PRISTINA – The RYCO Local Branch Office in cooperation with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) organized the introductory event “Meet the Superschools of Kosovo” in Pristina on March 13th, 2023 in the framework of the Superschools Exchange Programme. The meeting gathered the 11 awarded high schools from Kosovo represented by their principals and teachers in charge of coordinating the upcoming regional exchanges, as well as the representatives of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, EU Office in Kosovo, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany to Kosovo, Embassy of Republic of France to Kosovo.
The event was attended by Ms. Daulina Osmani, Deputy Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Mr. Johannes Madsen, Head of Cooperation Section of the EU Office in Kosovo, Mr. Joern Rohde, Ambassador of Federal Republic of Germany to Kosovo, Mr. Olivier Guérot – Ambassador of Republic of France to Kosovo, Albert Hani, Secretary General of RYCO and Krenare Gashi-Krasniqi, Head of Local Branch Office in Kosovo.
The opening remarks were delivered by RYCO Secretary General Mr. Albert Hani who pointed out the importance of the program and how it reminded RYCO about the significance of its slogan, that a “A better region starts with Youth”. “The dedication of all the Superschools and all the teachers I’ve met on this journey, reminds me of my own beginnings of traveling in the region and understanding the importance of getting to know the people and creating new friendships. This is a chance for you and your students to experience this great opportunity and foster new partnerships and work for a better regional cooperation” empasized Mr. Hani.
Ms. Daulina Osmani underlined that students from Kosovo did not really have the chance to visit our regional neighbours and that this project will enable that. “Our students want to learn about the past in a healthy manner” added Ms. Osmani who then congratulated the selected schools, wishing them that this experience is special, and granting her support along the process.
Mr. Johannes Madsen expressed that the Superschool project will pave the way for cooperation, as it is has transformative potential. He emphasized that young people in Western Balkans with their openness and creativity are a great asset of the region.
After H.E Mr. Rohde congratulated the schools on being selected to implement their ideas in partnerships, he then emphasized that the implementation of this project means that “we are in a good road, we are bringing people together, we are working together and hence we can achieve great things”.
H.E. Mr. Guérot said that it is quite an achievement for this program to have been established. This program is special as it does not allow conflicts to become myths, it gives the opportunity to “destroy” clichés, and creating long bond friendships. Lastly he wished all the participants an excellent exchange program for this year.
Ms. Krenare Gashi Krasniqi has concluded the guest’s remarks by highlighting that “the first cycle of Superschools has set a new standard in the context of regional cooperation in the WB6, by enabling exchanges even between societies which usually do not cooperate with each other”. “I believe that the Superschools will continue to be a powerful force for peace, understanding, and friendship between our societies” Ms. Gashi Krasniqi concluded.
The principals and professors who will coordinate and implement these youth exchanges presented their ideas that will be further developed with the help of RYCO Local Program Officers. This event provided indeed a great opportunity for them to engage in networking and discussing with important local and international partners, while also gaining a clearer overview of the next steps. Young people representing the 11 high schools will have the opportunity to enjoy the benefits and the amazing regional experience that Superschools has to offer.
The implementation of the projects will be divided into two rounds: The first round of exchanges will happen from April to June 2023 and the second round will continue from August to October 2023. Each partner school will organize one exchange visit to the partnering one lasting up to 7 days with a group of up to 12 students and 1 to 2 teachers. Through the exchange scheme, students and teachers will have the chance to travel, present themselves, their schools, and customs to their hosts, and learn new things about local communities all throughout the region.
155 exchange proposals were submitted for the Superschools 2nd Open Call, 161 partnerships were created from which 17 are long-term coming from the 1st cycle, while more than 535 schools from the Western Balkans used the online platform www.superschools.net for networking with other schools. The selection committee had the difficult task of selecting the 50 best projects aiming at supporting the peacebuilding and reconciliation process in the Western Balkans region and intercultural learning and dialogue among schools, students, and their communities.
*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with Security Council Resolution 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.