SARAJEVO – The Regional Youth Cooperation Office’s (RYCO) Local Branch Office in Bosnia and Herzegovina in cooperation with GIZ organized the online introductory meeting “Meet the Superschools of Bosnia and Herzegovina” in the framework of the Superschools Exchange Programme on Thursday, 10 February 2022 via Zoom platform. The meeting gathered 11 awarded high schools from Bosnia and Herzegovina, represented by their principals and teachers in charge of coordinating the upcoming regional exchanges, as well as the representatives of the Delegation of the European Union, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in Bosnia and Herezgovina, representatives of tje Ministry of Civil Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and RYCO.
The program is implemented by RYCO and GIZ on behalf of the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
The opening remarks were delivered by the Head of the RYCO Local Branch Office in Montenegro Mr Edin Koljenović, Head of the Operations for Social Development, Civil Society and Cross Border Cooperation of the Delegation of the European Union to Bosnia and Herzegovina Mr Gianluca Vannini, and Counselor for Public Affairs at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Bosnia and Herzegovina Ms Lea Thurm.
Mr Koljenović used the opportunity to share an overview of RYCO’s work and Superschools programme and wished best of luck to the awarded schools from Bosnia and Herzegovina in the further implementation of diverse projects.
“Thanks to our previous experience, we learned that schools have a great potential for the implementation of exchange projects and achievement of good results, and we recognized their needs and space for empowering them. That is why Supercshools project is very important to RYCO as it will lead to long-lasting qualitative changes and new generations of young people willing to cooperate,” Mr Koljenović pointed out.
Mr Vannini congratulated the awarded schools and used the opportunity to emphasize the importance of the young people.
“Young people are the priority of this region and the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina. That is why projects that lead to exchanges and activities tackling cooperation and reconciliation are our goal. Pandemic taught us that we are stronger together and it showed the power of youth,” Mr Vannini said.
“I am really glad to see such diversity when it comes to awarded projects. During my schooling, every school from Germany had its partner school from France, and thanks to this initiative young people from my generation got to know each other so much more, producing memories and long-lasting friendships,” Ms Thurm added.
Assistant to the Minister of Civil Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina Mr Adnan Husić confirmed the commitment of the Ministry towards RYCO and reminded that is of a paramount importance to enable active participation of youth.
“We are providing continuous support to schools and their staff in order to contribute to the quality of education in Bosnia and Herzegovina. As a concrete result of the Berlin process, RYCO remains in the focus of our attention, and we are glad to be able to support positive changes for and with young people,” Mr Husić stated.
This event provided a great opportunity for networking, discussion with important local and international partners, and presentation of exchange ideas by high schools, namely: Grammar school Banja Luka, Secondary Vocational School Tomislavgrad, Institution for fosterage and educating persons with difficulties in corporal and physic development, High school for catering and tourism Sarajevo, Contemporary Art High School Tuzla, Secondary Polytechnic School Mostar, High School “Novi Travnik”, School for visual impaired children and youngsters Sarajevo, Secondary Vocational School “Džemal Bijedić” Goražde, Grammar school “Meša Selimović” Tuzla and Grammar school “Obala” Sarajevo.
In the closing remarks, Local Program Officer at the RYCO Local Branch Office in Montenegro Ms Bojana Lalatović presented a short overview of the Superschools activities that will be implemented in 2022, and provided insight into further engagement of high school representatives.
The implementation of the exchanges will take place from March to June 2022 when each partner school will organize one exchange visit to the partnering one lasting between six and ten days with a group of up to twenty students and one to two teachers. Through the exchange scheme, students and teachers will have a chance to travel, present themselves, their schools and customs to their hosts and learn new things about local communities in different parts of our region.
During the first Superschools open call, RYCO received 127 exchange proposals while more than 412 schools from the Western Balkans used the online platform www.superschools.net for networking with other schools. The 30 best projects are aimed at supporting the peacebuilding and reconciliation processes and intercultural learning and dialogue among schools, students, and their communities.
About the Superschools program
Superschools is a RYCO program for school exchanges in the Western Balkans 6 with the objectives to support the peacebuilding and reconciliation processes and intercultural learning and dialogue. The program is being implemented for three years and is part of a multi-donor project “Western Balkans School Exchange Scheme” co-financed by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) together with the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO). The project has a total budget of €5.5 million and contributes to the overall objective of increasing the skills and knowledge of young people in the Western Balkans by enhancing education systems and promoting cooperation in the region, through establishing a regional school exchange scheme.
RYCO is an intergovernmental organization that stewards and promotes regional and intercultural cooperation of young people within and among six Western Balkans societies. RYCO’s programs focus on creating opportunities for young people to engage in activities that build mutual understanding and reconciliation in the civic, social, educational, cultural, and sports domains. RYCO initiates and participates in policymaking and advocates for reform. It supports the development of a political and social environment that empowers and facilitates youth exchange.
RYCO puts young people at the center of its work and believes that they should be creating a culture of mobility, intercultural exchange, and reconciliation. Young people should also be active contributors to democratic development, social and economic prosperity, and European integration in an increasingly open Western Balkans region. Six Western Balkans societies should be providing proactive support to youth exchange and youth engagement within the region and across the region.