Tirana – Culture has the power to transform entire societies, strengthen local communities, and forge a sense of identity and belonging for people of all ages. This is a statement we at RYCO firmly believe and that’s why we are thrilled to bring for young people a new opportunity to showcase their talent and bring change.

Last Saturday, in a very inspiring and vivid atmosphere at the Pyramid of Tirana, RYCO launched the new “Western Balkans Youth Cultural Fund” project.

From distinguished Ministers and Ambassadors to cultural representatives and passionate activists, RYCO hosted a diverse group of guests who immersed themselves in an evening filled with art, music, inspiration, and moving talks. Under the moderation of RYCO Communication and Visibility Manager, Jelena Kulidzan, everyone enjoyed the kick-off ceremony marking a new beginning for RYCO and for the youth of the region.

Opening remarks by Bora Muzhaqi, Minister of State for Youth and Children of Albania, Karl Bergner, H.E. Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Albania, RYCO’s Secretary General Albert Hani, and Project Manager Sherife Ismaili set the stage for a few inspiring talks delivered by cultural and human rights activists Nikola Pisarev and Bjeshka Guri.

In her opening speech, Minister Muzhaqi emphasized her firm belief that culture unites people.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the first winners and to see the first activists that will be involved in this project and produce the first words of art for all of us. And I’m hoping to see them over the streets of Albania and over the streets of the rest of the region to bring us together”, said Minister Muzhaqi.

By supporting cultural practitioners and CSOs across the region, RYCO would like to provide great opportunities for youth to express themselves, and be creative, but also vocal about issues that bother them.

“The culture has transcended borders, barriers, politics, ideologies, and divisions, since ever. In a world that can sometimes feel chaotic and divided, culture can serve as a unifying force. If you add youth and activism to it, you get a powerful catalyst of change, much needed in our region. With a heart full of enthusiasm and motivation, we invite young people with creative ideas to join us in this pioneering initiative so that we can change the region together,” said Secretary General of RYCO Albert Hani.

About the project and 1st Open Call
Western Balkans Youth Cultural Fund, a multi-year project financed by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs and supported by the Governments of Western Balkans, is designed for cultural practitioners and civic society organizations from the field of culture. This project will support youth-led cultural activism and creative solutions for pressing social and political issues in the region, by contributing to regional cooperation, intercultural dialogue, peacebuilding, and reconciliation. Individuals can apply for grants up to 3,000 EUR, while CSOs can apply for grants up to 6,000 EUR.

The first open call for applications will be opening soon! 


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