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Source: Regional Youth Cooperation Office datum March 2, 2020 

RYCO and UNICEF Strengthen Capacities of Western Balkan Teachers

05.03.2020

TIRANA – Within the project “Supporting the Western Balkan’s Collective Leadership on Reconciliation: Building Capacity and Momentum for RYCO” supported by the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund, RYCO and UNICEF gathered 24 teachers from across the Western Balkans to strengthen their capacities to engage their students in intercultural dialogue, conflict analysis and peacebuilding activities. The three-day training that kicked off in Tirana on Monday will present the participants with a toolkit on the above-mentioned topics.

The welcoming remarks were delivered by RYCO Deputy Secretary General Mr Fatos Mustafa, Deputy Minister of Education, Sport and Youth of Albania Ms Lorena Haxhiu and UNICEF Representative in Albania Mr Roberto De Bernardi.

RYCO Deputy Secretary-General thanked the UN agencies for the provided support and underlined the importance of working with educational institutions for building a peaceful region.

“The teachers are the ones working with young people in their formative years and that is why your contribution to young people’s development is invaluable,” Mr Mustafa said and added that reaching peace in just one of the goals but maintaining it is impossible without the involvement of a range of stakeholders, especially those working in educational institutions.

Albanian Deputy Minister of Education, Sport and Youth presented the ongoing programs designed for young people in Albania and pointed out that thanks to the agreements between the Western Balkan six governments young people are now taking an important role in regional cooperation.

“This workshop is a unique opportunity to get prepared for teaching your students the values of peace, democracy and human rights,” Ms Haxhiu concluded.

Mr Bernardi hailed the role teachers have in a society, underlining that the influence and positive impact they have on youth is immense.

“Teachers are true agents of peace and learning from other people’s mistakes and successes, which you will have a chance to do through the toolkit, is always important. Through this training we are contributing to building lasting peace in this region which is of high importance for Europe,” the UNICEF Representative highlighted.

The training is being led by Ms Sara Clarke-Habibi who said that building peace is social, political, economic, moral, psychological and spiritual work. She added that each generation has a chance to learn from the past and build new relationships that will create better wellbeing for them and others in the region.

“We are planting seeds. With persistence, support and professional development we can make things better,” Ms Clarke-Habibi pointed out.

One of the teachers participating in the training underlined the importance of such events by saying that her students have a lot of questions about the past that are difficult to answer and added that she believes that this training will help her and her colleagues to answer these questions properly.

The project “Supporting the Western Balkan’s Collective Leadership on Reconciliation: Building Capacity and Momentum for RYCO” is being implemented in partnership between RYCO, UNDP, UNFPA and UNICEF with the financial support of the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund.  The project runs from October 2018 to December 2020, across the Western Balkans 6 and aims to build capacities of RYCO, high schools in the region but also of young people, especially hard to reach youth.