For more than a decade, the Balkans have been a centre of crisis - armed conflicts have brought death, expulsion, destruction and untold suffering to the people. The postwar efforts of the West have failed to bring lasting stability and real progress so far. The Symposium at Basel University was an interdisciplinary event where complex issues were elucidated by historians, geographers, sociologists and political scientists. The event enabled East and West European scholars and their American counterparts to exchange their somewhat divergent views. The speakers covered a broad range of subjects: historical causes, aspects of postwar economic and social development as well as sociocultural consequences of the democratization process. Special attention was devoted to the situation of minorities, the refugee problem and the security situation in the fragile states of the West Balkans and also to the responsibility of the EU and USA for the general stagnation in the area. The Symposium was intended to illustrate differing interpretations of the events of the past ten years and to encourage discussion between speakers and participants at the event.