Young Activists Present Conclusions After Eight-Day Youth Conference in Sarajevo

The International Youth Conference organised as part of the “Mlada Evropa” initiative was concluded on Thursday, with a formal press conference at the hotel Hollywood, with presentations of results and demands of 110 young activists, who exchanged opinions and experiences, their attitudes, concerns and dreams.

As part of the 8-day conference, activists from over 20 European countries visited Sarajevo, Banja Luka, Višegrad, Srebrenica, Mostar, Blagaj, Me?ugorje and Tuzla.

Jasmin Beši?, Director of the Institute for Youth Development KULT, took the opportunity to point out that conferences such as this one should foster genuine values in youth and emphasise unity and not differences, which, unfortunately, is not the case in all the countries in the region or the world. Beši? particularly emphasised the fact that the Conference was the first instance of cooperation between the Institute and the Franco-German Youth Office, stating that he hopes the Institute will continue cooperating with previous and new partners on projects as successful as the Conference, which send a message of peace and fostering values in youth from across the globe.

A hundred years after the beginning of WWI, we ask ourselves if we have learned the lesson about the consequences left by wars, especially on young people.

“By bringing 110 young people from 21 countries to Bosnia and Herzegovina, we want to show that youth do not care for borders, and that they want to live in peace. Unfortunately, the number of young people joining nationalist movements is increasing. That is why youth must work on preventing such movements from gaining more ground. We also have to put an end to the trend of using modern technologies for spreading hatred, and encourage the opposite. We must raise our voices against politics touting wars as supposed solutions to problems, and using them as an excuse.” stated Beši?.

The Cultural Attaché of the German Embassy in BiH, Jens Wagner, said that young Europeans discussed numerous topics, such as the crisis in Ukraine, EU enlargement, strengthening of the international exchange in the areas of culture and education, and expressed concern over the rise of nationalism and xenophobia in particular countries.

“The young activists ended the conference with conclusions on issues which they consider to be crucial for European citizens at this particular time. They emphasised the need for establishing a European youth association, demanded a firmer policy for fighting nationalism and xenophobia, better education and more student exchange options” said Wagner.

He added that the organisers would also like to hold similar conferences in Tuzla, Banja Luka and Mostar this year, and mentioned an exchange programme for high school students in BiH and EU member states.  

“We have already arranged for 550 high school students to visit EU member state, while the same number of students visit BiH, in order to get to know different cultures and educational systems,” Wagner explained.

Project Coordinator at the Institute for Youth Development KULT, Nejra Neimarlija, stated that the conference united youth from the region, as well as those from the EU and the US. 

“During the “Mlada Evropa” Conference youth promoted peace, peaceful coexistence, trust and socialisation which became a strong connection of international trust. They were all focused on one goal – worldwide open dialogue of youth. It was important for us that the International Youth Conference, as part of the “Mlada Evropa” initiative was held in Bosnia and Herzegovina, because our country historically represents a microcosm of Europe, because of all the differences which enrich us and represent the true image of united Europe”, Neimarlija emphasised.

The conference was organised by the German Embassy in BiH, the Institute for Youth Development KULT and the Franco-German Youth Office, with the financial support of the European Union. 


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