The power of engagement and building bridges with Balkan Diaspora

Munich, Berlin – Head of RYCO Local Branch Office in Montenegro, Mr. Edin Koljenović and Program Officer, Ms. Bojana Lalatović, took part in the Symposium entitled “Are our hands tied” within the Munich Balkan Days 2023, gathering experts from politics, business, science, and art. The Symposium was held on the 24th of June in Munich, Germany.

The Symposium kicked off with a panel discussion that included Dr Bernd Posselt, President of the Pan-Europa Union Germany, Dr Aleksandra Salamurović, Project Coordinator at the University of Regensburg, Sadija Klepo, Founder of “Hilfe von Mensch zu Mensch” and Director of Balkan Tage. Ms. Klepo has received several awards for her commitment including the Federal Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany on ribbon. The session focused on why Balkan immigrants choose Germany, their everyday lives, and their current representation of interests. The discussion also delved into the possibilities of engaging in politics outside of institutional frameworks and whether associations, informal groups, and cultural organizations can replace institutionalized political engagement.

During the second panel discussion, participants explored the political and economic potential of the Balkan diaspora and discussed ways to increase their engagement. The session was moderated by Dragan Šljivić and included panelists from various organizations, Ms. Bojana Lalatović, Regional Youth Cooperation Office, Ms. Azra Berbić, Foundation Atelier for Social Change – ACT, Mr. Aleksandar Tošić, Member of the Executive and Main Committee of the People’s Party, Serbia. Ms. Lalatovic gave her insights on how youth policy and youth cooperation can contribute to combating negative trends of brain drain in the Western Balkans and turn it into brain circulation, which would be highly desirable and beneficial scenario for the Western Balkan societies.

The closing discussion of the Symposiums tackled topic of political participation of the Balkan diaspora, examining the gap between ideals and realities. The panel included Mr. Edin Koljenović, Regional Youth Cooperation Office, Ms. Aida Hadžić, Political Consultant, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Lukas Mandl, Member of the European Parliament, Austria, Ms. Lendita Musliu, Spokesperson for the Working Group on Migration and Refugees and Spokesperson for the Working Group on Antifascism of the Greens Munich. In his speech, Mr. Koljenovic highlighted the possibilities and impact of stronger engagement of diaspora members and the mutual benefits of strengthening their ties with the Western Balkans region.



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