Apart from welcoming Hannes Swoboda as our new Chair, we would like to pay our respects to our outgoing Chairman, Erhard Busek, who has steered the CDRSEE for ten years. These ten years in the 18 year-old history of the CDRSEE have indeed been most fruitful and successful. As a civil society organisation, we went from adolescence into adulthood and established ourselves as a highly respected and relevant NGO in Southeast Europe, especially in Education and the Media fields.
They say that failure always has one parent, while success has many. These last years have been extremely successful for the CDRSEE and parents are aplenty – several generations of our project coordinators, our project partners, the state institutions we cooperate with. And, neither last nor least, our Board of Directors which has created the strategies and formulated our policies and activity fields. At the Center, we often compare ourselves to a ship’s crew which takes care of both the boat and cargo and ensures that it arrives safely into the designated harbour. We have always seen the Board of Directors as the owner of that ship managing the cargo and determining the destination. Luckily for the crew, the owners have always been an amazing group of people coming from different fields of life but with a common goal – to make Southeast Europe a better place for its citizens. On our Board we have had US Congressmen and Turkish doctors; Croatian political philosophers and Kosovar human rights activists; Greek businessmen and women and Dutch bankers. The human capital assembled in the CDRSEE Board has always been and is today an immense and a treasured pool of knowledge and experience from which we draw from. In such a pool, it is always difficult to single someone out, however Dr Erhard Busek does stand tall in that distinguished group.
So, what makes Erhard Busek so special? A former colleague of ours who worked closely with Dr Busek says it is his style of leadership: “A good leader makes sure that everyone feels included and taken care of. A great leader actually does care. A good leader is precise when telling you what needs to be done. A great leader inspires you to figure out what to do. A good leader does his/her job well and makes sure you do the same. A great leader creates an atmosphere in which everyone wants to give their best. A good leader offers and asks for respect. A great leader makes you want to earn and give that respect. Erhard Busek is a great leader.”
And there’s more... He was famous for working breakfasts at 7 am, occasionally his generous consent to have it at 7.30. Needless to say, coming from the Balkans, we had an issue with time, but we loved the opportunity for the challenging intellectual exchange which was always there. Erhard Busek also has that rare capacity to examine details but never to forget the big picture. To grasp the complexities of the Balkans and empathise with our sorrows, sins and pains. To work tirelessly for a better life in our region no matter what his current office was. For that, it is not just the CDRSEE which owes him a debt of gratitude, but the entire Balkan peninsular. And let us end a list which could go on and on by adding that he was kind, generous and great fun to work with. For all of this - and so much more - thank you Dr Busek.