BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA/MONTENEGRO/SERBIA – Supported by RYCO and the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund through the second RYCO Open Call for Project Proposals, the Association “Iskoristi Dan – Carpe Diem” from Bosnia and Herzegovina, in partnership with Srednjoškolski Centar “Nedžad Ibrišimović” Ilijaš from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Srednja Ekonomsko-Ugostiteljska Škola Bar from Montenegro and Srednja Ekonomsko Trgovinska Škola Bečej from Serbia, implemented the project “Youth in the Rocky Balkans”.
The project took place from December 2019 to October 2020 and raised awareness on the importance of intercultural learning and dialogue as well as cross-border youth cooperation. To ensure the exchange of diverse ideas and perspectives during the activities, the project focused on various areas such as democracy and human rights, religion and culture, art and identity.
“With Youth in and Rocky Balkans project we made a big step forward in many fields. Many young people travelled outside the places they live in for the first time and new friendships were born. I am very pleased that in addition to five thematic workshops during which they had the opportunity to exchange views, young people also used their free time to get to know and understand each other better,” Project Representative of the Association “Iskoristi Dan – Carpe Diem” Ms Elma Glamoč stated.
Young participants were provided with an opportunity to engage in dialogue about youth empowerment and development in the region, as well as to practice skills related to these topics through interactive workshops.
“I believe that projects like this encourage us to be confident, inform ourselves and broaden our knowledge on different topics,” one of the project participants Ms Marija Vuksanović emphasized.
Speaking of their learning experience, another project participant, Ms Radoslava Verkin added: “I really enjoyed the different types of workshops where I could learn from a lot of opinions and views. I believe that such projects are significantly reducing prejudice and social rejection, which unfortunately still exist.”
During the first months of the project implementation phase, participants had the opportunity to travel, visit new places and meet each other. However, despite the shift to the online space which took place during the COVID-19 developments they experienced an invaluable experience and made new friends.
“During Youth in the Rocky Balkans project, I experienced only beautiful and touching moments. I got to know my team from Ilijaš much better and made new friends with peers from Montenegro and Serbia. Our main differences do not lie in the names “Bosniak”, “Serb” and “Montenegrin” and they should never be a reason to build walls between us,” Ms Merjem Dedović underlined.
By the end of this project, young participants gained new skills in intercultural dialogue and fostered cross-border cooperation with their peers in the region which they intend to nourish and develop further.