The Cooperation and Development Institute (CDI) in partnership with Hanns Seidel Foundation, organized on the 9th November 2017, the side event "Connecting Youth: the other convergence engine of Western Balkans".
The side event was organized along the Third Tirana Conference on Berlin Process that CDI organizes on 9-10 November in Tirana, bringing attention on the youth of the Western Balkans region and specifically on youth connectivity. The keynote speech was delivered by the Albanian National Coordinator for the Regional Economic Area, Dr. Milena Harito, who emphasized the importance of regional connectivity and the cooperation at the political and youth level, being initiated by the Berlin Process. Regional cooperation is an important tool that can bring youngsters together and increase their personal development and access to the labour market.
Following, Alida Vracic and Matteo Bonomi from Populari Think Tank, presented their study "The rise of the underdog? Economy of the Western Balkans". Their findings suggested that there is a gap between the youth of the Western Balkans and economics, where the youth in the region fails to access economic information, understand it or contribute to economic policies of their own countries. Thus, the research greatly contributes to the socio-economic development debate of the region and to the promotion of a simplified communication of economics issues to the public.
Director of CDI Krisela Hackaj, and Milica Skiljevic and Dafina Peci respectively from the National Youth Councils of Serbia and Albania, both partners of this platform, presented the online platform of Western Balkans Youth Cooperation Platform (WBYPC) run by CDI and aiming to contribute to the needs in increasing access to youth data and knowledge, networking and youth related activities and events related. WBYPC is a tool for youth organizations, informal movements or young individuals to register, find partners in the region, suggest project ideas, get notifications for project calls related to WB6 youth or get notified for project ideas. Illustrations on the main functionalities of the platform were made, and youngsters were encouraged to provide suggestions on how the platform could better serve the growing needs for youth exchanges in the region.