The RYCO Local Branch Office in Montenegro in cooperation with the Ministry for Education, Science, Culture and Sports organised an Info session in Podgorica about the programme for the Western Balkans School Exchange “Superschools.” More than 30 professors and school directors got a chance to hear more about the new programme, the application process, finding partners on the platform, etc.

The RYCO Superschools is a programme for school exchanges in the Western Balkans that support peacebuilding and reconciliation processes, intercultural learning and dialogue among schools, students and their communities. By participating in the Superschools programme, secondary schools will have a chance to apply and, if selected, implement school-to-school exchanges as well as to participate in the programme’s activities dedicated to their capacity building, networking and cooperation. The proposed activities aim at making the Western Balkan societies more resilient to the political challenges of the region by empowering their youth to take active participation in intercultural dialogue and regional cooperation. An important priority for the youth exchange is to give all young people equal opportunities to access the exchange activities.

The Head of RYCO Local Branch Office to Montenegro Edin Koljenović, emphasised that the Superschools project is a RYCO flagship project, and also one of the results of the strong support of the EU and governments of Germany and France.

“In the next three years, we will have approximately 100 projects that will stimulate youth networking, intercultural dialogue, a culture of remembrance, reconciliation, youth activism, etc,” said Koljenović.

The Programme Manager for International Aid/Social Policy & Civil Society in the EU Delegation to Montenegro Ana Margarida Mariguesa said that she sincerely believe that young people have the power to create new energy and to start the processes of reconciliation, growth and prosperity that is very much needed in the Western Balkans region.

The European Union is here to support in changing things for the better, with your good ideas and great energy. The best results are achieved right after a big crisis as the one we face today. I enthusiastically support you to take advantage of the offered projects by RYCO, such as the Superschools project,” Mrs Mariguesa concluded.

The Charge d’Affaires at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Montenegro Christoph Breunig said that the “Superschools is an excellent programme in which the role of the headmasters and teachers is essential for its sustainable success. The Charge d’Affaires at the Embassy of the Republic of France in Montenegro Laurent Goncalves said that the French Government will continue to support the RYCO mission in the region because it unequivocally promotes values cherished by the European Union.

Goran Drobnjak from the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports underlined that the Superschools project has a great importance not only for Montenegro, but also for the entire region because it focuses directly on cooperation between regional high-schools with the aim to gather young people, to inspire change, and to create meaningful cooperation between the schools.

The programme is part of a multi-donor project “The Western Balkans School Exchange Scheme” co-financed by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), together with the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO). The project has a total budget of €5.5 million. It contributes to the overall objective of increasing the skills and knowledge of young people in the Western Balkans by enhancing educational systems and promoting cooperation in the region by establishing a regional school exchange scheme.

In addition to Podgorica, RYCO will organise additional info sessions that will take place in Budva and Bijelo Polje, on 18 and 20 October, respectively. To find out more about these info sessions, go to this link.