Youth Exchange as Motor for Regional Cooperation

PODGORICA – Youth Exchange as Motor for Regional Cooperation conference is taking place in Podgorica, Montenegro. The conference, organized by RYCO in cooperation with the OSCE Mission to Montenegro, aims to discuss the results of the Berlin Process with a special focus on the youth cooperation. The event gathered ambassadors, MPs, representatives of international organizations as well as the first RYCO grantees in Montenegro.

Speaking at the opening of the conference, Minister of Sports of Montenegro Mr Nikola Janović pointed out that the Berlin Process has a significant meaning for the Western Balkans since it is one of the rear initiatives that give concrete results. He underlined that the governments of the region have to focus on the implementation of agreements reached not only within the Berlin Process. The Minister underlined that the young people should be one of the key actors of a new region’s era in order to actively participate in making the region better. Mr Janović concluded by saying that Montenegro will continue supporting RYCO and is willing to support it even more in order to broaden the scope of RYCO.

RYCO Secretary General Mr Đuro Blanuša said that the young people of the region need to get a chance to move freely in the region, to meet their peers, build reconciliation bridges and that RYCO is working hard to provide this to them. He underlined that connecting young people in the region, as well as increasing their mobility and implementation of intercultural youth exchanges is one of the best ways to fight interethnic distances, break stereotypes and prejudices. Mr Blanuša thanked the Government of Montenegro for the continuous support for RYCO since the process of its establishment, but also thanked the OSCE Mission in Montenegro as one of the key partners of RYCO in Montenegro.

Head of the OSCE Mission to Montenegro Ms Maryse Daviet said that OSCE welcomes the strong commitment of the Government of Montenegro to RYCO, both as a regional initiative and in its support to the RYCO Local Branch Office in Montenegro. She underlined that RYCO provides the foundation for young people to contribute in a meaningful way to regional cooperation. She concluded by reassuring the participants that the Mission remains fully committed to supporting RYCO to engage youth at the regional level and national level.

RYCO Local Branch Officer in Montenegro Mr Edin Koljenović said that the achieved results of the RYCO’s work are the product of cooperation between the organization and a number of stakeholders, notably with the Ministry of Sports of Montenegro. He highlighted the cooperation with the OSCE Mission to Montenegro that supports the institutional development of RYCO but also contribute to strengthening capacities of civil society organizations and secondary schools from Montenegro.

The conference continued with the three panel discussions participated by Ambassador of Germany in Montenegro Mr Robert Weber, Ambassador of France in Montenegro Ms Christine Toudic, Head of the EU Delegation in Montenegro Mr Aivo Orav, Ambassador of Poland in Montenegro Mr Artur Dmochowski, Members of the Parliament of Montenegro Mr Nikola Rakočević and Mr Dritan Abazović. Moreover, the speakers include representatives of RYCO and organizations and schools supported by RYCO within its first Open Call for Project Proposals.

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