful exchange underlined the importance of bringing young people together from across the region to collaborate and begin a new, positive conversation for a new generation.
'SMALL TOWN STORIES’ CREATIVE WRITING COURSE FOR ELT
'Small Town Stories’ Creative Writing Course for ELT is a five week blended learning professional development course developed jointly by English language fellow Nathan William Meyer and ELTA president Olja Milosevic. Primarily taught online, participants engage in weekly exercises which provided instruction and practice in key creative writing skills (indirect characterization, flash fiction, dialogue, and world building), post their original works in the virtual classroom, and receive constructive feedback from the EL fellow course instructor and course participants. At the same time, course participants use what they learn from the guided creative writing exercises to construct lesson plans which can be implemented in their EFL classes. This course culminates in a face-to-face weekend session where course participants workshop their original short stories in roundtable sessions led by EL Fellow Nathan William Meyer and participate in pedagogical and curriculum building activities led by ELTA president Olja Milosevic.
S.W.E.E.P. -SPEECH WRITING FOR EMBASSY EMPLOYEES & PARTNERS
SWEEP is a training course developed and delivered by Nathan William Meyer to comprehensively address key problems and improve the speechwriting skills for diplomatic and NGO speechwriters. SWEEP is comprised of face-to-face interactive training sessions and workshops of up to 20 participants. All participants receive an accompanying 40 page booklet covering effective writing techniques, style tips, detailed descriptions of 9 different speech types, and quick reference templates for rapid speech production. SWEEP was developed as a replicable program and can be tailored to a variety of different audiences and venues.
CROSS-BORDER ARTISTIC EXCHANGE - BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA
On March 17, 2016 EL Fellow Nathan William Meyer and seven members of the Balkan Writers Project (BWP) traveled to Bosnia and Herzegovina to lead three days of intercultural exchange activities. These events promoted English through creative projects and citizen diplomacy by collaborating with young English students from Bosnia and Kosovo. BWP members presented their projects at the 4th annual student symposium at International Burch University in Sarajevo and the following day held a public event and joint round-table reading with writers from Kosovo. In Mostar they led a flash fiction writing workshop for aspiring Bosnian writers. This highly successful exchange spanned cultural, national, and religious divides to continue the positive cross-border dialogue and collaboration mission of the BWP to use English and the literary arts to build peace and understanding between young people in post-conflict environments.
BALKAN TEACH - IN-CLASS TRAINING FOR NEW & FUTURE TEACHERS
Balkan Teach is an EFL teacher training initiative of the Balkan Writers Project (directed by EL Fellow Nathan William Meyer). The aim of Balkan Teach is to give new and future EL teachers valuable real life teaching experience by designing lesson plans, placing them in classrooms, giving constructive feedback, and networking with seasoned professionals in their field.