ThinkYoung to host conference to empower young Kosovars

Date

02 Mar 2012

Sections

Global Europe

“SUSTAINABLE KOSOVO: ADVOCACY FOR YOUNG PEOPLE”

March 5th, from 1.30pm, Rue de la Science, 14,1050 Brussels

Brussels, 2 March 2012- ThinkYoung, a Brussels-based think tank working to promote the youth’s interests in the European institutions, will host a conference about Kosovo’s issue on visa liberalisation on the 5th of March at 1.30pm in their offices of Rue de la Science, 14 b . Notable speakers include MEP Doris Pack, Kosovo’s first Ambassador to Belgium H.E. Illir Dugolli and MEP Ulrike Lunacek.

The event arrives only one and a half months after Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Home Affairs, launched a visa liberalisation dialogue with Kosovo, and only a few days after the EU's Foreign Ministers and MEPs recommended that Serbia is granted candidate status to join the EU. Until now, Kosovo’s requests to be part of the Schengen agreement have been rejected, meaning that its citizens cannot access visa-free travel across the EU. According to ThinkYoung, the situation has particularly damaged the Kosovar youth, which constitutes more or less 50% of the population in the country and is therefore key for its development.

The conference is part of ThinkYoung’s ongoing project in Kosovo, “Advocacy for young people in Kosovo”, which started in July 2009 sparked by the idea to bridge the gap between youngsters from Eastern and Western European countries and reduce regional disparities. The first edition of the project included the documentary “A po vjen n’Prishtinë – Wanna come to Prishtina?” and a conference with several representatives of Kosovo and the EU institutions, among other activities.

After proving the obstacles of the young citizens of Prishtina to travel and study abroad, the second edition of the project focused on the general development of the country. The activities included the documentary “This Summer in Kosovo”, a survey about “Political involvement of the youth in Kosovo” and a study trip with 5 young Europeans from countries which have positioned themselves against visa liberalisation for

Kosovo.



The survey's preminary results show that, while 61% of those interviewed consider Kosovo to be a democratic country, 71% also declare that the current political institutions and representatives do not inspire confidence; 32% pointed to corruption of government official as the main reason for this.

The conference will present and interpret the results of this survey, as well as the conclusions of ThinkYoung's three-years long research project. The youth-led organization has concluded that freedom of movement is a fundamental element for Kosovo’s development, The organisation’s belief is that not only Kosovo but also the EU could profit from visa liberalization through the potential of the Kosovar youth.

For a full picture of ThinkYoung’s activities and the “Sustainable Kosovo” project in particular, please visit www.thinkyoung.eu .

ThinkYoung contact

Leire Ariz

Media Officer

leire@thinkyoung.eu

Phone: (+32) 470.12.41.13


PRESS RELEASE

PROGRAMME OF THE CONFERENCE

13.30 / 13.45 Opening and registration

13.45 / 14.00 Introduction to the current situation in Kosovo by study trip participants and presentation of survey rresults.

14.00 / 14.45 Panel discussion 1) Give and take - Sustainable development of Kosovo/ the asset of the youth.

Key speakers:

H.E. Ilir Gugolli, Kosovo Ambassador

Ulrike Lunacek, MEP The Green Alternative

Alexandra Stiglmeyer, general secretary for the European Stability Initiative (TBC) 

Stephanie Harfensteller, project manager at ThinkYoung

Moderator:

Andrea Gerosa, founder of ThinkYoung.

15.00 / 15.30 Documentary “This summer in Kosovo” directed by Davide Arosio and Alberto Gerosa

15.30 / 16.00 Panel discussion 2) Intergenerational exchange on Kosovo

Key speakers:

Doris Pack, MEP European People's Party

Participants of the study trip organized by ThinkYoung (TBC)

16.00 Closing cocktail

**For organisational purposes, please register here.