United in diversity

Teodora Cekić, Serbia

The WeBalkans Young European Ambassadors is a non-political, activist program that was launched in August 2020 as a part of the Western Balkans Regional Communication Programme of the European Union. The program attracted 400 applicants from across the region who received more than 80,000 votes from their supporters.

The Young European  Ambassadors  (YEA)  are now a creative  network  of  future  young  game  changers  from  across  the  Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia). They are interested in learning about EU values, and promoting the opportunities that the EU offers, but also eager to share and advocate for different topics such as intercultural learning, joint regional youth initiatives, local community initiatives, arts and culture, sport, digital technologies, human rights, environmental protection and climate change

The 120 YEAs were selected in 2020 and 2021, and in 2022 a now call for 60 new game-changers was open. Now already known among youth all over the region as ‘YEAs’, these young people are also here to tell their peers more about the opportunities that the EU offers – for education, skills development, travel, advocacy and much more..

Most importantly, YEAs are open to sharing ideas and developing their talents – towards inspiring change within their communities, the Western Balkans, across the EU and beyond.

The network’s goal is to share EU values and raise awareness about the EU’s cooperation with its Western Balkan partners, to highlight tangible results of this cooperation, to contribute to policy dialogue on various topics, to increase civic activism, and to work together for a better future.

Young European Ambassadors attend training courses, seminars, and workshops to equip them with the tools they need to become great influencers in their community and inspire positive social change in the future.

Following their online event management webinar, the YEAs have bravely taken on the role of event creators, and have come up with topics that are of high interest to young people across the Western Balkans – the EU, culture, environment, human rights, economy, and youth engagement. Between December 2020 and March 2021, young people from the Western Balkans, the EU, and the world had a chance to tune in and participate in these creative, tailor-made YEA webinars.

WeBalkans also has a unique podcast called “Coffee with YEAs” that features Europe’s brightest young leaders who have contributed to social change movements around the world through a variety of creative means in areas such as human rights, the environment, digital technologies, journalism, international relations, and gender equality.

Furthermore, they believe that it is critical to support courageous thinkers who have started down this path of change by allowing them to tell their stories, in the hope that they will inspire others who are equally passionate about such movements.

They participate in study trips, conferences, youth forums such as EU-Balkan Youth forum in Rome, Balkan Trafik Festival in Brussels, European Youth Event in Strasbourg, European Forum of Young Leaders in Katowice, and many more.

YEAs sharing the message of unity in the region and celebrating cultural diversity, because the differences connect us and the culture unites us.