For 3-day long in Tirana the Western Balkans Civil Society Summit took place, where more than 100 civil society representatives gathered together to discuss about the future development of the region and the civil society sector to better enhance the regional cooperation. During these days many panels were held with high representatives from the governments, from different sectors, and also high representatives of international and regional organizations in the region, to discuss with the representatives which are some of the challenges and success until now.
Western Balkans Fund organized for the first time this summit in Tirana with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, making this event and important milestone in the regional cooperation process. Preparations have started moths before, and concluded successfully 3-working days, where some of the most important topics were debated and discussed to conclude with recommendations for the governments. Participants came from all over the region, people who were experienced in the field and which were selected in a very rigorous process by WBF. They gave a great contribution to the summit brining their best experiences and also challenges which our region has to deal with.
Important representatives from governments, international organizations and civil society organizations had their discussions in the panel. In the first day to greet the Summit the special guest was Mr. Seiichiro Taguchi – Director, Central & South-Eastern Europe Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, but also different politicians had their speech like Nenad Koprivica – Director General, Ministry of Sports and Youth, Montenegro, Zoran Popov – Secretary of State, MFA North Macedonia, Mimi Kodheli – Chair, Foreign Affairs Committee, Assembly of Republic of Albania and Andor F. David – Executive Director, International Visegrad Fund.
We had as well some important representatives form regional organizationshaving their discussion Fatos Mustafa – Deputy Secretary General, RYCO, Juliana Hoxha – Executive Director, Partners Albania, Bojana Dujkovic – Board Member, EUROCLIO, BiH, Uranik Begu – Executive Director, Innovation Centre Kosovo* (ICK) and Irina Ljubic – Executive Director, Jelena Santic Foundation. Part of the Western Balkans Civil Society Summit were as well Jelica Minic – Vice President, European Movement in Serbia, Bardhyl Jashari – Executive Director, Metamorphosis Foundation, Mirela Rajkovic – Executive Director, SEEYN, Igor Milosevic – Programme Manager, ADP ZID, Montenegro.
The second day of the summit was dedicated to the working groups, giving a full attention to participants to discuss among each other what should be some recommendations for the governments to improve the regional cooperation and tackle some of the most important challenges. There were four working groups during this day focusing on the topics which are key priorities for WBF like Education & Scientific Exchanges, Cultural Cooperation, Sustainable Development and a working group with representatives from Think Tanks. In the end working groups came out with their recommendations which were presented to the representatives of the governments and will be published. To hear and also discuss the recommendations which came out of the working groups in the summit were present Oltion Rrumbullaku Deputy Minister of Education, Sports and Youth of Albania, Almir Sahovic Assistant Minister–Ambassador,MFA-BiH, Pavle Jankovic – Head of Department for Regional Initiatives, MFA Serbia, Sokol Dedja – Deputy Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of Albania and H.E. Makoto Ito – Ambassador of Japan in Albania. They listened to the recommendations and also took commitments to have a much supportive approach from their governments to work together with the Western Balkans Fund in enhancing regional cooperation.