Western Balkans meet Japan in the next seven days. Twenty-three young people from the region will visit Tokyo and Hiroshima from 28 February until 6 March under MIRAI – a program implemented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA) and the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO).
In Tokyo, the group will visit Sophia University, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Senso-ji Temple. In Hiroshima, participants will visit the Peacebuilders Center and learn more about the Japanese devastating experience of the atomic bombing. In Miyajima, youth from Western Balkans will enjoy the unique nature and architectural beauty of the island nation of Japan and experience the history and traditional culture rooted in the region. Participants who are traveling to Japan have been chosen in the last two years based on clear and transparent criteria, but they were not able to travel before due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Head of the Local Branch Office in Kosovo Krenare Gashi-Krasniqi will lead the group in the name of RYCO.
„We are excited to lead the group of these amazing young people throughout this unique experience. They will have the opportunity to learn about peacebuilding from a different perspective, such as Japan. The program is tailored in a way that gives the chance to 23 young people from the region to enrich their understanding of the importance of peacebuilding by exploring Japanese culture and the way they have contributed to such a process“, says Gashi-Krasniqi.
MOFA and RYCO are organizing the youth exchange program “Western Balkans meet Japan: A Bridge into the Future”, under the MIRAI since 2018, aiming to deepen participants’ understanding of Japan and its policy, to promote mutual understanding and reconciliation through intellectual and cultural exchange, and build a basis for future friendship and cooperation between Japan and the Western Balkans. The MOFA started the program to support socio-economic reforms and facilitate reconciliation and cooperation in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. MIRAI stands for Mutual understanding, Intellectual Relations and Academic exchange Initiative.
*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.