WESTERN BALKANS – Today marks the International Youth Day. Firstly observed on 12 August 2000, this day serves as a reminder of the potential that young people have in making a positive contribution to society.
The Western Balkans region is composed of diverse and dynamic young people that have consistently proven their willingness to make a difference. In doing so, they should be enabled to participate and engage in activities with diverse needs and interests, and connect with one another across borders.
Having youth empowerment and engagement in focus, young people also form a crucial part of our decision making processes in the RYCO governing board, supporting our strategic plans and promoting the interests of the Western Balkan youth.
As we work on accelerating regional efforts in youth development and cooperation, our commitment is based on the strong belief that by helping young people engage with each other in fields of mutual concern they will develop intercultural insights, strengthen their skills, enhance their social and economic prospects, and achieve personal fulfilment.
Young people’s positive attitude, energy, and motivation are crucial to making the region and the world a better place. We are aware of the challenges that they face in reaching their potential but proud to support, together with our partners, initiatives and projects that address these challenges and have youth empowerment as one of the key aspects of our work.
On the occasion of International Youth Day, we are sharing empowering messages from RYCO’s Youth Representatives in the Governing Board, encouraging young people in the Western Balkans to stay connected, engaged and take action in their communities.
“It is a critical momentum for youth in the Western Balkans to take matters in their own hands and become agents of change in the region. It is up to our cooperation, persistence, and participation on policy and decision making, to speed up governmental agendas and to build the European future at home.”
Youth Representative of Albania in RYCO Governing Board
“We need unity and cooperation in today’s challenging times, more than ever. Our fragile region needs its progressive youth to step up and engage in policy and decision-making processes, to advocate for the best interest of their peers, as this might prove to be the only way to bring positive social change and to move the region toward a more resilient and opportunity-rich future.”
Youth Representative of North Macedonia in RYCO Governing Board
“It is always easier to sit down and hope for social change to occur, but it takes courage and persistence to stand up and fight for it. We are often perceived as the future of our societies, but we are foremostly the present, because how we act today affects the world we will be living in tomorrow. Our region relies on us for a good reason. Let’s not let it down.”
Youth Representative of Montenegro in RYCO Governing Board
“Western Balkans youth have a key role in peacebuilding, reconciliation and cooperation in the region. Recognizing and involving youth in decision-making processes allows them to assume leadership roles and gain skills that lead to better policies in the future. Involving young people empowers them to be a valued part of the community and provides them with an opportunity to boost their self-confidence.”
Youth Representative of Serbia in RYCO Governing Board