TIRANA – RYCO Deputy Secretary General Mr Fatos Mustafa participated in the Western Balkans Fund’s regional Civil Society Summit organized in Tirana from 27 to 29 February. As a speaker in the “Regional Cooperation Challenges and Successes” panel discussion, he spoke about cooperation between the two organizations but also challenges young people are facing in the region.
Mr Mustafa underlined that RYCO and WBF even though have a different scope of work and mandate, still have things in common: they are physical neighbors since both organizations are headquartered in Tirana, both are established and solely owned by the WB6 but also supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.
Speaking about the support of Japan, he underlined that the program “Western Balkans Meet Japan” organized by RYCO and the Japanese MOFA has been found out as an excellent one by the participants especially because it teaches topics of reconciliation, remembrance and forward-looking from a different perspective.
RYCO Deputy Secretary General also pointed out the challenges young people of the Western Balkans are facing.
“These challenges are political, administrative, historically inherited challenges, as well as global challenges which in a way or another, directly or indirectly impact and challenge RYCO and our programs,” he pointed out.
Answering the moderator’s question on the correlation between the lack of reconciliation and emigration from the Western Balkans, Mr Mustafa pointed out that this is not affecting only young people but also other citizens of the region.
“Those who were kids and young people in the 90’s, now see that even almost three decades after the conflicts we had in the region no substantial changes have happened while some of the narratives in the region remain present keeping youth and even whole families and people in the region concerned,” RYCO Deputy Secretary General concluded.
The Civil Society Summit was aiming to valorize the efforts and inputs of numerous regional stakeholders by creating conclusions and recommendations from areas of interventions covered by WBF. The Summit also catalyzed ideas and evidence for WBF to continue growing as a genuine and relevant regional factor in supporting regional initiatives and people to people links. The three-day event was supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.