A Unified Voice of the Western Balkans Youth: Tirana

The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung organized a three-and-a-half-day seminar from 29 November until 2 December 2018 for representatives of national youth congresses with the aim to create a unified voice of youth representation in the Western Balkans by interconnecting youth structures and work on a common agenda that would address the most urgent problems faced by youth in the region.

The youth of the Western Balkans six countries is organized through numerous youth organizations and bodies such as youth congresses on the national level. However, when it comes to the whole region, no such body representing youth and their issues exists. Motivated by own empirical findings, the FES strives to facilitate a series of seminars which may lead to the establishment of a youth body to represent members of youth organizations or national umbrella organizations from each Western Balkan Six country.

In this first meeting, the participants presented papers giving insights on the state of youth in each respective country. The ensuing discussions focused on the lack of perspectives and social detachment of young people, their culture of engagement and participation, the state of educational sectors as well as the level of inclusion of youth in regional cooperation.

In the course of the seminar, the participants also had the chance to meet and engage in discussions with the RYCO General Secretary, Mr Đuro Blanusa, about the role and work of RYCO and possible fields of future cooperation. Further meetings were organized between participants and experts on regional policy in order to assess how regional youth policies might fit in the larger context of regional political cooperation.

In preparation of additional meetings scheduled in 2019, participants organized themselves in working groups in order to draft ideas for a statute, a governance structure as well as a joint declaration of principles.

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