American Centre in Niš
How it all began…
It has been two years since the American Center in Niš
opened on 14th February 2003. The project was an initiative of the
Public Affairs Office of the U.S. Embassy which, together with
The Niš City Hall and the Niš National Library ‘Stevan Sremac’,
opened it, thus introducing a new kind of library. This was the first
such project in Serbia and Montenegro, and later, centres in
Belgrade, Podgorica and Novi Sad were also opened. Actually, the
centre through its activities wants to make people more aware of the American cultural heritage as
well as to bring together our two cultures. Some of the aims are raising the global cultural awareness,
and reinforcing the intercultural exchange and friendship between the peoples. The American Corner,
as the centre is also known, is an unconventional library as it is open to everybody, and functions like
a ‘self-service’ library.
The centre has a wide range of activities that are primarily oriented to culture and history.
Some of the regular activities are paper shows which are put up to mark important historical dates and
people. Another regular activity is book presentation: every two weeks a different book is displayed
and introduced through articles and clippings.
What’s there for teachers?
The Corner is primarily for more advanced student of English, and if you are a secondary
school teacher, this is the place to find lot of authentic material to cater for different tastes. There are
different kinds of magazines (Rolling Stone, Arts in America, Vogue, Sports Illustrated, Architecture
Design, National Geographic…). The Corner receives one daily Herald Tribune, so you can really
use everything from the Snoopy and Garfield cartoons, over weather forecasts to reviews and
commentaries. There is also an extensive collection of American classics (from Emerson and Thoreau
to T. Williams and Faulkner) as well as modern writers – here you can find Da Vinci’s Code in
As the Corner has a number of titles on politics, economy, copy rights, and law – this may
serve as additional material for business classes. Also, those interested in TOEFL examination will
find here the necessary literature, together with CDs and cassettes.
Even more importantly, the Corner has made a point of
organising lectures and presentations on different topics and so far
there have been more than 15 visiting professors/ lecturers. Right
now - almost every two weeks, the American Corner hosts the
professor Phillip Buckley, a visiting professor at the Faculty of Law
in Niš. He has already given six lectures followed by discussions,
on a range of topics- from the voting system to African American
History. Participation in the discussions can be highly useful for
student and perhaps even be part of their extra-curricular activities.
And that’s not all…
There are video showings of American classic feature movies as well as documentaries with
voiceovers of famous Hollywood actors such as Bred Pitt for example. If you are in favour of Writing
Across the Curriculum, just send your students on a research mission into the American Corner, and
assign topics as diverse as biology, indigenous people or the latest hi-tech inventions – this is the place
where they will be able to collect data, use the Encyclopaedia Americana, Internet resources, type and
print out their work.
What else is there?
Internet-access free of charge (30 minutes per person)
Photocopying and printing (really popular prices)
Free access to Encarta on-line
Collection of music CDs that you can listen to in the
Information on history, culture, language and education
opportunities, etc. in the USA
Presentations, workshops and discussions by distinguished
American Fulbright Scholars, Fellows, Embassy staff and
many other prominent Americans
Exam preparation kit: TOEFL, GRE, GMAT, LSAT
Video showings of documentaries: American Passages, Biography of America, Framework
for Democracy, American Cinema, America's National Parks, America's Scenic Rail
For everything else you can contact very friendly and efficient staff (Mila Trajković, Biljana
Ignjatović and Biljana Dodić) at: 20 Obrenovića St. Niš
Phone/fax: +381 18 524 583
Lector at the English Department
Faculty of Philosophy, Niš