Building resilience by investing in qualifications and skills | WeBalkans | EU Projects in the Western Balkans



Rethinking the role of youth in the EU integration of the Western Balkans:

Building resilience by investing in qualifications and skills

15 December 2020

16:00 CET

About YEA events

The Young European Ambassadors are now proud hosts of their own events!

Following their online event management webinar, the YEAs have bravely taken on the role of event creators, and have come up with topics that are of high interest to young people across the Western Balkans – the EU, culture, environment, human rights, economy, and youth engagement.

Between December 2020 and March 2021, young people from the Western Balkans, the EU, and the world will be able to tune in and participate in these creative, tailor-made YEA webinars. Follow our channels for exact dates, and follow the profiles of the YEAs for more information!

About this event

The first tailor-made YEA event is dedicated to one of the most important topics for the EU integration of the Western Balkans – human capital and youth.

The first panel focuses on enhancing skills and knowledge of young people through informal education and youth exchanges. Our YEAs are to select the featured speakers they deem most knowledgeable on these topics.

The second panel highlights rural youth entrepreneurship as a way to tackle brain drain. It will present positive practices of local communities and feature young experts in the field.

Make sure to show up and prepare yourself for a lively discussion!

Young People Speak!



15 December 2020

Download PDF version
  1. 16:00-16:05


  2. 16:05-16:10

    Welcome words by YEAs: Bojana Lalatović, Montenegro and Aleksandar Ljubomirović, Serbia

  3. 16:10-16:15

    Short video

  4. 16:15-16:35

    Panel discussion 1: Informal education & youth exchanges – impact on enhancing skills and knowledge of youth

    Ms Fanny Seree Policy Assistant in the European Commission - DG Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (Centre for Thematic Expertise on Economic Governance working on education, employment and social policies)

    Mr Edin Koljenović Head of the RYCO Local Branch Office in Montenegro

    Mr Astrit Istrefi Executive Director at The Balkan Forum

    Ms Emina Balota YEA Montenegro

  5. 16:35-16:42

    Live interaction – Q&A

  6. 16:42-16:47

    Creative break

  7. 16:47-17:25

    Panel discussion 2: Youth entrepreneurship as a means for addressing brain drain– positive practices from local communities in the Western Balkans

    Mr Branislav Jovanović Founder of but&co

    Mr Senad Šantić Co-Founder of ZenDev

    Mr Aleksandar Dimeski Founder & CEO at Photonyca

    Ms Aurora Baba Founder of NEUAR

    Mr Srđan Hromiš YEA Serbia

  8. 17:25-17:32

    Live interaction – Q&A

  9. 17:32-17:40

    Wrap up and closing

Meet the speakers


Fanny Seree

Fanny Seree

Policy Assistant in the DG NEAR, Center of Thematic Expertise on Economic Governance working on education, employment and social policies.
Fanny Serée was born in France (Nice) in 1986. She studied in Science-Po Aix-en-Provence (Institute for Political Studies) and Institute for European Studies (Paris 8). Ms Seree worked in the field of culture and education in France and at the French Embassy in Pristina before coming to Brussels to work first on education and social policies at the European Committee of the Regions and at the European Commission (DG NEAR). In DG NEAR, she works in the Centre of Thematic Expertise on Economic Governance covering the three NEAR regions (enlargement, neighbourhood south and east) and with a focus on human capital development, social policies and Erasmus.

Edin Koljenović

Edin Koljenović

Head of local branch, Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO), Podgorica, Montenegro
Edin was born in Podgorica. After finishing high school, he enrolled in the International Affairs department of the Faculty of Political Science, University of Montenegro. As a student, he was an active member of the student organisation MAPSS, where he was a member of the Governing Board. He received scholarship awards from the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and the German Marshall Fund within the Youth Trans-Atlantic Leaders program.

After graduating, Edin started working as a programme coordinator in NGO Civic Alliance and external associate of the Regional Network of the Youth Initiative for Human Rights. He has also served as civil society representative of at the Council of the State Agency for Electronic Media and in the Government's Operational body for the implementation of the communication strategy on European integration.

He was a member of the Working Group for the establishment of RYCO and heads up the local branch of RYCO in Podgorica.

Astrit Istrefi

Astrit Istrefi

Executive Director, The Balkan Forum, Pristina, Kosovo
Astrit has over 18 years’ experience in the civil society sector focusing on conflict prevention, peacebuilding and development related issues in fragile and conflict-affected contexts. He has been leading strategic development and management/oversight of complex programmes, budgets, and teams in the Western Balkans, Central Asia, Caucasus, Afghanistan, UK and USA. This includes working with Care International, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) among others.

His areas of expertise include democratisation, civil society development, elections, conflict resolution, community security, inclusive political processes, security and small arms, linking community-level peace and security with national and international policies and frameworks.

As a Board member to several NGOs since 2000, he has contributed to their organisational development and to enhancing their governance and accountability.

Emina Balota

Emina Balota

Young European Ambassador, Montenegro
Emina was born in Luxembourg, but grew up in Montenegro. She is a Young European Ambassador, a political science student and a young activist. As a highly versatile person, she acts as a member of the volunteer, drama, and entrepreneurial clubs, as well as the literary and ecology sections. In addition to being committed to formal education, she is involved in various youth activities and youth NGOs.

