shacks up in Dubrovnik this September for its 6th summer university

Article published on Aug. 30, 2011
Article published on Aug. 30, 2011
Sarajevo, Podgorica, Belgrade, Pristina, Zagreb, Istanbul, Tirana and Skopje. Between 1 – 4 September,’s sixth ‘Babel Ackademy’ (yes, it's spelt like that on purpose...) sees 35 journalists, photographers and ‘local city teams’ come together from all over Europe to bid goodbye to Orient Express Reporter, one of two editorial missions that cafebabel.
com has been running in the Balkans and Turkey between 2010-2011. We’re heading back to Croatia with a select team of invited journalists, local team members, photographers and videomakers for this, as well as some special Balkan guests for a small debate.

Babel Ackademy Official logo designed by © Cedric Audinot

So what did we do during Orient Express Reporter?

International reports by an editor from HQ in Paris and four volunteer members of the network were published live from the cities in a special edition each month, whilst on a local community level, a series of debates were held by local teams in eight cities parallel to these activities. They were as diverse and new to our European magazine as Skopje, Sarajevo, Podgorica and Tirana. It was also the chance to visit old friends such as Pristina and Istanbul again.

So what do we have to say?

Thankyou, hvala and faleminderet to everyone for taking an interest, for participating, for writing, for interviewing, for fixing interviews, for welcoming, for hosting, for taking pictures, making videos, giving out tips, setting up connections, for reading, eating and drinking with and being published with us. The various teams of European-Balkan journalists heading to a different city each month could not have made it without the local hands who made themselves available out of the passion of the project. Those ‘local’ teams of volunteers in particular who went as far as organising debates – we’ll out them as being Strasbourg (France), Athens, Vienna, Budapest and Sofia - these Orient Express Reporter debate touched some 500 participants together alone.

belgrade We also celebrated the launch of two blogs from Belgrade (pictured above) and Sarajevo.

ovid Above, our Romanian project manager, Ovidiu Tataru, for Orient Express Reporter and Green Europe on the Ground - both of the yearly editorial missions that ran between 2010-2011 - as he looked at the first Babel Ackademy in 2010 kicking off the projects... ©'s curator for 2011, Anne-Lore Mesnage

Never mind the photo expo

A first thanks to the Orient Express reporter project was also the chance to preview six of the eight photographers who travelled with the teams on each city mission, and exhibit their work at an extraordinary exposition held in Paris in May 2011.

invite Image by Ezequiel Scagnetti for in Pristina/ invite design by © Cedric Audinot

We thank the French photographer and babelian Anne-Lore Mesnage for her job curating the exhibition for no fee, and project editor-in-chief Nabeelah Shabbir for the recruitment and editorial vision of the mission. It’s finally time to finish up in the Balkans – for 2011 at least, we hope – with some debrief over some Croatian raki, cevapi and juice in Dubrovnik this September.

See you there - and please, be our guest, and read the entire collection of our eight city special editions here, and read's summer 'best of' selection here

Watch the video from the first Orient Express reporter project