TIRANA – In a significant step towards fostering regional cooperation and intercultural dialogue in the Western Balkans, the Secretary General of the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO), Albert Hani, and Thilo Schroeter, Deputy Ambassador of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Tirana, joined hands to sign the Agreement for the “Western Balkans Youth Cultural Fund”.
The project’s primary objective is to unite the cultural scenes from in the region by supporting grassroots cultural initiatives. By doing so, it aims to facilitate regional cooperation and mutual understanding, focusing on intercultural dialogue, peacebuilding, and the reconciliation process.
With this initiative, RYCO aims to drive positive social changes and enhance cooperation among young people and cultural practitioners in the Western Balkans. The project will support up to 560 cultural practitioners, youths, and activists in implementing creative solutions to pressing issues in the region.
The “Western Balkans Youth Cultural Fund Project” will provide support to 48 projects through the “Spark Fund”, 56 projects through “Cool Art Events”, and 24 grants through “Peace Champions”. These grants will empower individuals and groups to develop and execute projects that address crucial challenges faced by the region. Additionally, 7 workshops per year will be implemented for making sustainable social changes through arts and culture targeting cultural practitioners and youth workers, Regional Trainings for representatives of the selected grantees for art and creative activism methodology and regional kick-off project meeting, and regional project closing conference.
The agreement marks a significant milestone as the German government demonstrates its commitment to fostering good-neighbourly relations and mutual understanding in the Western Balkans. By entrusting RYCO with the administration of the Youth Cultural Fund, both parties emphasize the importance of promoting reconciliation and harmony through cultural exchanges and artistic expression.