JDI Youth Dialogue 2013

The international conference JDI Youth Dialogue 2013 took place on April, 8. Guest speakers from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia and Serbia took part in the Conference alongside with more than 100 student participants either from universities or high schools. Photographers: Jan Kotík, Kryštof Šťastný

Opening and Closing of the Conference

Opening and Closing of the Conference

Panel 1: Governance – Rule of Law in the Western Balkans

Panel 1: Governance – Rule of Law in the Western Balkans

Panel 2: Capacity Building within Foreign Service in the Czech Republic and Western Balkans

Panel 2: Capacity Building within Foreign Service in the Czech Republic and Western Balkans

Panel 3: Czech Republic – Western Balkans and the EU: Young Professionals Perspective

Panel 3: Czech Republic – Western Balkans and the EU: Young Professionals Perspective

Report from JDI Youth Dialogue 2013

The international conference JDI Youth Dialogue 2013 took place on April, 8. The event was prepared by Junior Diplomat initiative, a student organization at the University of Economics, Prague, in cooperation with Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Faculty of International Relations at the University of Economics, Prague, Centre of European Studies and the Master Program International and Diplomatic Studies. Financial support was provided by Allianz Cultural Foundation. Guest speakers from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia and Serbia took part in the Conference alongside with more than 100 student participants either from universities or high schools.

“The Conference was a great success. Every member of the organizing team, volunteers, reporters, photographers – students of diplomatic fields at the University of Economics, Allianz Alumni, our partners and above all, the speakers and participants contributed to its positive outcome,” said Ondřej Wágner, Coordinator of JDI Youth Dialogue. Students from the University of Economics, Prague, CERGE-EI, CEVRO, Charles University, College of Information Management and Business Administration, College of International and Public Relations Prague, Czech Technical University, High school Jihlava, High school Omská and Písnická in Prague, Metropolitan University, Palacký University in Olomouc and University of West Bohemia in Pilsen were present among participants of this event.

The main topic of the Conference was “Czech Republic and Western Balkans: a Common Future in the EU?”. Its program was divided into three panels: academic, diplomatic and panel of young professionals.

Following the opening speeches of Jaroslav Kurfürst (Director General of the European section at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Czech Republic) and Ondřej Wágner (Junior Diplomat Initiative, Czech Republic), Jiří Kocian (Analyst, Association for International Affairs, Czech Republic), as a moderator, opened the academic panel. The theme of the academic panel was “Governance – Rule of Law in the Western Balkans”. Representatives of Czech and Balkans NGOs as well as business participated in this panel – Labinot Greicevci (Executive Director, Research Institute of Development and European Affairs, Kosovo), Filip Tesař (Researcher, Institute of International Relations, Czech Republic) and Kristijan Smilevski (Lecturer, Anglo-American University, Macedonia). They spoke primarily about the obstacles of Western Balkans countries concerning the EU integration, single market and the role of corruption. The building of confidence in state institutions and the through-social-aspects reforms promotion were highlighted as the key points of maintaining good governance and rule of law. The audience took great advantage of the open discussion that followed after the speakers’ presentations.

Second, diplomatic panel had as its theme “Capacity building within Foreign Service in the Czech Republic and Western Balkans”. It was moderated by Janina Hřebíčková (Former Ambassador of Czech Republic to Iraq and Kosovo and Deputy Head of Mission of Czech Republic to the UN in New York, Czech Republic). Participants had the opportunity to hear diplomats and ambassadors discuss various issues. The speakers of the debate were Nediljko Bilić (Ambassador, Bosnia and Herzegovina), Ivana Hlavsová (Director of Department of South & South East Europe at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic), Karel Kühnl (Former Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Croatia, Czech Republic), Maja Mitrović (Ambassador, Serbia), Lulzim Mjeku (Minister-Counsellor, Kosovo) and Tomislav Vlahutin (Second Secretary, Croatia). Together, they talked about capacity building of the diplomatic service, mutual political relations of the Western Balkans countries with the Czech Republic and the European Union. Within the second the participants could interfere the discussion and join the debate with ambassadors.

The third panel, moderated by Jarolím Antal (Research Assistant, University of Economics, Prague, Czech Republic), offered an active discussion among speakers and the audience. The theme was stated „Czech Republic – Western Balkans and the EU: Young Professionals Perspective“. Karla Koutková (Lecturer, Sarajevo School of Science and Technology, Czech Republic), Jan Šindelář (Lecturer and Researcher, Charles University, Czech Republic) and Kestrina Peza (Court Interpreter of Albanian language, Albania) set a lively debate. Panelists only few years older than most of the audience, however true experts with intensive personal experience, talked about the corruption in Bosnia and Herzegovina, independence and organized crime in Albania and the future and visions of the Western Balkans.

Closing remarks were given by Ludvík Eger (Junior Diplomat Initiative, Czech Republic) and Jana Forstová (Junior Diplomat Initiative, Czech Republic). On the basis of numerous positive reactions, the organizing team would like to set up a tradition and organize another JDI Youth Dialogue Conference in 2014.

“Thanks to the support of Faculty of International relations, Allianz Cultural Foundation and Ministry of Foreign Affairs we managed to compile an interesting program with inspiring speakers. We believe that we have fulfilled the main idea of this event – to actively integrate young talented people into discussion and associate them with personalities they would not usually meet,” added Jana Forstová, Coordinator of JDI Youth Dialogue.