TIRANA – December 8 marked the National Youth Day in Albania. Thirty years ago thousands of Albanian students took the streets to overthrow one of the toughest communist regimes in Southeast Europe. Since then, this day serves as a symbol of youth activism – a clear sign that youth can move mountains and by acting together they can give life to democracy.
To start the celebrations of the day, Head of the RYCO Local Branch Office in Albania Mr Kreshnik Loka, upon the invitation of the Mayor of Tirana Mr Erion Veliaj, participated together with other actors in the field of youth in the inauguration of a new park in Tirana named “Park of the Students”. During the inauguration, the participants planted the first trees in the park.
“This park is the same as every youth initiative, which starts with idealism but ends with changing lives, and sometimes changing systems. Who would have thought that the Albanian students would change the entire path of our society?” Mr Veliaj said in his opening remarks.
Speaking about the importance of democracy, he emphasized also the need for environmental policies and protection. “Same as we made peace with democracy thirty years ago, we should also make peace with nature and use our freedom to preserve it,” Mr Veliaj underlined.
After planting a RYCO signature tree in the park, Mr Kreshnik Loka emphasized the key role of youth in being forward-thinking and willing to save the biodiversity of the city and the planet.
“Today we planted new trees in the city of Tirana. Today we added new fresh lungs to our community and we should keep doing so in case we want our future generations to inherit a livable planet,” Mr Loka concluded.
The day continued with a fruitful online discussion with the newly appointed Young European Ambassadors of Albania. The meeting was jointly hosted by the Delegation of the European Union to Albania and RYCO and was attended by Ambassador of EU Delegation in Albania Mr Luigi Soreca, RYCO Secretary General Mr Đuro Blanuša and Head of the RYCO Local Branch Office in Albania Mr Kreshnik Loka.
In his welcoming address, Mr Soreca spoke of the importance of empowering youth as the backbone of the society while emphasizing the constant support that the EU is giving to youth in the Western Balkans and to RYCO’s work and youth programs.
Mr Blanuša recalled that on 8 December 2016, the first RYCO Governing Board meeting took place in Tirana, marking a new start and change in the region. He also emphasized the unique structure of RYCO’s Governing Board where young people share equal decision-making powers with government representatives from the region.
“Youth participation in decision-making is key to RYCOs work,” Mr Blanusa stated.
The meeting was continued with insightful discussions between the participants of the online event. A stronger tie has now been created between these young inspiring people and RYCO.