Regional School for Diplomacy 2019: Skopje

From 6th to 9th of October, Skopje held the Regional School for Diplomacy organized by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of North Macedonia. The conference was titled: Building Bridges through Conflict Resolution in the Balkan Countries. The Prespa Agreement prompted this topic and can be defined as a unique diplomatic achievement for conflict resolution and cooperation among different actors in the region.

The aim of this school was to strengthen the connections among young diplomats in the region and discuss the implementation of the Prespa Agreement.

What are the lessons learned from the Prespa Agreement in regard to diplomatic negotiations and its regional/international implications? What role does soft power, civil society and cultural diplomacy play in the conflict resolution process? And how can the youth of the region be involved in building cross border bridges? The event brought young diplomats from 8 countries (Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia) together to engage with a variety of high-level speakers from the fields of politics, diplomacy, journalism, academia and civil society.

During the sessions, the participants discussed with the speakers the resolution of long-standing, regional disputes based on political will, diplomatic efforts, cultural activities and civil society cooperation across borders. Hence, the potentials and challenges as young diplomats in conflict resolution in the region were assessed by engaging with civil society, culture and youth. The establishment of a Greece-North Macedonia Youth Office was particularly relevant during the debates. In addition, a strong emphasis was put on creating a network, exchanging experiences and ideas as young diplomats in the region. All these topics were discussed in regard to the EU integration process.

The young diplomats concluded that the participation in the Regional School for Diplomacy 2019: Building Bridges through Conflict Resolution in the Balkan Countries offered an exceptional occasion for regional diplomatic interaction in order to strengthen a peaceful and united Europe.

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