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The New Democratic Wo/Men of Western Balkans: Increasing Youth Participation in Democracy PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 18 October 2021 13:12

The Euro – Atlantic Council of North Macedonia, together with partnering organizations from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Poland, Montenegro, Slovakia, Hungary and Czech Republic was part of a Visegrad Fund-supported project: “The New Democratic Wo/Men of the Western Balkans – Increasing Youth Participation in Democracy”, which aim was to increase the awareness of democratic processes among the youth of the Western Balkans and enhance youth participation in policy-making processes.

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A total of 108 active and aspiring young leaders (18-30 y/o) from North Macedonia and the region got involved in various real political issues that challenge their nations, solved problems faced by nations (modeled on a variety of actual problems), learned about the importance of leadership, organization, and getting involved in local and national activism, and adapted their knowledge and skills to be able to become an active citizen promoting democracy.

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The three meetings (two online and a final event in Sarajevo, BiH), were consisted of seven modules: introduction to democracy (political process and administration), linking legislation of practice (impact of legislation on the social system, business environment, etc.), local politics (vertical division of power and competencies), active civil sector (human rights and watchdogs of democracy), communication and campaigns (ethics and integrity, public speaking, and political marketing), project management (management, fundraising, and stakeholders mapping), critical thinking (argumentation and fake news). Ms. Dina Arnaut from the Euro – Atlantic Council of North Macedonia gave online lectures on Political Polarization as a Threat to Democracy (1st Online Workshop) and Civil Sector as a Watchdog of Democracy: Filling the Gaps in Developing Countries (2nd Online Workshop).

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Between July 2-5, 2021, the 3rd International Workshop took place in Hotel Europa in Sarajevo. Twelve young participants from North Macedonia had the opportunity to participate in lectures of the two modules set up by the project: Project Management and Critical Thinking. The experts representing the implementing consortium from the Western Balkan and Visegrad 4 countries covered the two modules. Ms. Dina Arnaut opened this event with a lecture on Fake News and Disinformation Narratives.

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During the event, participants had an opportunity to practice their negotiation skills and teamwork in the international environment created by the framework of the project. First, they had to unite the political and economic arrangement of their fictional countries. Second, they had to initiate joint international projects that demonstrate that the six fictional can cooperate effectively and unite for mutual benefits.

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The participants also met with Patrik Turosik, the Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of the Slovak Republic in Sarajevo and with Lejla Mamut, the Programme Officer, Gender Issues, OSCE Sarajevo to discuss the current challenges the region of Western Balkans faces. Ivan Iliev, Research Fellow, Strategic Analysis presented the birth of the Visegrad Four cooperation platform. Matus Babulik, the Vice-Chairman of Civic Democratic Youth talked about how engagement in politics can be beneficial both for development as well as for one`s carrier opportunities.

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