Germany Steps Up Its Support to RYCO

TIRANA – The German Federal Foreign Office has awarded 350.000€ for a new one-year RYCO’s project aiming to support high schools from the Western Balkans in creating cooperation opportunities for vulnerable groups, improving cross-sector cooperation and raising their capacities.

German Ambassador to Albania H.E. Ms Susanne Schütz and RYCO Secretary General Mr Đuro Blanuša signed the project contract at the German Embassy in Tirana today.

On the occasion of the contract signing, Ambassador Schütz stated that in the context of the Western Balkans, the young generation with its curiosity and openness of mind plays an important role in overcoming the shadows of the past. “We are convinced that bringing young people from different parts of this region together will stimulate exchange about the divisive past and will contribute to creating a narrative for a common future in the European Union”, the Ambassador said.

“To ensure RYCO’s long-term success, it will be crucial that especially the WB6 continue and even increase the support they give to RYCO. Bringing the people of this region closer to each other is in everyone’s interest and will help to build stable bridges between the societies”, the Ambassador concluded.

RYCO Secretary General Mr Blanuša said that investing in youth exchange programs is the strong engine towards better democracies and sustainable people-to-people connectivity agenda for the Western Balkans. “RYCO itself has been established on the impeccable example of the Franco-German Youth Office, an organization promoting and implementing youth mobility projects for more than 50 years. Both France and Germany have been our strong allies in enhancing the possibilities for young people from the region to openly confer and exchange their experiences”, he underlined and added that since the beginning of it work, RYCO has identified high schools as one of the main partners in enhancing and promoting youth mobility in this region.

“With the support of the German Government we are going to further increase intercultural capacities of high school students and introduce new opportunities for all youngsters to develop critical thinking and further engage in promoting regional cooperation in the Western Balkans”, Mr Blanuša concluded.

On  the project

The project “School to school youth cooperation in the Western Balkan 6” aims to increase opportunities for young people to engage in activities that build mutual understanding and reconciliation in the civic, social, educational, cultural and sports domains. The projects funded will contribute to enhancing regional cooperation, enabling and facilitating youth mobility, cooperation and activism in the Western Balkans. These projects will enable the development of youth-led processes of intercultural dialogue and reconciliation in the Western Balkans, and the development of social capital among young people by strengthening the competences of young people and those who work with them.

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