BELGRADE – Students and teachers of high schools “Tehnoart Beograd” and “Hamdi Bushati” from Shkodër organized a fashion show in the RTS Club gallery on Friday, September 29, with the aim to promote cultural heritage of Serbia and Albania through various clothing items. The fashion show was organized as the final event of the exchange “Fashion Reconnection”, which these two schools implemented as part of the regional program “Superschools”.
“Tehnoart Beograd” school for mechanical engineering and artistic crafts is one of 27 schools from Serbia that participate in the second cycle of the “Superschools” program, and with a partner school from Shkodër, it organized two youth exchanges, in Shkodër and Belgrade. During the exchanges, the students had the opportunity to experience the cultural heritage of the two local communities, learn about the similarities and differences of Serbian and Albanian culture, as well as non-violent ways of conflict resolution. In addition, the students designed and prepared clothing items with traditional cultural motifs of Serbia and Albania, which were presented at a fashion show.
The fashion show was officially opened by Ms. Plamena Halacheva, Deputy Head of Delegation of the European Union to Serbia, Mr. Miguel Waltereit, First Secretary at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany to Serbia, Ms. Ivana Antonijević, Assistant Minister of Tourism and Youth of the Government of Serbia, as well as Ms. Mina Zirojević, Assistant Minister of Education of the Government of Serbia representative of the Ministry of Education of the Government Serbia.
Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia, Ms. Plamena Halacheva, emphasized that efforts to build bridges of professional and cultural curiosity and cooperation are in the very foundations of the Superschools programme, thanks to which we have the opportunity to host young people from the region and in turn, be their guests, to find what we have in common rather than what may divide us – to bring youth of the region closer together.
“I am glad to learn that both teachers and students have benefited professionally and personally from this partnership, because EU support for youth extends over many aspects of life, accounting for many challenges that the youth are facing as one of the most vulnerable populations both in Europe and in the Western Balkans region. The EU is fully supporting initiatives which encourage the spirit of reconciliation and cooperation among the youth in the region, and we will continue to support youth in promoting their ideas and shaping their future”.
Mr. Miguel Waltereit, First Secretary at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Serbia, emphasized the support of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany to education systems in the region, especially for strengthening capabilities of teaching staff and students.
“On the other hand, we are convinced that intercultural understanding and dialogue lead to reconciliation and peace. We know it, because we learnt it the hard way from our own eventful history. Exchange programme are one important pillar of constructive cooperation and joint progress in the future. Germany is determined to continue creating the political framework for this”, Mr. Waltereit concluded.
Assistant Minister of Tourism and Youth, Ivana Antonijević, stated
“Serbia stays committed to regional cooperation and we strongly believe that through the RYCO we can advocate for reconciliation and peacebuilding processes in the region. RYCO is the most important tool for reconciliation of young people and Serbia will stay committed to supporting its work and all similar initiatives. I kindly ask young people who were engaged in these exchanges to spread the word about their experience with their local community and spread positive examples of regional youth cooperation and friendships which were established.”
“Ministry of Education will continue to support the Superschools program and we remain RYCO’s partners in the next cycles of this valuable initiative” underlined the representative of the Ministry of Education of the Government of Serbia.
The school exchange program provided an opportunity for students and teachers to travel, present themselves, their school and customs, as well as learn something new about local communities in different parts of our region. The exchanges organized by these two schools aimed to connect students from the two cities and provide them with an opportunity to overcome existing stereotypes and prejudices.
About the Superschools program
Superschools is a RYCO program for school exchanges in the region with the objectives to support the peacebuilding and reconciliation process and intercultural learning and dialogue among schools, students and their communities. The program is part of a multi-donor project “Western Balkans School Exchange Scheme” co-financed by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) together with the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO).
RYCO is an intergovernmental organization that stewards and promotes regional and intercultural cooperation of young people within and among Western Balkans societies. RYCO’s programs focus on creating opportunities for young people to engage in activities that build mutual understanding and reconciliation in the civic, social, educational, cultural, and sports domains. RYCO initiates and participates in policymaking and advocates for reform. It supports the development of a political and social environment that empowers and facilitates youth exchange.