PRISTINA – The RYCO Local Branch Office in Kosovo organized a meeting of the Superschools from Kosovo, an introductory event with the selected schools of the first cycle of the RYCO Superchools Western Balkans School Exchange Scheme, which took place in Pristina on Thursday, 27 January 2022.
The honored guests of the event, the President of Kosovo H.E. Dr. Vjosa Osmani Sadriu, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Kosovo H.E. Mr Joern Rohde, and Ambassador of France to Kosovo H.E. Ms Marie-Christine Butel together with Head of RYCO Local Branch Office in Kosovo Ms Krenare Gashi Krasniqi, congratulated the winning schools.
Ms Gashi Krasniqi opened the event and welcomed the distinguished guests on behalf of RYCO and its Local Branch Office in Pristina.
“The year could not have started better than marking the first success of this program where schools from Kosovo will develop youth exchanges with schools from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, and Serbia. A new era in the context of regional exchanges is beginning now and I am infinitely happy that 2022 will be remembered forever as the year where these types of exchanges will take place for the first time,” Ms Gashi Krasniqi pointed out.
In her opening remarks, H.E Ms Osmani Sadriu said that there is no better way to build bridges of communication and collaboration than through education and the exchange of knowledge, ideas, and best practices, sharing a common goal which is that our societies, and our young people, in particular, live and develop side by side with each other in the spirit of cooperation, regular exchange, and genuine communication.
“Today I want to congratulate the organizers here at RYCO, all those involved, all schools but also the European Union and the German Government through the project implementer, GIZ together with the RYCO, for supporting a very original and valuable project such as the Superschools project. It is extremely promising that six high schools from Kosovo have been selected as beneficiaries of this grant in the first cycle thus qualifying for the opportunity to exchange students with other high schools,” Ms Osmani Sadriu underlined and congratulated the schools by highlighted that projects like Superschools are indeed much needed in our societies.
In his opening remarks, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Kosovo H.E. Mr Rohde empathized that the Superschools project is yet another great initiative by RYCO.
“I am extremely pleased to be part of this historical milestone for the Regional Youth Cooperation Office, the launching of the first “Superschools Western Balkans School Exchange scheme”. The six Kosovar schools selected to participate in the first historical exchange will be the trailblazers of hopefully many more to come,” Mr Rohde said.
The same excitement for the project has been shared by the Ambassador of the French Republic to Kosovo H.E Ms Butel who underlined the importance of bringing young people of high schools from Kosovo and the region together through such an important project.
“By enabling young people to create shared memories with young people from neighboring countries, these exchanges forever change the perception they have of each other,” Ms Butel pointed out.
The meeting of Superschools event was concluded with RYCO Project Coordinator Mr Astrit Rexhepi presenting the upcoming plans in regards to the Superschools project, and six representatives of the selected schools from Kosovo presenting their exchange ideas in the presence of the distinguished guests.
About the Superschools programme
Superschools is a programme for school exchanges in the Western Balkans 6 with the objectives to support the peacebuilding and reconciliation processes and intercultural learning and dialogue. The programme is being implemented for three years and 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). The project has a total budget of €5.5 million and contributes to the overall objective of increasing skills and knowledge of young people in the Western Balkans by enhancing education systems and promoting cooperation in the region, through establishing a regional school exchange scheme.
RYCO is an intergovernmental organisation that stewards and promotes regional and intercultural cooperation of young people within and among six Western Balkans societies. RYCO’s programmes 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 policy making and advocates for reform. It supports the development of a political and social environment that empowers and facilitates youth exchange.
RYCO puts young people at the centre of its work and believes that they should be creating a culture of mobility, intercultural exchange and reconciliation. Young people should also be active contributors to democratic development, social and economic prosperity, and European integration in an increasingly open Western Balkans region. Six Western Balkans societies should be providing proactive support to youth exchange and youth engagement within the region and across the region.
*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.