Youth Reconciliation Ambassadors, organized by the Youth Education Committee in Belgrade, Serbia, and financed by the British Council, is one of my most interesting and unique experiences.
Less than two decades after the end of bloody wars in the former Yugoslavia, when the wounds of war of tens of thousands of families remain open, communication between young people of all ethnic groups in the region is key to awareness about war crimes and crimes against humanity, for the improvement between the peoples of the former state and, eventually, to the reconciliation process.
After having submitted an essay and providing a comprehensive presentation of the program in all Kosovo media, I organized a peer-to-peer presentation with 16 persons, most of whom students of the University of Prishtina, but also students from international universities and government and civil society representatives.
I informed the audience on the details of the program, including the agenda and institutions that we visited. My discussion was focused on the reconciliation process and media misinformation about the wars in the region, including the violation of human rights. In this regard, I stressed that young people from Serbia, but also from Bosnia and Herzegovina, who were part of the program, even to this day were uninformed or misinformed about the events in Kosovo, namely the sufferings experienced by the Kosovans, the Albanians in particular.
I told the participants that the youth from Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia often disagreed on various issues. However, I added, the greatest value of the program was the constructive debate among the participants on each topic and the creation of bridges of cooperation. This aroused the interest of the audience, whom promised my support to apply for future editions of the program.
In conclusion, my main thesis was that without apology by the Serbian state for Serbia’s war crimes and crimes against humanity in Kosovo, without revealing the fate of the missing persons of Kosovo Albanians, and of other ethnic groups, and without the punishment of all war criminals, regardless of their ethnicity, there can be no sustainable reconciliation in Kosovo. I expressed my skepticism on whether the appeasement policy of many actors of the international community towards Serbia would will reap fruits as it happened in the case of Germany. Nevertheless, I stated that communication between the youth of the region is necessary and crucial to the uneasy reconciliation process.