"Regional Youth Exchange Association" is a joint project of Youth Initiatives for Human Rights from Serbia, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina which aims to establish an institutionalized Regional Youth Exchange Program modeled after the Franco-German Youth Exchange Office which is active for 60 years and has had a great role in the reconciliation process between France and Germany after WWII. Experiences that YIHRs had with youth exchanges in the region and its effects on reconciliation as well as the potential for a multiplication of this effect through institutionalization have inspired this project. Regional YIHR Network has drafted a Memorandum on the Initiative to form the Regional Youth Exchange Association.
Project will lead up to developing a model of institutionalization of the Regional Youth Exchange Association through a series of meetings and consultations with insitutional stakeholders and representatives of the civil society. In each country National conferences were held where representatives of the institutions, civil society and experts were present and the needs and posibilites of the Regional Youth Exchange Office were explored. Report from Zagreb National Conference 2015: "Regional Youth Exchange Program: needs and possibilities" Report from Belgrade National Conference 2015: "Region as it should be: Advancement of regional youth cooperation" On the International Day of Youth, August 12th 2015., we have published a Declaration signed by over 50 CSOs and youth wings of political parties from the region stating their support to the foundation of a Regional Youth Exchange Office. On the Vienna Western Balkans Summit, August 27th 2015., a Declaration of fostering youth cooperation in the region was signed by the governments of Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Montenegro giving their support to founding the Regional Youth Exchange Office.Croatian representatives were present in the role of EU observers but we will continue to advocate that Croatia is institutionally involved in the exchange program. The Regional conference was be held in Sarajevo, October 14-16. 2015. where the Sarajevo Youth Summit Declaration was brought asking the governments:
- To make concrete steps in establishing the Regional Youth Cooperation Office of the Western Balkans and create grounds for full reconciliation between our peoples, process led by the new generations. First step must be involvement of Croatia as an equal partner in this process;
- To fully support the RECOM Initiative and after 20 years since wars in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia and 16 years since the war in Kosovo, 14 years after the conflict in Macedonia pay full respect for all the victims of wars in ex-Yugoslavia;
- To immediately tackle the issues of freedom of movement, especially between Kosovo and Serbia and Bosnia and Hercegovina and Kosovo;
- To focus on solving all open issues burdening the advancement of our region, especially issues within Bosnia and Herzegovina and relations between Kosovo and Serbia;
- To pay rigorous attention to adoption and full implementation of laws guaranteeing rights of all minority groups, in all of the region’s states;
- To encourage youth activism, provide opportunities for new generations to engage in reforming processes and gradually take leadership roles in the region’s future;
- To show solidarity and offer coordinated region’s solution to the ongoing humanitarian crisis that the refuges passing our countries are currently facing.
In October 2015.a Regional Youth Cooperation Office Working Group was formed consisting of 13 members, representatives from the governments and civil society from the six countries of Western Balkans. The Working Group has a mandate to propose the Statutes, organisational structure, financial plan and the mission of the future Regional Youth Cooperation Office of the Western Balkans. The Working Group published its proposals on http://rycowesternbalkans.org/.
In June 2016 a Call for Regional Study Visits was published.
Project is financed by: