Promoting Peace and Humanitarian Values in the Western Balkans | WeBalkans | EU Projects in the Western Balkans

Promoting Peace and Humanitarian Values in the Western Balkans

An Interview with Bojana Lalatović, an activist and Young European Ambassador (YEA)


Bojana Lalatović

Bojana Lalatović, Programme Officer at the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO) in Montenegro, holds an MA in Law in European Integration from the University of Belgrade and is a PhD candidate in the International Public Law Department. Before joining RYCO, she worked at the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Montenegro at the Operational Communication Center and for civic organizations focusing on EU integration processes for the Western Balkans. Due to her academic excellence, Bojana has been awarded several prestigious scholarships and participated in the ERASMUS+ mobility programme at the University of Roma Tre, Italy.

Could you tell us about your participation in the ERASMUS+ mobility programme and what motivated you to participate?

Participating in the ERASMUS+ mobility programme was a natural next step for me. As a student of an interdisciplinary international master’s programme of law at the University of Belgrade, I was exposed to different cultures through fellow students from different parts of the world. I wanted to further deepen my intercultural experience and learn about different perspectives on popular topics. Additionally, I had already learned some Italian and wanted to improve my language skills further, which is why I chose the University of Roma for the ERASMUS+ mobility programme.

How did your experience in the ERASMUS+ mobility programme help your professional development?

My field of study in Belgrade was EU law, and Italy is one of the founding members of the EU. Studying in Italy provided me with the opportunity to understand the functioning of the EU and its institutions, such as the European Commission and Parliament, from a firsthand perspective. I had professors who had rich careers in the field and were involved in designing EU law and policies, which greatly influenced my understanding of the EU’s practices and institutions. This experience also increased my career prospects.

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“I want to see my country become a part of the EU because, for me, the EU is primarily a community of values that has managed to preserve peace and prosperity within its borders for over 70 years,”

Bojana Lalatović

Could you describe your current professional occupation and your work at RYCO?

I currently work at RYCO, an organization that promotes youth mobility throughout the Western Balkans and beyond. RYCO was established by the governments of the Western Balkans in 2016. I chose to work in this area because I saw outstanding development potential in terms of creating different programs for youth development. RYCO offers various projects and programs to youth, providing impetus for promotion of benefits of non-formal education and intercultural learning.

Your professional and academic path has been marked by activism and a strong interest in promoting EU integration and values. What motivated you to pursue this path?

I want to see my country become a part of the EU because, for me, the EU is primarily a community of values that has managed to preserve peace and prosperity within its borders for over 70 years. Promoting EU values in the region involves implementing programs related to cultural dialogue, constructive dealing with the past, and peacebuilding. I try to contribute to this vision by working with young people, teachers, professors, and others who have influence over young people. I am also writing and publishing scientific papers in order to further raise awareness of issues of concern in the academic community across the region and beyond.

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You are also a Young European Ambassador (YEA). What motivated you to become a YEA, and how has your experience been so far?

The network of Young European Ambassadors is like a creative hub for me, coloured in nuances of blue, which unleashes the limitless potential of young people who compose it. Being part of something that promotes better ambitions for the region and utilizes its brightest potential based on values is deeply satisfying. Promoting EU values is no different from promoting basic humanitarian values, as it involves promoting human rights, minority rights, democracy, the rule of law, and free elections. These are all values that improve people’s lives and increase the conditions for overall development in society.

Photo credits: Bojana Lalatović

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