Balkan.Perspectives #19

The Youth and Dealing with the Past in the Western Balkans

Balkan.Perspectives edition #19 is dedicated to the young generations in the Western Balkans; to their motivations and challenges in the various realms connected to dealing with the past, peace building, and reconciliation processes.

This Balkan.Perspectives edition seeks to emphasise that the younger generations – amongst other actors – play an essential role in dealing with the past, peace building, and reconciliation processes on the grassroots, national, regional, and international level. Therefore, this edition’s articles elaborate on the ascriptions surrounding youth and dealing with the past in the countries of the Western Balkans and shed light on the youth’s agency and potential roles in dealing with the past processes, as well as the obstacles they face. The contributors inquire about the motivation of youth activists, researchers, or journalists and ask: who are those “young persons” engaged in areas as diverse as peace building, discussing the region’s troubled past, environmental issues, community mobilisation and more?

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Yet, it is impossible not to mention that this Balkan.Perspectives edition was prepared during the onset of the violent aggression of Russia and the subsequent invasion into Ukraine which resulted in diverse political and socio-economic effects worldwide and directly impacted the Western Balkans countries. In addition, the continuous turn towards authoritarian, segregationist, and nationalistic political agendas in Europe (and the Western Balkans) and the ever-shrinking spaces for civil society, human rights activists, and academia contribute to a tense atmosphere for critical voices in the region. The Balkan.Perspectives editorial team strongly believes that fostering reconciliation processes, peace building and constructive and fact-based dealing with the past is – under the current circumstances – more important than ever. Therefore, we must acknowledge that this edition has been written and published in this changing climate: violent solutions to conflicts are not part of the past, but again are realistic options.

In this edition we have several articles which seek to describe, analyse, and make sense out of the role of the youth in the Western Balkans in the context of dealing with the past. In this regard, Ajna Jusić describes in her contribution the current situation and challenges faced by the “youth generation” in Bosnia and Hercegovina to be able to contribute to a peaceful living-together. Blendi Hodai emphasises the role of youth in the reconciliation processes in North Macedonia, whereas Nevena Radosavljević describes the youth as a fermenter for change in Kosovo. You can also read Art Sylaj’s appeal to Kosovo’s youth to acquire a critical mindset on their identity and their own position, which can go on to support a common understanding. Nikola Vučić inquires which responsibilities the young journalist generation in Bosnian Hercegovina has. Abdulla Ahmedi critically reflects on youth policies in Serbia and is seconded by interview fragments by Divna Prusac with Jelena Božić, Stefan Janjić, Nataša Ivaneža, and Miloš Perović.

Also, with the new edition of the Balkan.Perspectives magazine the new Dealing with the Past Website has been launched! The website is now again up-to-date and can support our needs to publish blogs, the Balkan.Perspectives magazine, videos, and podcasts.

We have also a new episode of the Balkan.Perspectives Podcast ready for you. As usual, you can listen and download the podcasts via our website or via your preferred streaming service like Spotify, Google Podcast or Apple Podcast. We would like to thank all our partners, the production team behind and in front of the microphones and our guests of the podcasts. In Bosnia and Hercegovina, we thank Đorđe Krajišnik, Milica Pralica from Oštra Nula and Daniel Eror from Youth for Peace. In Kosovo we thank TILLT Radio, Aulonë Kadriu, Mila Mihajlović and Shpëtim Ramadani. In North Macedonia we thank Radio MOF and Blendi Hodai. In Serbia we thank the radio show Ženergija on Radio Aparat and Milana Vojnović, Demir Mekić and Jelena Štulić.

In the name of the Balkan.Perspectives editorial team I wish you an interesting read and enjoyable listening.

Alexander Vojvoda
Editor in Chief


Balkan.Perspectives Podcast

The Balkan Perspectives podcast is forumZFD’s audio format on Dealing with the Past and Peace Education in the Western Balkans. The podcast is produced in four languages (Albanian, BHCS, Macedonian and English) by the forumZFD offices in Bosnia and Hercegovina, […]

Beyond the Enthusiasm of Youth

As I was pondering how to start this article, I recalled how after the revolution or putsch of 5 October (depending how various people see it), when Milošević was kicked out of politics, the great reactivation of youth occurred sometime around mid-2006 […]

Impressum 19 – 04/2022

Editor in Chief: Alexander Vojvoda

Editorial Team: Sunita Dautbegović-Bošnjaković, Martin Filipovski, Ana Pejović

Authors: Abdulla Ahmedi, Blendi Hodai , Ajna Jusić, Divna Prusac, Nevena Radosavljević, Art Sylaj, Nikola Vučić

Podcasts: Bosnia and Hercegovina: Đorđe Krajišnik, Milica Pralica, Daniel Eror Kosovo: Aulonë Kadriu, Mila Mihajlović, Shpëtim Ramadani, TILLT Radio and Vullnet Bucolli. North Macedonia: Radio MOF and Blendi Hodai. Serbia: radio show Ženergija on Radio Aparat, Milana Vojnović, Demir Mekić and Jelena Štulić.

Design (Cover page): Envinion

Translation: LBG Communications (Albanian), Luna Đorđević (BHCS), Martina Kimovska (Macedonian)

Proofreading: LBG Communications (Albanian/English), Zinaida Lakić (BHCS), Zanet Ristoska (Macedonian)