When she was only 18 years old, Emina represented Montenegro in a public debate entitled “EU enlargement and the Western Balkans”, held at the European Commission. She participated in the ERASMUS+ youth and student exchange programme and has been involved in many events and projects on various topics such as: social inclusion, cross-sectoral youth policy, leadership, gender equality, climate change, European values, prejudices and stereotypes, the role of young people in the prevention of violent radicalism and extremism, etc.


Branislav Jovanović

Branislav Jovanović

Founder of But&Co, Serbia
Branislav graduated from the Lomonosov Moscow State University, where he gained a B.A. in Economics. Simultaneously, he also successfully completed the University Business Academy in Novi Sad, where he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Economic Sciences. More recently, he received aMaster’s degree in Political Sciences and International Affairs at the University of Belgrade.

In September 2015, he became an associate at the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He also acted as liaison officer of the Russian Foreign Minister, during the annual ministerial meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Belgrade. In February 2016, Branislav, together with his family, created a small business called “But&Co”, a brand for traditional dry meat products, where he works nowadays as co-owner.

At the beginning of 2017, he received the award “Youth Hero” and he was introduced as “the most influential young person in the world of entrepreneurship in Serbia in 2017”. The award is handed out annually from NIS, the main Serbian oil company, as well as the Exit Foundation, one of the biggest non-governmental organisations in Serbia, specialised in youth relations and promotion of Serbia worldwide.

Several months afterwards, “But&Co” was declared “the best business from Serbia” by the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, the highest award for a business in the country.

Branislav is also member of the Organization of Serbian Students Abroad (OSSA) since 2010, where he had several leading roles at the head of the youth organisation.

Senad Šantić

Senad Šantić

Co-founder of ZenDev, Sweden
Senad was born in Mostar in Bosnia & Herzegovina in 1988. In 1993, he moved with his parents to Sweden as a refugee. He spent almost his entire life in Sweden, apart from the summers that he would spend in Mostar.

He studied IT at the Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden. After he received his bachelor's degree, he moved to San Francisco where he worked for one year. Then he moved back to Gothenburg and obtained his Master’s degree in “Entrepreneurship and Business design”.

Throughout his professional career, he constantly focused on trying to start his own business. At 20, he founded his first company. He developed websites with the ambition that they would drive enough traffic to sustain himself as his sole occupation. After about four years, he achieved that milestone.

At 25, he co-founded his second company on the initiative of his college professor. They built a Software as a Service platform to be used by schools in Sweden for evaluation of learning processes.

At 28, he co-founded ZenDev, his current IT consultancy that aims to deliver web and mobile applications on a world-class level.

Senad says about himself that he is driven by the creative process of creating great products.

Aleksandar Dimeski

Aleksandar Dimeski

Founder & CEO at Photonyca, North Macedonia
Aleksandar comes from Skopje and is a founder & CEO at Photonyca, a startup focused on delivering the next generation concentrated solar power. Aleksandar studied at theFaculty of Computer Science and Engineering focusing on intelligent systems and robotics. While studying, he also several professional experiences in the Red Cross, YES Startup Incubator and in the Macedonian Energy Efficiency Center (MACEF), to gain additional business and industry experience. With his business and technical knowledge, he managed to win several national business competitions and he was one of the finalists of the Rockefeller Green Ideas, representing Macedonia internationally. In 2019, Aleksandar represented North Macedonia at UNLEASH in Shenzhen, China as an expert in the field of affordable and clean energy where with other distinguished experts from all over the world worked on developing sustainable energy solutions for the future.

Aurora Baba

Aurora Baba

Architect and Co-Founder of NEUAR
Aurora Baba is an architect, researcher, neuro-architecture enthusiast, and human rights expert who works and lives in Tirana. She is the co-founder of NEUAR - Neuroscience for Urban Space and Architecture (, a new initiative that binds architecture and neuroscience to create healthier cities, that heal, promote, and ensure physical, mental, and social health. Aurora has an interdisciplinary experience reflected in 10 years of experience in designing and managing construction and social projects, with multiple national and international stakeholders. She is the co- founder and board member of Euro Central Asian Lesbian Community where she has been working with local and international institutions such as the Council of Europe focusing on bringing lesbian geniuses to the world.

Srđan Hromiš

Srđan Hromiš

Young European Ambassador, Serbia
Srđan is a 23-year old law graduate from Novi Sad, Serbia. He has participated in moot court competitions in human rights and international criminal law. He also has experience in rhetoric and speech competitions. He spent a semester as an Erasmus+ mobility student in Valencia, Spain. He has been a youth activist and volunteer for more than five years. Currently, he is President of the Advisory Board of the European Youth Parliament Serbia (EYP) and a member of Advisory Board of the National Youth Council of Serbia (KOMS). He has participated in over 40 conferences focusing on youth policies and youth engagement. He is a scholar of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and Privrednik Humanitarian Foundation. His interests are youth, international law and relations, diplomacy and human rights.

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