International Cooperation and Overcoming Ethnic Barriers as Basis for Youth Progress in BiH

The Institute for Youth Development KULT in cooperation with the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, is continuing with activities within the Mlada Evropa initiative. To that purpose, one of three planned regional conferences was held in Mostar today. The remaining two conferences will be held in Banja Luka and Tuzla.

During the regional conference in Mostar, Youth Officers, the representatives of youth organisations and youth leaders discussed the importance of active citizenship, especially in a country where only slightly more than 50% of eligible voters vote. The participants also discussed the importance of international connectedness and overcoming ethnic barriers with the aim of ensuring a better future for youth. These are the topics chosen by young people from 22 different countries who attended the international youth conference held in Sarajevo, in June 2014, said Nejra Neimarlija Roi?, coordinator of the initiative “Mlada Evropa”.

The goal of the regional conference in Mostar, held on November 7, 2014, is to provide a meeting ground for youth officers, youth leaders, youth council leaders from FBiH and Republika Srpska, and representatives of the government sector. The participants of the conference were addressed by Adnan Husi? from the Commission for Coordination of Youth Issues of the Ministry of Civil Affairs of BiH, who talked about the position of youth and ways of improving it.

One of the most important aspects of the work performed by the German Embassy in BiH is the direct involvement of youth and intensification of contact with their peers from other parts of the world. In that way they expand their horizons and in doing so overcome ethnic prejudice. During our conferences in Sarajevo and Mostar, we had the opportunity to bring together young activists who exchanged experiences, dreams and concerns. “I am impressed with the creativity and energy of this young generation. I am certain that they will find a way to solve the problems, and that BiH will start moving towards our common goal – EU integration, emphasized Jens Wagner, the first Secretary for Culture, Media and Protocol of the German Embassy.

The conference in Mostar comprised two thematic segments, starting with the address of Mr Wagner, and representatives of the government sector in BiH, dealing primarily with youth issues.

The second part consisted of workshops on the topics of “Overcoming Ethnic Divisions”, “International connectedness” and “Active Citizenship”. The young participants also conducted a SWOT analysis of the position of youth in BiH, with the goal of the workshop being an analysis of the strengths, weaknesses as well as opportunities and threats faced by youth in BiH.

The final goal of all the conferences is to produce a unified document about the position of youth in BiH, offering solutions for youth issues, which will be made by the Institute for Youth Development KULT.


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