The diplomatic language used in the region continues to have great significance as a result of the Serbian-Albanian ethnic divide.
The serious approach required towards cultural sensitivity was tragically demonstrated in 1999 when United Nations official Valentin S. Krumov was shot dead in one of the main streets of Prishtina after responding in Serbo-Croatian to a question asked by a group of teenagers. It is likely that he was assumed to be a Serb and therefore targeted.
Disputes have occurred over the names of places, with duplicate Albanian and Serbian spellings still in use. Whilst the name ‘Kosovo’ is used in the English form, and is usually considered to be the ‘English’ spelling of the region, it is also the Serbian noun used to describe the Eastern area. The official Albanian title of the state, unrecognised by Serbia, is ‘The Republic of Kosova’. This spelling has been retained in the article, as it acknowledges Kosova’s independence.
The European Youth Parliament Kosova Initiative uses this spelling, as the session has been organised in, and represents, the region. However, the EYP is an impartial organisation open to young people of all ethnic diversities, and therefore has a role to play in encouraging young people from Serbia and Kosova to bridge the cultural and linguistic divides.