Mr Piplaš is an experienced democratization expert with a track record in managing and implementing projects related to good governance, regional cooperation, transitional justice and European integration. Before joining RYCO, he was the Regional Project Manager for the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Dialogue Southeast Europe Office and a consultant for various international organizations, development agencies, and NGOs.
He has in-depth knowledge of EU institutions and was trained in the Cabinet of President Martin Schulz in the European Parliament, where his focus was EU foreign policy. By working for the UN ICTY in The Hague, Mr Piplaš pursued his interest in transitional justice mechanisms. He is a published author writing on issues related to political developments in South-East Europe and the integration of the Western Balkans in the EU.
Mr Piplaš holds a Master’s degree in EU International Relations and Diplomacy Studies from the College of Europe in Bruges and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Sarajevo. His academic records also include exchange programs and research periods in institutions such as the Vilnius University, University of Iceland, and the University of Innsbruck.
Mr. Albert Hani currently holds the position of Secretary General of the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO), with a Head Office based in Tirana, Albania. He comes from North Macedonia and during a four-year term, trusted by the 6 governments representatives and 6 youth representatives from Western Balkans 6, he will lead one of the most prestigious inter- governmental institutions of the region derived from the Berlin Process.
As one of the most dedicated persons in promoting reconciliation and peacebuilding in the region, Mr. Hani has been managing and leading peacebuilding institutions and youth projects during his entire professional career. He is also a well-known mediator, political analyst and trainer on peacebuilding and intercultural learning topics.
Before assuming his diplomatic post in RYCO, he was the Head of RYCO Local Branch Office in Skopje, North Macedonia, and at the same time practiced teaching on intercultural communication at the State University of Tetovo.
Mr. Hani has a longstanding experience in different international peacebuilding organizations since 1998, while since 1994 he has been a human rights and civil society activist. Besides his formal legal background and specialization in international law, he has conducted postgraduate studies on human resources management, history and international relations, as well as informal postgraduate studies on gender and politics.
Mr. Hani has published several training mediation manuals for secondary school teachers and local municipal councils, and he is also co-author of the manual on social skills and teacher’s responsibilities. He has also published numerous research papers and has been engaged with numerous research agencies as a researcher. Regarding his academic work, he is also proud to have developed a dialogue tool that is often used in trainings, as well as team-building exercises, aiming at different target groups.
Mr. Hani is an alumnus of the leadership program of the United States of America, Norwegian Nansen Peace Academy and the democratic leadership program of the Council of Europe. He has been lucky to be trained by the best practitioners in the peacebuilding field across the world in many training programs, while he facilitated hundreds of trainings and conferences for government representatives, civil servants, media, police, youth, civil society, and business.
Nature is his passion and he loves hiking and biking!
His life motto is the African word UBUNTU which means "I am because who we all are!"