My participation at the Youth Reconciliation Ambassadors Programme was one of the most interesting programmes I have taken part, where I had the chance to meet the young visionary people of the region. Consequently, after this extremely valuable experience that I have gain for six intensive days, I can easily say that the future of our region is not hopeless. The young people, or better to say, the future ambassadors of our region, motivated me to work much harder and to see the importance of regional cooperation between our countries and push forward the reconciliation process.
As a participant, I have tried first of all to present my country Kosova in the most truthful way and explain the problems my country faces, especially regarding the consequences that the war has left behind. These consequences consist of many wounds of war, such as massive killings, burned houses, destroyed institutions and most of all the missing persons, which is keeping these wounds open and contributing a lot to hinder the reconciliation process between the people of Kosova and Serbia. I have tried to emphasize the importance of taking the responsibility of these crimes by the government of Serbia and apologize for what happened during the 80’s and 90’s in the region, thus contributing to start a meaningful and fruitful dialogue between our governments and an honest cooperation in many fields in order to convince each other and the whole world that peace is possible in this part of the world. This of course does not exclude the responsibility of the Government of Kosova to do their part regarding the missing persons from the Serbian side and the right of Kosovo Serbians to return to their homes and enjoy their minority rights. This would of course pave a safe road for our countries towards the EU integration process.
During different lectures and discussions, I have tried to emphasize that one of the main elements of transition to a democratic country and market economy in former communist countries is the institutional reform. In this regard, my country, Kosova, presents a relatively special case. It is a country where during the 90’s the Serbian government suspended the parliament and government and imposed the direct rule through police force where the Albanians were fired from their jobs, their schools were closed, they were denied access to state-run health care, and they lost administrative control of the province. Moreover, Kosova is a country that has come out of the war with terrible damages. As a result, the transition process could rather be considered as the institutional building, given that it started almost from zero.
The building and reforming of institutions in combination with the reconstruction of war damages required and still requires strong foreign assistance and domestic well-educated, experienced and committed human resources. In this regard, I would like to mention the presence of the Ambassador of Kosova in Serbia, Mr. Valdet Sadiku as lecturer in this programme, who attracted the attention of the whole young generation who were eager to know more about the actual relations between Kosova and Serbia, especially the actual dialogue on agreement between our countries. This shows the commitment of young generation to push things forward and try to find solutions for the problems that concern our societies. In addition, the need for capacity building is especially evident in the face of the process of SAA from both our countries, which is very much related to the actual dialogue.
Considering the above, one of the most promising approaches to addressing these serious issues and to fasten reconciliation and cooperation, is to take under consideration very seriously the prevention of ethnic hatred, especially through discouraging the radical views and the contra productive propaganda spread through irresponsible media and especially careless politicians, who are holding our future isolated inside their corrupted and not visionary minds. This could be accomplished through organizing more often this kind of seminars and conferences, where youth has the chance to meet each other and feel free to express their feeling and ideas regarding regional cooperation and the future of our countries.
The actual situation, in interaction with me being interested in contributing to the reconciliation process in the region, evoked my interest for attending the Youth Reconciliation Ambassadors Programme in a country, such as Serbia, being the state with which my country Kosova has been in conflict for many years, which unfortunately ended up in a terrible war.
Given that young ambassadors envision themselves as part of region’s future political elite, thus contributing to the reconciliation process and the establishment of well-being for our region, and given that our countries need young open-minded ambassadors to step in and guarantee that human rights and positive policies are at place, it is extremely important to work more on this agenda and contribute to overcome the hatred between our countries. A chance for doing so is by keeping alive the spirit of the Young Ambassadors Programme. This programme will help and guide us in enriching our view towards future cooperation, exploiting and improving our knowledge for each other. It will allow us to understand the mistakes of the past and make us stronger and wiser to create a better and more promising future. Moreover, trying to transfer the knowledge and experience I gained to my counterparts in Kosova would be a challenge I am eagerly looking forward to.
I strongly believe and I feel confident that the young generation represented by the young Ambassadors who participated from different countries of former Yugoslavia will advance the situation of our region to a different level, through authentic new ideas and strong commitment, fostering in this way peaceful development of the region.