The Western Balkans Fund, International Visegrad Fund, and Japan agreed to extend their cooperation with a very important project, “FIRE Project, promoting culture of tolerance and mutual respect within two regions (WB6 and V4)”.
His Excellency, the Japanese Ambassador to Tirana, Mitsuyuki TAKADA, and WBF Executive Director, Gjergj Murra, signed today the cooperation agreement during a visit to the headquarters of the WBF.
The IVF Deputy Executive Director, Marianna Neupauerová was also present through a Zoom connection.
In his speech, Ambassador TAKADA underlined that the financing of FIRE by Japan is a clear sign of his country’s commitment towards peace, stability, and development in the region.
Mr. Murra added that Japan’s support has already improved our lives and that despite the geographical distance, Japan is a great and very close friend to us.
Miss Neuparova highlighted the importance of this project in the growth of the IVF and WBF partnership.
She also expressed satisfaction that after many years in which IVF provided the Fund with very important financial and technical support, WBF has reached a point in which it can be considered an equal partner.
The FIRE project is the third developed between Japan and WBF, after the Civil Society Summit of 2019-20 and the Sustainability of Civil Society Organisations in the Western Balkans Region 2020-21.
FIRE projects aim to promote freedom of expression as a fundamental human right and introduce legal mechanisms on hate speech and defamation in both regions of Western Balkans and Visegrad.
Specific objectives of the project are to create an ecosystem that encourages open dialogue among stakeholders addressing all forms of hate speech and defamation.