TIRANA- The RYCO Local Branch Office in Albania has actively supported the local initiatives of Peace Week 2023, a collaborative effort organized by the United Nations Association Albania (UNAA) in various cities across Albania from October 23 to October 29, 2023.
“Peace Week 2023” was a week-long event under the slogan of “Skills for Peace.” The local initiatives were designed to explore the concept and practice of peace from diverse perspectives and at various levels, primarily organized by young people themselves, community stakeholders, including informal youth groups and individuals.
This tradition of Peace Week focuses on fostering dialogue, youth engagement and advocacy, and the promotion of peaceful relations. The activities this year were held in Tirana, Tropoja, Lezhe, Pogradec, and Kucove, attracting the participation of several hundred young individuals from Albania.
The activities were diverse, ranging from raising awareness about cyberbullying at the grassroots level in Tropoja to promoting inclusiveness, dialogue, and collaboration through art in Pogradec. They also included reflections on peace and non-violence values through movie screenings in Tirana and fostering community activism and transforming relationships in Kucove. The event in Lezha focused on sports, encouraging teamwork, respect, and peaceful coexistence.
The event in Kucova was attended by Ms. Flutura Brakaj, RYCO’s Local Program Officer in Albania. She extended a warm welcome to the youth participants and organizers at the Youth Center, urging them to persist in their peace activism and the promotion of inclusivity. “We in RYCO always start at the very small levels and community levels, to then spread the vision and engagement further at regional levels, be that on change, cooperation, and peacebuilding efforts’ ” – she emphasized.
With the involvement of around 150 youth supporting peace initiatives and efforts at the local level, these young individuals have become catalysts for promoting peace and social cohesion within their communities.
The aspiration to build an inclusive and just peace aligns with the adoption of the Youth, Peace, and Security Agenda. This agenda, rooted in United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250, underscores the vital role of youth in all stages of peacebuilding, from preventing conflict to rebuilding trust and cooperation after conflicts. Developing the Regional Agenda for Youth, Peace, and Security in the Western Balkans is one of RYCO’s strategic priorities until 2025. In 2021, the United Nations Association Albania (UNAA) embarked on an initiative aimed at engaging young people in peacebuilding processes, conflict resolution, and fostering intercultural dialogue within Albania and the Western Balkans region. UNAA collaborates closely with the established National Network on YPS to fulfill the objectives outlined in UN Agenda 2250. Together with RYCO’s Local Branch Office in Albania, they are working on joint activities and empowering the network to enhance local-level work while exploring prospects for regional-level engagement.