Montenegrin American Youth Alumni Association (MAYAA) in partnership with U.S. Embassy in Podgorica has organized a three week long virtual Civic Education School Workshop for 46 highschool and college students in Montenegro. On behalf of MAYAA lead organizers of this workshop were FLEX Alumni Ivan Vuksanovic’16, Dina Abazovic’15 and Zerina Bosovic’16. Civic Education School is...
Montenegrin American Youth Alumni Association (MAYAA) in partnership with U.S. Embassy in Podgorica has organized a three week long virtual Civic Education School Workshop for 46 highschool and college students in Montenegro. On behalf of MAYAA lead organizers of this workshop were FLEX Alumni Ivan Vuksanovic’16, Dina Abazovic’15 and Zerina Bosovic’16. Civic Education School is an initiative with the main focus on raising awareness about the importance of being politically informed and understand how does the community where we live and work function. The activism of youth, as one of our target groups, in socio-economic processes, as well as in democratization, are one of the crucial pillars when it comes to building an aware and healthy community.
,,I firmly believe that civic education is a necessity in today’s society. Therefore, I am thrilled that we were able to provide 46 participants with the opportunity to learn from their dedicated mentors and interesting variety of guest lecturers on these important topics. It feels great to be a part of a setting stone of a new generation of educated, engaged and active citizens.“’ Zerina, shared.
This workshop gathered young people in Montenegro interested in 5 thematic areas – human rights, rule of law, environment protection, anti corruption and entrepreneurship. The program was imagined as a mentoring program where students were divided in theme areas and worked on their topic of interest. However, to make the entire process of school more interesting all of the 5 mentors were USG alumni in Montenegro, who were working with prominent organizations on building a curriculum in their thematic areas prior to the workshop.
Workshop took place on the ZOOM platform, where participants were able to work with the mentors in breakout rooms. Additionally, each lecture included a presentation on the work of a particular institution and a possibility for the participants to ask questions. Some of the respective guests lecturers were local journalists, parliament representatives, representatives from Montenegrin Ombudsman and Atlantic Councils. Furthermore, participants had the opportunity to gain practical knowledge from guests around the world! They had the opportunity to hear the experiences of our colleagues from the American Councils For International Education in Washington, D.C., Anna Pratt and Tim Hair who spoke more about grassroots campaigns and the importance of civic education for young people, as well as the Civic Education Week workshop in Washington D.C. Further, participants had the opportunity to meet Mr. Lewis Gitter, head of the Political and Economic Affairs sector at US. Embassy Podgorica.
Mr. Lewis Gitter, head of the Political and Economic Affairs sector in the US. Embassy Podgorica. Mr. Gitter has shared with us the main goals of the United States foreign policy in the Balkans and Montenegro and talked to our participants about the current situation in the Balkans.
One of the workshop organizers – Dina Abazović says: ,,Organizing this project in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic was a real roller coaster, but I am proud of our team that has overcome all obstacles and created a great program for young people’’.
On the closing ceremony participants had the honor to meet Her Excellency the Ambassador of the United Judy Reinke States of America who had an inspiring conversation with the participants. Ambassador shared with us her experiences and advice, but also explained the importance of social engagement with a focus on youth.
Participants are currently working on implementation of their follow up projects.
‘’We ended the dialogue on an optimistic note and concluded that the changes are taking small steps, and we all look forward together to the activities that our participants will carry out after the Civic Education School’’, shares the president of MAYAA – Ivan Vuksanović.
Text author: Zerina Bosović