Policy disruptors from Albania, North Macedonia, and Serbia gathered in Tirana to officially launch the Regional Youth Leadership Mobility Programme 2023 (RYLMP). The event marks the official public launch of a three-year programme that aims to empower young people across the three countries to impact policy-making. SCiDEV hosted RYLMP fellows, partners, and other stakeholders during the launch event at Europe House on the 17th and 18th of March, 2023. During the event, a panel of experts discussed best practices in youth regional cooperation, including Ms. Dafina Peci from the National Youth Congress, Mr. Kristi Çina from the United Nations Association Albania, and Ms. Ivana Ceneric from the Center for Education Policy Serbia. SCiDEV also welcomed Mr. Dušan Šabic from the Open Society Foundation in Serbia and Mrs. Adrijana Lavchiska from the Open Society Foundation in North Macedonia.

RYLMP is a data-driven advocacy program that seeks to address youth-related issues such as youth participation, migration and brain drain, employment, and regional cooperation/EU integration. Fellows will work with mentors to conduct research, collect and analyze data, and take evidence-based advocacy actions. This year’s advocacy themes are designed to cover a wide range of youth-related issues, enabling fellows to positively impact their local communities: youth participation, migration and brain drain, education and employment, regional cooperation, and EU integration.

The launch event was an opportunity for the RYLMP fellows to introduce themselves and share their hopes and expectations for their RYLMP journey. The program is implemented jointly by SCiDEV in Albania, the Center for Education Policy Serbia, and the Youth Educational Forum in North Macedonia, with support from Open Society Foundations. Following an open call for applications and a rigorous selection process, 18 RYLMP fellows attended the launch event. They started their group work to develop data-driven advocacy actions with the support of their mentors. They will also receive capacity building and grants for their mobility in Tirana, Belgrade, and Skopje. RYLPM fellows represent a diverse group of young researchers, professionals, and activists with a clear vision of impacting decision-making and commitment to driving positive change in their communities.

The RYLMP program aims to strengthen regional youth cooperation and advocacy for youth-related issues. Over the course of the next three years, the fellows will have the opportunity to collaborate with each other, share knowledge, and develop innovative solutions to some of the most pressing youth-related issues facing their communities.