In the spirit of interethnic cohesion and youth engagement, USAID’s Youth Ethnic Integration Project has come to a close

On September 21, 2022, an event was organized to mark the official closing of USAID’s Youth Ethnic Integration Project, implemented in collaboration with the Youth Educational Forum (YEF). The achievements and successes within the Project were presented through a youth discussion and an entertaining program, with a special emphasis on listening to the voice of young people and supporting their ideas and initiatives for positive changes. Among the attendees were students, teachers and representatives from schools, municipalities, relevant institutions and international organizations.

During the event, Lulzim Aliu, the Deputy Minister of Education and Science and Eric Meyer, Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Skopje delivered remarks, pronouncing the importance of advancing social inclusion, interethnic harmony, and civic values as well as the need for continuous commitment to the inclusion of young people in decision-making processes.

“I applaud the Project’s partnership with key educational institutions in our country through which students were involved in numerous curricular and extracurricular activities. As the Ministry of Education and Science, we continue to look for ways to stimulate youth activism, encourage their participation in the community and support their perseverance“, said Lulzim Aliu, Deputy Minister of Education and Science.

Eric Meyer, Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Skopje added, “To the youth here today, I call on you to be proactive leaders in your schools, communities, in this country, and as global citizens. You must seek out opportunities and encourage others to join you. Young people are our present and our future. Of course, the U.S. government will continue to stand by you and invest in the youth of North Macedonia”.

During the event, key achievements were presented from the perspective of young people. Students Salia and Anastasia, together with their classmate Valton, shared their impressions of participating in the project activities and emphasized their importance for their personal development, but also for the progress of the community. Teodora, a representative from the Youth Educational Forum, was also a guest at the discussion, and the moderator was the Chief of Party of USAID’s Youth Ethnic Integration Project and Programming Director at MCEC, Nebojsa Mojsoski, who spoke of the key role of young people in the processes for making positive changes as well as shared the lessons learned and recommendations from the Project.

The atmosphere was also enriched with a musical performance by students from different ethnic communities and organizations, including members of Roma Rock School and Red Cross volunteers. They performed a song they wrote and composed together during a camp that was organized during the summer.

In the past five and a half years, the Project has worked with educational institutions in the country as well as all primary and secondary schools and municipalities to strengthen interethnic cohesion in schools, the civic behavior of students and youth engagement, reaching over 400,000 students, teachers, school staff and parents. Through more than 5,000 activities implemented at school and community level, opportunities for interaction between students from different ethnic communities were created and their creativity and youth participation were encouraged.

With the Project’s support, new, contemporary Civic Education Curricula were introduced in higher grades in primary schools and all secondary vocational schools, and more than 81,000 students have benefited from this. Also, 60 schools were renovated, i.e. 133,013 m², which significantly improved the conditions for learning and teaching for more than 42,000 students and teachers.

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This activity is part of the Youth Ethnic Integration Project, supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

This article is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of MCEC and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) or the United States Government.