Montenegro – The Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO) in Montenegro, in cooperation with the Embassy of the
Republic of France, organized three important & diverse events in the period from the 21 st – 23 rd of June
2022 in Podgorica. The prior goal of the events was to include young people in the social processes, to
empower them to grasp and to be vocal about the challenges they face on a daily basis, as well as
present the opportunities offered to young people in various areas of interest.
The first event, held on June 21 at the Risto Stijović Gallery, entitled "Youth Talks", brought together
about forty young people from various parts of Montenegro who belong to different, ethnic, national
and religious groups and share the same aspirations, problems, hobbies and interests.
Through a unique program of free dialogue activities with the Deputy Ambassadors of the EU Member
States, representatives of the French Embassy and the RYCO Local Branch Office, young people got the
opportunity to directly address decision makers and learn more about the EU, its values as well as
opportunities offered by RYCO. The diplomats who took part in this interactive discussion were H.E.
Christian Thimonier – Ambassador of the Republic of France, Deputies from the Embassies of France, the
Czech Republic, Italy, Greece, and Germany: Mr Laurent Goncalves, Mrs Petra Ali Dolakova, Mr Damiano
Rampini, Mr Yannis Kechagiaras Christoph Breunig and Mr Miloš Radonjic – Head of the Office for
The focus of the discussion was placed on the available mobility programs which enable youth to gain
new experiences and education, advantages and disadvantages of joining the European Union, the
hurdles members of minority groups face in Montenegrin society, as well on the opinion of diplomats on
Montenegro, its culture, people and drawing comparisons with their home countries. The conclusion of
diplomats is that young people in Montenegro have a lot of potential, desire, knowledge and ability to
contribute to the creation of a better and more prosperous society and that it is very important to
adequately respond to their needs and view while treating young people as equal in taking decisions.
"It was my pleasure to organize the last in the cycle of the "Youth Talks" in Podgorica, which present an
important opportunity for young people from various parts of Montenegro to directly address deputy
ambassadors, heads of missions about the European integration and fostering of democratic processes
in Montenegro. I would also like to express my gratefulness to the Embassy of the Republic of France
and the French Institute in Montenegro for the substantial and mutually enriching cooperation that
resulted in a number of initiatives in Montenegro", Mr Koljenović concluded.
"Meeting with Youth – United in Diversity" is the second event that took part on June 22 at the Hilton
Hotel, and gathered representatives of the youth wings of political parties, who had the opportunity to
hear more about the projects implemented by RYCO, the activities carried out for young people, the key
results achieved, as well as about the established networks and the goals of the organization itself.
The event was attended by H.E. Christian Thimonier, Ambassador of the Republic of France, who in his
introductory speech emphasized the importance of such panels where ideas and views of young people
are being heard, while putting a strong emphasize on their uniqueness, as well as on the importance of
fruitful cooperation established between RYCO and the French Embassy that has been reflected through
a number of joint local activities.
Young political leaders were also addressed by Mr Edin Koljenović who used this opportunity to
emphasize the importance of young people in politics and its strong potential to promote the ideas of
intercultural learning and cooperation towards building resilient democratic societies. He also pointed
out the main ideas of the RYCO as regional intergovernmental structure, its results and the aspirations
towards improving the position of young people and their mutual cooperation in different areas.
Ms Bojana Lalatović, Program Officer in the RYCO Local Branch Office in Montenegro, presented the key
results of the conducted researches (i.e. Shared Future Study, etc.) , which encompassed the challenges
young people in Montenegro and the region are facing, as well as recommendations on how to
successfully overcome them.
This part was followed by three sessions during which the main actors in the implementation of the
RYCO mission at the local level (professors, young activists from the NGO sector, high school students,
etc.) presented the programs supported by RYCO, their experiences and challenges. This led to very
interesting and constructive discussions with young political leaders about the key values entrenched in
the RYCO mission in the region.
The topics covered by the sessions were mostly focused on current regional projects, including the
Superschools project, within which 30 projects were awarded, (i.e. 60 high schools from the region
participated in the exchange), then, ROUTE WB6 regional volunteer exchange project, Regional
Incubator for Social Entrepreneurship RISE project – focusing on social entrepreneurship, as well as on a
number of local activities implemented by the RYCO Local Branch Office in Montenegro.
The third day, June 23, was marked by creative work and socializing with the young people with
disabilities, members of the Swimming club for youth with disabilities "Mako", who took part in
workshops held by prominent experts in the field.
An integral part of the program was the "Living Library" session in which esteemed members of the
Paralympic Association talked about their lives, successs, obstacles they needed to overcame and the
support they had from family and friends. The messages they gave to the young athletes from the
"Mako" club were motivating and focused on their potentials and abilities that need to be nurtured in
order to achieve the success.
The three-day event was concluded with a concert entitled "Europe through film music", organized
under the auspices of the French Embassy and French Institute in the KIC "Budo Tomović", Podgorica.
The concert was attended by representatives of the French Embassy, the Regional Youth Cooperation
Office (RYCO), young people with disabilities and young leaders of political parties, who in this manner
jointly closed this more than a successful event.