SOG Youth Workshop Cologne

From 4th to 6th September in Cologne, the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung was invited to participate in an international workshop titled "Shaping Young People's Future in the Western Balkans" organized by the Südosteuropagesellschaft.

The workshop was structured around the findings of a comparative regional report on youth aspirations, views and values the FES published beginning of 2019. Mirna Jusić, one of the authors of the regional report, presented some main findings. The event itself consisted of closed debating sessions and public discussions that focused on the results of the youth study. The workshop managed to gather leading experts, government officials, non-governmental organizations and activists who work with youth or are otherwise advocating for youth needs.

The welcoming note was delivered by Dr hc Gernot Erler, former Member of German Parliament and German social democrat. He congratulated the FES for "conducting an extensive study about young people in the period of 2018/2019, which offered a broad understanding of the issues that youth in SEE are faced with".

Dr Erler continued by saying that the overarching results pointed to the complexity of the situations in the region and the respective solutions they required. He based his example on the aspects of education and mobility – which had come to be a double-edged sword for the countries in Southeast Europe.

On the one hand, based on the findings, education and mobility within the European Union supported the development of skills and led to an increase in political interest, which made youth more active and involved in their societies. On the other hand, youth from the WB countries were also more likely to emigrate from their countries permanently.  Increased mobility might thus lead to increased brain drain while at the same time showcasing the potential for governments to begin advancing participatory attitudes of youth in the region through educational mobility.

The  event was described as successful by participants, who underlined the valuable contribution the FES research made in their analysis and engagement.  

The full regional report is available for  download.

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