GERMANY/WESTERN BALKANS – RYCO Secretary General Mr. Albert Hani and Superschools Delegation participated in the Foreign Ministers Meeting held within the Berlin Process. The meeting was hosted this year by the German Foreign Minister, Annalena Baerbock, and took place on the premises of the German Federal Foreign Office.
The opening remarks delivered by the German Foreign Minister were followed by the plenary with the six foreign ministers from the region, participants from the EU, RYCO, the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), and the Civil Society Forum. During the Ministerial Meeting, talks were focused on inter alia, issues related to energy, climate change, reconciliation initiatives, and youth.
Minister Annalena Bearbock emphasized the importance of regional cooperation and especially bringing young people from the region together. She has underlined the Berlin process as key platform for cooperation in the WB Region which is showing concrete results. Acknowledging the results of RYCO programs and bringing thousands of young people together, Minister Bearbock has announced the establishment of the new Cultural Fund which should provide even more opportunities and programs or mobility and cooperation of young people, administered by RYCO. As a new Regional Fund this idea has been welcomed very well and readiness for strong support has been given by all actors. The message that the Berlin Process is concrete and on the fast track was announced by the fact that this year Western Balkan Summit is bringing to the Region three very important “mobility” agreements who are result of great work of regional initiatives supported through the Berlin Process.
The RYCO Secretary General Mr. Hani, during his speech, highlighted the five years of projects and successes. He took the opportunity to emphasize the importance of cooperation and thanked the partners and friends for their continuous support.
“Today with great honor I am standing here in front of you, to thank you all for the given support to youth in WB and for the hope you are giving to the region with the Berlin Process, particularly with the new concrete results. RYCO is growing with you, and we will never walk alone until we have friends like you, that care about the WB and see it as a prosperous region full of joint results that will make the future generations immune to what we have faced due to stereotypes and prejudices. Cooperation among people that are burdened by a violent past is difficult and exhausting, however, that is the beauty of dialogue, and it is our destiny as well as duty to deal with diversity and nurture Peace and reconciliation forever, particularly now in a wartime when youth from our region can be potentially manipulated.Over 30k Youth from the region of WB, who were connected through our activities, and with their smile and readiness to cooperate across all types of boundaries, are paving the road for our politicians in the WB to cooperate even more. Yet, who can say more about the fruits of regional cooperation better than the youth themselves”
Special part of the program has been dedicated to RYCO’s Superschools program and Superstudents from WB Region who had chance to present their life- changing experience being part of this program. Through a heartwarming speech Superschools students expressed their experience and their need to be more connected. They emphasized that together with their peers they had the opportunity to embrace new and diverse perspectives, meet new friends, and even cherish getting a passport for the first time. Yet, with all the motivation gushing from the young people of Western Balkans, both youngsters invited all stakeholders to continue contributing for them by creating more opportunities and more “Superschools”.
“Yet, motivated as we are, we are not all-powerful. You can’t do this without us, and we can’t do it without you. So open your mind. Look around you. Hear us out. And pay attention… because we need more opportunities to meet each other, fewer barriers to travel, more empowerment… we need more Superschools” – Superschools superstudent Sarah concluded.
Since 2014, the Berlin Process has aimed to improve and intensify regional integration. It is designed to help accelerate the entire region’s closer alignment with the EU. With the establishment of the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO), the agreement to develop a Common Regional Market, the signing of the Regional Roaming Agreement and the creation of “green lanes” to speed up border procedures with key goods in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Berlin Process has brought significant results that are tangible for the people in the region and that are intended to prepare the region for accession to the EU.
About Superschools Program
RYCO Superschools program 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 RYCO.