Five ways to support youth inclusion in peacebuilding

Young people who have experienced conflict firsthand have a vital role to play in peacebuilding. They have a clear vision of what peace could look like in their countries and communities, and have the drive to work towards the realisation of these goals.  However, in many cases they are seen not as positive forces for peace, but rather as threats to it. Recent research conducted by Conciliation Resources with youth from five different conflict regions identified the five key changes which need to be made to ensure young people are able to participate in creating more peaceful societies. Read more


“Divided Past – Joint Future” is the project implemented by a consortium of 18 partners (7 IPA beneficiary countries plus Slovenia, Croatia, Austria and Netherland). Project consortium involves CSOs, research institutes, foundations, resources centres and Erasmus NAs and 13 associated business partners. Read more

New year’s resolution quotes to keep you motivated!

New Year’s Resolutions Quotes

Making resolutions is a cleansing ritual of self-assessment and repentance that demands personal honesty and, ultimately, reinforces humility. Breaking them is part of the cycle. – Eric Zorn

May the New Year bring you courage to break your resolutions early! My own plan is to swear off every kind of virtue, so that I triumph even when I fall! – Aleister Crowley Read more

Health care is a human right and migrants are no exception

When Nell Toussaint came to Canada as a 30-year-old woman from Grenada in 1999, she did not know that a decade later she would end up in the emergency room of a Toronto hospital. She did not know she would be denied an ultrasound for a blood clot in her leg that would eventually turn life-threatening. And she did not know that one day, being denied care by this country’s health-care system would impair her mobility, vision and ability to speak, and lead to the United Nations condemning Canada for discriminating against her based on her immigration status. Read more

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights turns 70

Let’s stand up for equality, justice and human dignity

Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December – the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This year, Human Rights Day marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a milestone document that proclaimed the inalienable rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being — regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. It is the most translated document in the world, available in more than 500 languages. Read more

Second RYCO Open Call

The Second RYCO Open Call is now open!

Deadline for applying: 25 January 2019, 23.59 CET

Under the present Call for Proposals, RYCO intends to support and empower civil society organizations and secondary schools to implement activities in the areas of regional youth cooperation, mobility and exchange; and enabling environment for regional youth cooperation. Read more

Connecting W Balkan Youth in Sarajevo

SARAJEVO – The European Union recognizes the regional cooperation in the Western Balkans as one of the priorities in the region. In order to promote and improve cooperation possibilities and reconciliation between the young people in the region, the EU Info Center in Sarajevo, in cooperation with RYCO and Ministry of Civil Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, organized the panel discussion “Connecting Western Balkan Youth”

“Connectivity is not only building bridges, railways or highways, it is also an important task to bring the people together. It is the exactly what the Regional Youth Cooperation Office is doing. The European Union will continue to support the regional cooperation, improvement of mobility and connectivity of youth. In the end, the young people have a task – the young people of BiH and the region – to bring their countries in the EU and we expect a lot from them. We also have to ensure them tools for such endeavour, and RYCO is one of the ways in which we support them”, Deputy Head of the EU Delegation in Bosnia and Herzegovina Mr Khaldoun Sinno said.

For the European Union, mobility, connectivity and regional cooperation are crucial for further growth and development, especially in the youth cooperation field. The regional cooperation fosters the EU enlargement process and it is of a key importance for the reform processes and sustainable economic growth of the Western Balkans.

RYCO Secretary General Mr Đuro Blanuša pointed out that RYCO is a result of cooperation between the governments of the region and civil society organizations. He said that RYCO is one of the reconciliation mechanisms in the region. “We are doing everything we can to bring the young people together, but also the societies and people of the region. We want to give an opportunity to the young people to learn from each other, overcome prejudices and stereotypes as they would cooperate, make new friendships and develop new ideas”, Mr Blanuša concluded.

The six projects supported by RYCO presented their activities and project ideas. Despite the fact that some of the projects are still being implemented, they achieved essential results in connecting the young people, the high school students at the first place, who were visiting their peers in the region, worked together on creative initiatives as well as created new conditions for improvement and further development of reconciliations prospects and strengthening common understanding of the young people in the Western Balkans. Conference in Vienna

PEACE TRAINING is a dynamic field which requires creativity and innovation but also constant engagement, information sharing and coordination among its practitioners. Thus, to contribute in creating a forum for collaborative engagements among different stakeholders in CPPB, organised a Practitioners Conference at the Sigmund Freud Private University in Vienna in Vienna from 1-2 October 2018. The conference which was titled “Shaping the Future of Peace Training in Europe and Beyond”, brought together about 150 practitioners from over 37 countries around the world and across different sectors including civil society organisations, training institutions, military, diplomatic and research institutions. The purpose of conference was to create a conducive environment for discourses around the future of peacetraining not only in Europe but worldwide. More importantly, we aimed to share with other actors from training and conflict prevention and peacebuilding (CPPB) practice our project results which included, inter alia workshops, reports, academic publications, a multi-functional web platform and CPPB handbook.

The conference was a great success. The 20 workshops, panels and informal spaces were refreshingly interactive and extremely rewarding. In the words of Picasso, “inspiration exists, but it has to find you working”; and indeed, as practitioners interacted and harmoniously worked together at the conference, inspiration thrived.

For many participants, the conversations and ideas sharing did not only inspire them professionally but also personally. The keynote address and plenary on the first day provided a useful and critical foundation by laying down the contextual relevance and realities in the field as well as facilitating an “energetic and interesting” discussions. The Plenary One titled ‘Mapping the Needs and Challenges in the Field of Peace Training’ in particular elicited enthusiasm among the participants who in the spirit of camaraderie openly engaged in the group discussions; ‘providing a momentum’ which made the conference special and fit for purpose. Plenaries and workshops on novelty, self-care and stress management, CSDP training, e-learning methods and approaches, leadership development, networking among others were professionally inspiring and personally motivating. One participant noted of her experience from the session on self-care and stress management: “It has reminded me about the importance of the “human factor” in peace training and that courses can and should do much more in preparing staff working in difficult environments…It inspired me to include self-care and stress management techniques in modules in courses I design and organize.”

Furthermore, it is said that ‘iron sharpens iron’ and indeed, the creation of such collaborative spaces allowed for the co-creation of new knowledge and learnings as well as much needed ‘fresh’ insights as participants interacted and shared their experiences with each other. Over the course of the 2-day conference, participants learnt new tools and ideas from each other which they could apply in their CPPB work. Serious games such as Mission Zhobia ; arts-based methods such as image sculpting and participatory videos; USIP online courses on CPPB ; and human-centred approach to training; were among the many new learnings which participants benefitted from.

The demonstration of Mission Zhobia expounded the complexities of using and evaluating the impact of technological/computer-based games in training especially in conflict settings, whilst highlighting the potential benefits such games could have in future CPPB trainings. These workshops proved that “accessible forms of e-learning, serious gaming and simulation have a huge potential that should be explored, tested and evaluated in the future.” Additionally, “micro-courses” such as those introduced by USIP are not only cost-effective and time saving tools for self-paced learning, but also a step towards the development of more innovative tools such as mobile/smartphone training apps. These will facilitate easy access by trainees across different continents.

Undeniably, while progress has been made, there are also challenges which continue to persist in the practice of CPPB and peace training; some of which were equally underscored during the conference and are consistent with our project findings see reports.