IEEE In Former Yugoslavia

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IEEE Yugoslav Section

IEEE has been present in former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY), by individual membership since beginning of 60s. In 1971 a critical number of members have been reached and petition has been submitted to form a section. It was finally approved on June 21, 1971 and the section was formed in Ljubljana and named IEEE Yugoslav Section. Most of the members were from main university centers, Ljubljana (now in Slovenia), Zagreb (now in Croatia) and Belgrade (now in Serbia). The first chair was Mirjan Gruden (1910-2001) professor at the University of Ljubljana. At that time activities were mainly focus on organization of the meetings and some conferences. The main goals of membership were to get access to the most recent journals and other publications and conference proceedings. As it is today, the financial problems were emphasized. Toni Davis in his history of the IEEE Region 8 Committee rerecalls: “Because of a ‘blocked currency’ situation, USA, but an arrangement was made to keep the funds in Yugoslavia where they could be utilized for organization of local IEEE conferences and also could be used to pay the local costs of conference attendance there by visitors from Western countries, who could then reimburse IEEE in USA.”.[1] However, despite this hurdles the activities in the section were flourishing. Several society chapters were formed, like SP01/CAS04 Chapter in 1988, MTT17 in 1989, COM19 in 1989 and ED15/SSC37 Chapter in 1990. Some of nowadays well known conferences have been established in the section, while some IEEE R8 conferences were hosted, like IEEE MELECON Conference on May 1991 in Ljubljana (now Slovenia).

Friendly splitting of IEEE Yugoslav Section

The turmoil in SFRY and separation of Slovenia and Croatia in 1991 has put in question existence of IEEE Yugoslav Section.

In 1992 the Regional Director Prof. Kurt Richter invited the Chair of the IEEE Yugoslav Section Prof. Baldomir Zajc from Ljubljana and the two members of the Section Committee, Prof. Djordje (George) Paunovic from Belgrade and Prof. Aleksandar Szabo from Zagreb to Graz, Austria. The unanimous conclusion of that meeting in Graz was that the IEEE Yugoslav Section cannot practically exist anymore, and that new sections in new countries having enough members should be established.

So in Slovenia, Croatia and the remainder of Yugoslavia new petitions have been signed by members, and on 1st August 1992 new Sections, the successors of the former Yugoslav Section, have been established: the IEEE Slovenia Section, the IEEE Croatia Section and the IEEE Yugoslavia Section. IEEE recognized all the years the three Sections spent together in the former IEEE Yugoslav Section as years of our existence as well. So in Helsinki at the IEEE Region 8 Committee Meeting in 1996 all three sections received the banner for the 25 years anniversary of existence.

The first chair of the IEEE Yugoslavia Section, which covered the remaining territory of former SFRY (Bosnia & Herzegovina, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro) was Prof. George Paunović from the University of Belgrade.

Birth of New Sections

Unfortunate events and fragmentation of SFRY Yugoslavia continued so it was impossible to organize IEEE member activities on the remaining territory. New independent countries emerged from SFRY in 1991 and 1992, beside Slovenia and Croatia, were looking for their recognition in IEEE community as well. In 1997 on the 14th February colleagues from Skopje managed to gather the membership and establish the IEEE section in Macedonia under name the IEEE Republic of Macedonia Section. The first section chair was Prof. Goce Arsov form SS Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje.

In 2005, on November 12, members from Bosnia and Herzegovina got approved their petition to form the IEEE Bosnia and Herzegovina Section in Sarajevo. The first chair was Prof. Branislava Peruničić-Draženović from University of Sarajevo.

At the same time the name of the section became obsolete and was replaced with IEEE Serbia and Montenegro Section, which covered the territory of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro. After secession of the Montenegro in May 2006, the section remains to work under the same name, but gathering members from two independent states: Republic of Serbia and Republic of Montenegro. The chair of the section from 2002 - 2006 was Prof. Ninoslav Stojadinović from University of Niš. He was followed by Prof. Vladimir Katić from University of Novi Sad, who was re-elected in 2008 (2006-2008-2010).

Ex-Yugoslav sections today

Today, in 2009, from initial IEEE Yugoslav Section, five sections were formed: IEEE Bosnia and Herzegovina Section, IEEE Croatia Section, IEEE Republic of Macedonia Section, IEEE Slovenia Section and IEEE Serbia and Montenegro Section. Table 1 gives short overview of the sections history.

These sections have very live activities with numerous meetings, conferences, lectures, professional, technical, social and other events. The overview of the ex-Yugoslav sections is given in Table 2. According to SAMIEEE database in 2008, they gathered in total 1785 members in all grades.[2] Nowadays, they represent important part of IEEE community and are much emphasized, especially in IEEE Region 8.

The most important thing is that these sections communicate very frequently and collaborate in many events on regional and international levels. The mutual support and help is also characteristic of their relation, leading to constant membership growth and further development for the benefit of their members.

Short history of IEEE in former Yugoslavia

Date Event
21st June 1971 Foundation date of the IEEE Yugoslav Section. At that time IEEE Yugoslav Section covered the territory of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY).
1st August 1992 Friendly splitting of the IEEE Yugoslav Section into three different sections: IEEE Croatia Section, IEEE Slovenia Section and IEEE Yugoslavia Section. After that date the IEEE Yugoslavia Section gathered members from the territories of the three independent states: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Macedonia and FR Yugoslavia (Serbia & Montenegro)
14th February 1997 Formation of the IEEE Republic of Macedonia Section. After that date IEEE Yugoslavia Section gathered members from the territories of the two states: Bosnia & Herzegovina and FR Yugoslavia (Serbia & Montenegro)
18th June 2005 IEEE Yugoslavia Section changed the name into the IEEE Serbia & Montenegro Section, as the state union Serbia and Montenegro has been formed in 2003, replacing FR Yugoslavia
12th November 2005 Foundation of the IEEE Bosnia and Herzegovina Section. From that date membership of the IEEE Serbia & Montenegro Section came from the territory of the state union Serbia and Montenegro, only.
21st May 2006 Since that day IEEE Serbia & Montenegro Section gathered members from the territories of the two independent states, Republic of Serbia and Republic of Montenegro.

Overview of ex-Yugoslav sections

IEEE Section name No. of members (2008) No. of chapters + affinity groups No. of meetings (2008)
Bosnia and Herzegovina 178 4 + 1 19
Croatia 645 18 + 2 53
Rep. of Macedonia 118 7 + 1 34
Serbia and Montenegro 566 9 + 1 96
Slovenia 278 5 + 0 23