BELGRADE – The RYCO Local Branch Office (LBO) in Serbia met with representatives of the European Democracy Youth Network (EDYN), a coalition of young political and civic leaders from Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia, International Republican Institute (IRI) and National Democratic Institute (NDI) on Friday, 19 November 2021. The meeting familiarised participants with RYCO’s mission and work on regional and local levels with the aim of initiating possible cooperation on key aspects and priorities of RYCO’s new Strategic Plan for the period 2022-2024.
The meeting was hosted by Head of RYCO LBO in Serbia Ms Ivana Antonijević and Local Program Officer Ms Ivana Markulić, while EDYN was represented by Mr Michal Kovács, Executive Director, Mr Samuel Johannes, IRI Liaison, Ms Nadezhda Mouzykina, NDI Liaison and member of the Advisory Board, Ms Hannah Mont, Senior Program Associate, Ms Lucia Husenicová, EDYN Communication Officer, Ms Željka Cvejin, representative of the IRI Office in Serbia, Ms Ivana Vasić, representative of the NDI Office in Serbia.
Ms Antonijević presented RYCO’s history, mission and actual programs and projects which have been implemented regionally as well locally in all RYCO Contracting Parties, as well as processes, from which the crucial one is development and adoption of a new Strategic Plan for the period 2022-2024. Moreover, local work of the RYCO LBO in Serbia has been further elaborated with the emphasis on specific local activities and initiatives which the office has with the local stakeholders.
Ms Markulić gave an overview of RYCO’s support to the civil society organizations and highschools in the Western Balkans as well as of thematic and local specificities that are crucial for RYCO’s work on influencing reconciliation processes, regional cooperation and improvement of young people’s lives.
EDYN representatives presented how their network is functioning, which parts of the world are covered by their mission as well as what are the main opportunities for young people and the region of the Western Balkans.
Mr Kovács, Mr Johannes and Ms Mouzykina emphasized the importance of young people’s cooperation on joint social issues, importance of tailor-made approach while implementing projects, as well as of asset of the network which is members-driven, putting special focus on youth influence in the decision-making processes and systems reforms. EDYN members develop initiatives tailored to their issues of interest and connect with peers and mentors across the region and around the world to share best practices and knowledge. One of the most important topics for this network, as well for IRI and NDI as well, is the empowerment and education of youth wings of the political parties, as well as young journalists and CSO’s representatives.