Today marks the day of the first RYCO Governing Board meeting, which took place in Tirana, Albania, on 8 December 2016.
Our Governing Board is the highest decision-making body of RYCO and consists of twelve government and civil society representatives which share equal responsibility and decision-making power. The twelve representatives from the six RYCO Contracting Parties gather every year in annual meetings to discuss and support the interests of young people in the region, as well as RYCO’s plan and activities.
RYCO’s unique governance system ensures that young people are represented at all levels within our organisation. With an equal voice in the decision-making processes, we asked Governing Board members, both government and youth representatives, why they consider RYCO and its work important.
“RYCO has marked a new chapter in regional cooperation perceptions as well as in youth empowerment and trust building. It has confirmed that youth are part of the governmental agenda, which has produced concrete outputs. RYCO has created synergies and positive change for youth in the region, which have reinforced the idea that being courageous and thinking outside of the box can change the narratives in the Western Balkans.”
Françeska Muço, Youth Representative of Albania
“Promotion of diversity, cooperation through diversity and young people meeting their peers from the region are of interest to each government that intends to establish democratic principles of life in its society. In every possible way, Bosnia and Herzegovina will support the establishment of new and more quality relations between the youth of the region, thus supporting the European spirit of tolerance and intercultural dialogue. My work in the RYCO Governing Board has a motto: “The war starts in the heads of people and it is indeed the only place where you can resolve it”. By joint endeavours, we will make young people more open towards each other but also towards the open society principles.”
Ankica Gudeljević, Government Representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina
“Why is RYCO important? Because RYCO supports cooperation for common prosperity, promotion of genuine human values and principles, commitment and responsibility regardless of different national affiliations.”
Vlora Dumoshi, Government Representative of Kosovo*
“Before RYCO, we, the young people, had to carry the heavy burden of the troubled past of the region on our own. Now, RYCO is there to show us how much we can achieve if we cooperate and are given the concrete and institutional support. If only we work together, we can build bridges torn down by the conflicts we did not start but are able to bring to an end.”
Andrea Mićanović, Youth Representative of Montenegro
“RYCO is the future of the Western Balkans and it should be seen as a process rather than just another institution or regional initiative. This process bears on its shoulders the burden of success or failure of the new open Balkans, freed of fear and hate for ‘the others’, ethnic or religious communities. It has been a pleasure to follow and contribute to the growth of RYCO since its start. I hope that all dedicated people in this process will learn from others and their mistakes and become the best example.”
Darko Kaevski, Former Government Representative of North Macedonia
“RYCO is a unique organisation in this part of Europe and it represents the cornerstone for relationship enhancement between the youth in the Western Balkans. The decision-making process in the RYCO Governing Board allows the youth from the region to express their opinions and decide on matters that affect their lives and their communities. Thus, RYCO’s institutional framework promotes the proactive role of youth from the region as well as provides an opportunity for young people from the Western Balkans to promote the spirit of reconciliation and cooperation between them.”
Marko Kostić, Youth Representative of Serbia
The quotes presented in this article are a part of the RYCO publication “A Better Region Starts with YOUth” which can be accessed here. The central part of this publication is a scientific research conducted by the team of researchers from the University of Vienna. The research focuses on young people in the Western Balkans and their participation or non-participation in regional youth exchange programs supported by RYCO.
Moments from the first Governing Board meeting.
*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.