PODGORICA – The Regional Youth Cooperation Office’s (RYCO) Local Branch Office in Montenegro organized event entitled “Meet the Superschools of Montenegro” in the framework of the Superschools Exchange Programme on Monday, 06 February 2023. The event was attended by the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Montenegro, H.E. Oana Cristina Popa, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, H.E. Peter Felten, Ambassador of the Republic of France, H.E. Christian Thimonier, Minister of Education, Mr. Miomir Vojinovic, Minister of Sports and Youth, Mr. Vasilije Lalosevic, representative of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), and 20 headmasters and teachers in charge of coordinating the 7 awarded projects from Montenegro.
Head of the RYCO Local Branch Office in Montenegro, Mr. Edin Koljenovic, in his introductory remarks, welcomed the esteemed guests and pointed out that he is happy and proud that today we have results in the form of project ideas of the high schools from Montenegro which have been selected and will be implemented in the upcoming period.
“We started this cycle with great results. 161 partnerships were established, 155 project proposals submitted, and a total of 100 schools from the region are awarded. 17 awarded partnerships from the first cycle of the Superschool were given the opportunity to continue their projects in this cycle as well, which is a strong indicator of the commitment and interest of the secondary schools in such a regional project”. In this mission, we have strong support from the side of our partners – primarily the EU, and French and German governments.
Head of the European Union Delegation to Montenegro, Ms. Oana Cristina Popa, stated that the RYCO’s Superschools exchange program is a good example of focused efforts to empower young people in the Western Balkans.
“It gives me hope and joy to see that seven schools from different parts of Montenegro are actively participating in this important regional initiative. I sincerely believe that young people have the necessary will and energy to strengthen the processes of reconciliation, growth and prosperity that are essential for the Western Balkans region” she concluded.
Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Montenegro, Mr. Peter Felten, pointed out that the Superschool project is a great opportunity for young people to meet, establish contacts, get to know other cultures and ultimately create lifelong friendships.
“RYCO takes an important step in promoting the role of youth in the process of building and strengthening peace. The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany will continue to support you on this journey,” Mr Felten said.
Ambassador of the Republic of France in Montenegro, Mr. Christian Thimonier, said that the French Embassy has supported RYCO since its establishment, and that they will continue to do so in order to enable young people to gain as much insight as possible into the ideas and values of inclusive democracy.
“I congratulate the awarded secondary schools. Creating personal contacts is a key and indispensable step towards improving relations between societies in the Western Balkans,” he pointed out.
Minister of Education of Montenegro, Mr. Miomir Vojinovic pointed out that this program is of key importance for young people in the region, because it contributes to dismantling prejudices, creating bridges of cooperation, getting to know new cultures and creating a better perspective for young people.
Minister for Sports and Youth of Montenegro, Mr. Vasilije Lalosevic, emphasized that this project represents an excellent opportunity for young people to develop their own ideas, to demonstrate and further developed their talents and qualities, as well as to be a role models to other young people, for the sake of the well-being of the communities they come from.
During the second part of the event, program officer in the RYCO Local Branch Office in Montenegro, Ms. Bojana Lalatovic, presented the key results and priorities regarding the implementation of projects in the upcoming period. She particularly emphasized her satisfaction with the forthcoming cooperation with schools from various parts of Montenegro.
“Implementation of the awarded Superschools projects is a joint endavour and one step further towards the realization of the RYCO mission in the Western Balkans region” she emphasized.
The youth representative of Montenegro in the RYCO Governing Board, Ms. Jelena Fustic, said that professors have one of the key roles in shaping the attitudes and perceptions of young people. By participating in the projects like this one, they provide young people with the precious opportunity to get to know each other, to build attitudes based on their personal experiences and, therefore, promoting the spirit of tolerance and cooperation among young people.
The implementation of the projects will be divided into two rounds: The first round of exchanges will happen from April to June 2023 and the second round will continue from August to October 2023. Each partner school will organize one exchange visit to the partnering one lasting up to 7 days with a group of up to 12 students and 1 to 2 teachers. Through the exchange scheme, students and teachers will have the chance to travel, present themselves, their schools, and customs to their hosts, and learn new things about local communities all throughout the region.