Supporting Democratization and Reconciliation Process in the Western Balkans


Project Description: 

After two decades of ethnic conflict, the Western Balkan region still remains fragile. The pace of the reform process is progressing slower than expected and the unpredictability of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and its consequences might become a strong destabilizing factor for the reconciliation and further democratisation of the region.

The project aims at supporting the democratisation and reconciliation process in the region by engaging and raising the capacities of young professionals and journalists from the six Western Balkan countries, enhancing the trust and peace-building efforts in societies.

While reconciliation is crucial for stabilisation and sustainable development in the region, it is also one of the key issues that need to be solved before further EU enlargement.

GLOBSEC together with its project partners identified two groups of stakeholders who play an important role in promoting democracy, multiplying reconciliation efforts and overcoming the divisive narratives in their respective communities, countries and the region as a whole: young professionals (leaders of CSOs, representatives of political parties), journalists, bloggers, vloggers, analysts, media commentators, etc.

Through the project activities, GLOBSEC together with its partners in the V4 and the Western Balkans will identify the young leaders of the local communities in all Western Balkan countries, train them in various skills in democracy promotion, media literacy, negotiation and conflict resolution, reconciliation and policy-making, and then subsequently develop a network of Ambassadors for reconciliation who will continue to promote ideas of regional cooperation.

Open call for applications

Within the framework of the project Supporting Democratization and Reconciliation Process in the Western Balkans, we were looking to recruit a cohort of 30 young professionals: leaders of CSOs, representatives, community leaders, political parties representatives, journalists and online activists e.g., bloggers, vloggers, commentators, that would embark on a series of activities from January until September 2021.

Through a series of online and in-person activities, the project aims to help our leaders improve various skills ranging from a community organization to democracy promotion, media literacy, critical thinking, negotiation, conflict resolution, reconciliation & policy-making. Subsequently, the participants will form a network of “Youth Ambassadors for Reconciliation” who will continue to promote ideas of regional cooperation across the whole region of the Western Balkans and in their respective communities.

During GLOBSEC Bratislava Forum 2021, the selected young leaders from the WB6 had an insightful exchange of views with high-level policymakers, think-tankers and academics which they used to discuss their policy proposals and some of the current challenging afflicting their region. The discussions circled around the EU’s role in the Western Balkans, the topic of enlargement, and bottom-up initiatives and tools to foster civic participation and reconciliation. These were held with, amongst others, H.E. Miroslav Lajčák (EU’s Special Representative for Belgrade-Pristina dialogue and other regional issues, European External Action Service), Katarína Mathernová (Deputy Director-General for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, European Commission), Vladimír Bilčík (Chair of Delegation to the EU-Montenegro Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee, European Parliament), and Željana Zovko (Vice-Chair of Committee on Foreign Affairs, European Parliament).

Following their participation at GLOBSEC Forum in June, the young professionals from the WB6 undertook workshops in Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and in Durres (Albania), which were composed of lectures given by experts from GLOBSEC (SK), Association for International Affairs (CZ), Transparency International Hungary (HU), Political Accountability Foundation (PL), Youth Center "Perspektiva" (ALB) as well as Humanity in Action (BiH) and Horizon Civitas (RNM). The agenda combined an open discussion on topics such as election observation, disinformation, civic activism, and the rule of law, with a conversation with local opinion-makers. The project activity drew on the first online workshop in order to equip the young leaders with practical skills and far-reaching knowledge about regional challenges, to be utilised in their communities.

Check all requirements and eligibility criteria in this document. (in Albanian / in Bosnian)

Project partners:

Visegrad FundGLOBSEC


Discover in the Documents section below three policy proposals developed by the participants of the project.