Struga, NORTH MACEDONIA – The Regional Annual School Conference (RASC) took place on Tuesday 5th of July in Struga and marked the successful finalization of the first cycle of RYCO Superschools program. This program is a 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).
This event gathered all participating schools represented by a teacher and a student in order to share their experiences, achievements, and results with young people, other teachers from the region, RYCO staff, ministry representatives, donors, and high-level officials.
The event was opened by Mr. Jeton Shaqiri – Minister of Education in North Macedonia who said he is glad we are promoting today the results of the first cycle of RYCO Superschool program. He went further saying: “RYCO itself has a very important mission that is to teach the youth of Western Balkan the dialogue.”
The event was greeted further by the Mr. Amir Bilalli – Deputy Director of the Agency of Youth and Sport of North Macedonia who emphasized that in the age of globalization the understanding of another culture is both a valuable academic asset and an enriching personal experience. He added: “In caring out its mission RYCO demonstrates its commitment to human rights, dignity and establishment of peace based on mutual respect”
H.E. Ms. Anke Holstein – German Ambassador to North Macedonia, addressed the audience saying that Ryco with the support of GIZ has done a great job in bringing youth together. “Young people should ideally be active contributors to democratic development, social and economical prosperity and shape the process of European integration.”
Finally, the importance of this program was also emphasized by Mr. Albert Hani – General Secretary-General of RYCO who pointed out that this is a whole process in which youth is creating new values such as communication, coordination, and synergy among all the actors in the region. “The youth involved in the exchanges brought a new dimension of values as they are paving the road to the cooperation of the leaders of the Western Balkans”, Mr. Hani added.
This event promoted the impact of exchanges and RYCO Superschools project in the region. The student fair was a part of the event and it gave the participants a possibility for in-person conversation with the schools that participated in the first cycle of RYCO Superschools exchanges. The event was also a good chance for the celebration and recognition of the joint work done so far.
About RYCO Superschools
RYCO Superschools is a program for school exchanges in the Western Balkans that supports peacebuilding and reconciliation processes, intercultural learning, and dialogue among schools, students, and their communities. By participating in this program, the selected high schools have the chance to implement school-to-school exchanges as well as to participate in the program’s activities dedicated to their capacity building, networking, and cooperation.
RYCO is an intergovernmental organization 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 center 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.