PODGORICA – Head of the RYCO Local Branch Office in Montenegro Mr Edin Koljenović met with the Ambassador of France to Montenegro Mr Christian Thimonier, on Monday, 14 June. The meeting took place at the premises of the RYCO Local Branch Office in Podgorica and served to discuss RYCO’s work and further cooperation with the Embassy of France in Montenegro.
Mr Koljenović took this opportunity to present the achievements and planned activities of RYCO for the upcoming period.
He underlined that in the past few years, RYCO managed to achieve many tangible results among which it was especially successful in engaging youth who are not belonging to the group of the so-called “usual suspects”. The mentioned result that presents success per se, was confirmed by a recent internal research conducted by the RYCO Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator in which approximately 30 percent of respondents/youth involved in RYCO supported projects, declared themselves as individuals belonging to a marginalized group.
“This aspect is particularly relevant for the overall process of strengthening mutual understanding and reconciliation in the Western Balkans,” Mr Koljenović emphasized.
He added that besides the implementation of the regional grant schemes, the Local Branch Office in Montenegro was devoted to building and cherishing strong partnerships with important national and international stakeholders at the local level, such as the one with the French Embassy. Bright examples of this approach were the Intercultural Youth Hubs, the Balkan Academy of Music, and youth camps on “Intercultural Competencies in Sports” which took place in Pljevlja, Gusinje, Koljašin, Podgorica, Bar.
Furthermore, Mr Koljenović focused also on the new RYCO Strategic Plan 2021-2024 that is expected to be brought by the end of December. It is planned to be designed inclusively through extensive consultation processes with all important regional and local actors, partners, stakeholders, organizations working with and for youth, and youth.
In continuation, Mr Christian Thimonier reaffirmed the strong support of the French Embassy for RYCO, present since the very establishment of this intergovernmental organization within the Berlin process. He added that RYCO presents the counterpart of the Franco-German Youth Office (FGYO) in the Western Balkans, providing strong support to young people from the region, to help build and strengthen the bridges of cooperation, all for the sake of progress in the region.
The meeting concluded with remarks that this fruitful cooperation will continue through the realization of more concrete activities that will involve youth from different parts of Montenegro belonging to diverse groups, and provide them with the space to get to know each other and to discuss the topics of intercultural dialogue and youth cooperation.