ALBANIA/BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA/MONTENEGRO/SERBIA – Within the second RYCO Open Call for Project Proposals co-financed by the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund, the Institute for Democracy, Media & Culture (IDMC) from Albania, in partnership with the Bosnian Representative Association for Valuable Opportunities (BRAVO) from Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Network for the Education and the Development of the Supportive Service for the Persons with Disabilities (MERSP) from Montenegro and the Sombor Youth Center (SOB) from Serbia, implemented the project “Western Balkan Youth Together for a Shared Future”.
The project took place from February to November 2020 and focused on raising awareness of the consequences of past conflicts in the Western Balkans that still influence present times. Furthermore, it empowered young people with the necessary knowledge on topics of remembrance, reconciliation and dealing with the past.
“The cultural and historical exchange that young participants experienced helped them for a mutual and better understanding of the past. The context given from different aspects of the history provided them a wider view of not only the past but also current political and social developments and the challenges for the future in the region. Through the testimonies of survivors and experts, the young participants became more aware of the consequences of different conflicts or totalitarian regimes in the region,” the Program Coordinator of IDMC Ms Mirela Sheraj underlined.
During their participation in the project activities, youth were provided with open spaces for exchange of opinions to identify common challenges in the process of dealing with the past as well as to explore new perspectives for bettering the present and future of the region. In addition, the project also helped them to connect with one another and break the existing stereotypes by learning new concepts and perspectives.
“This project is important to me because it connected young people from the Western Balkans to present their places and history,” Mr Amir Musić, project participant, stated.
“We are focused on the common future of our region and this gives me more willingness and desire to contribute to peacebuilding,” Mr Fisnik Xhelili, another project participant, added.
Through this project, young people reflected on the past of the region and shared their perspectives and hopes for the common future. Their reflections were collected and put together in a publication which was published at the end of the project. The publication, entitled “Western Balkan Youth Together for a Shared Future”, contains memory and reflection pieces on the role of the historical past in the present of the Western Balkans. These stories were collected and written by the young participants in the project.
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