Young people from the Balkans have started their joint training in a unique project. The purpose of “Young Balkan Leaders” is to conduct and carry out a long-term programme for engaging active young people from the three neighbouring countries: Bulgaria, Serbia and Macedonia. The project is co-funded by Erasmus + Programme. The Coordinator is the Institute of Politics, Bulgaria and their partners are the Bestsellers Association and Stari Grad Municipality, Serbia as well as the Ohrid Institute and Strumica Municipality, Macedonia. The duration of the programme is a year and a half. Key topics and experienced lecturers are combined as well.

The start of the program has been given in Plovdiv at an official ceremony. Among the guests of the event were His Excellency. Vladimir Churgus, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Serbia to the Republic of Bulgaria; H.E.Marian Gyorchev, Ambassador of the Republic of Macedonia to Bulgaria, and Ognian Zlatev, Head of the European Commission’s Representation in Bulgaria.

During the ceremony, Ognyan Zlatev said that it had been a great pleasure and honour for him a year and a half later after the launching of the Institute of Politics to attend again the next big step in its development. “It is interesting to consider that on the day when the EU member states’ leaders finalize the agreement of the United Kingdom exit, we are creating something completely new here. It is a new type of cooperation, union, perspective. It is an initiative that brings together a lot of young people united by the idea to live together peacefully and constructively. One of the most important issues is to eradicate the false inculcation and brainwash of the differences and boundaries that have been instilled for decades,” he added. Zlatev reminded that the Erasmus+ Programme is one of the most successful European programmes that has already trained over 9 million young people all over Europe thanks to the projects that have been funded by the EU.

The Ambassador of Serbia H.E. Vladimir Churgus congratulated the organisers for the joint leadership initiative. “It is very good to learn this way like being together! Learning how to work and collaborate together while at the same time being able to assert your positions. Congratulations for the EU that has funded such kind of perspective programmes targeting young people. It is only being together that we can achieve the progress we all strive for,” said H.E. Churgus.


The Ambassador of the Republic of Macedonia H.E. Marian Gyorchev has explained the process of creating a leader with the following words: “To create a leader, a civilised person must be created. A person who has to be a representative of the values of modern times. All three countries have many common problems and you have enough time together within the ‘Young Balkan Leaders’ project to give birth to ideas on what the solutions are. Only noble and creative people can be considered leaders. Young people in the Balkans should remain at their native places using all their capacity, energy and opportunities for development and progress. ”

The President of the Management Board of the Institute of Politics Prof. Antoaneta Hristova has focused on the regional leadership and its development in the Balkans among young people. “The cultural specifics of leadership are the ones we need to focus on. Understanding social relationships is particularly important for leadership. Beyond the overall benefit of knowledge and skills, it is more important to create conditions because, internationally, one works with a person and there is nothing more essential than the skills to create successful and long-term contacts. When there are no barriers the results are much easier to achieve,” she added.

Nikolay Valev, a member of the Management Board of the Institute of Politics, has explained that in the complex and dynamic times of the Balkans, both politically and strategically, it is more important what the young people can create. “It is necessary to build networks and permanent contacts that lead to new realities. It is the young people who are on the crest of the wave that can do it and is necessary to do it,” he said.


According to Kalina Krumova, ‘Young Balkan Leaders’ project is the natural continuation of the international activities of the Institute of Politics. “This time, however, we focus on young people whose potential and capacity must be built and used properly. In the constantly evolving environment where we live, the opportunities must not simply be used. You also must know how to create them. And this happens much easier in a group having contacts. We create such conditions and we expect by each participant in the training course to demonstrate actual results and a project to what has been learned during our joint work. The most important thing is to meet in our differences and to find balance and consensus,” added the executive director of the Institute of Politics.

The project „Young Balkan Leaders-the power of shared international knowledge and skills for successful management“ is co-funded by Erasmus+. The project reference is 2018-1-BG01-KA205-047713.