It is our pleasure to introduce to you the latest issue of Point of Reference. After six successful years of publication, experience has shown us that it is more efficient to publish a single, longer issue every academic year.

This year we have chosen to feature cultural syncretism among the peoples of Southeastern Europe as the central theme of the 1997-98 Point of Reference. As members of an academic community, we feel that we should move beyond the boundaries of ethnocentrism and propagate the unifying elements of our common heritage.

We wish to thank our patrons for their continuos support. We also wish to welcome in our circle of patrons the newly founded Kokkalis Program at the JFK School of Government. This program funds scholarships for residents of Southeastern and East-Central Europe and supports conferences, lectures and publications analyzing the conditions for the development of "networks of peace" in the Balkans.

We thank you for your encouraging feedback throughout the last six years and we invite your responses to any of the diverse viewpoints expressed in this issue. Enjoy your voyage through the pages of Point of Reference!