The first step in the whole process of recreating Novi Sad as the European youth capital has been our greatest success so far – we have networked and clustered different actors – youth organizations, organizations for the youth, institutions and young people – while developing the application form, which served as a solid basis for establishing a sustainable system of youth policy, say Vukašin Grozdanović and Valentina Antić from OPENS 2019. Now, the youth of Novi Sad is at a breaking point. Or more specifically, not just the youth, but the city itself. The thing is, youth in Serbia has never had this kind of recourses or attention.
„The European Youth Capital, as an example, can be very beneficial in a variety of processes in which Serbia participates. In that way we can show that once something works well on the local level, when we include different participants, and when young people are involved in decision-making processes, the results eminent. Results such is the quality of programs, youth response to these programs and the change at the local level as well as at national and European level in terms of the use of best practices that can be implemented further in Serbia, Europe and beyond,“ says the coordinator of OPENS 2019, Vukašin Grozdanović.
Having the diplomatic core and international organizations at your corner, being heard and recognized as the example of good practice is a breakthrough for youth. That is why OPENS 2019 cherishes the opportunity to host receptions at a number of embassies in Europe. Paris is first.
“It’s amazing that we have the opportunity, with the support of the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to host these events. They are mostly, when it comes to diplomacy, political events, with “adult” topics. But now we have an opportunity to put young people on the agenda. An opportunity for it all not to be an empty talk, but a real chance for youth to represent their country in the best possible way,” says the International Cooperation Coordinator, Valentina Antić.
It is not a coincidence that the city which recognized the importance of continuous work with the young is now the European Youth Capital. The quality of program which comprises the backbone of OPENS at the moment is very important, but it is equally important how these programs will be funded after 2020, and how we can succeed in making the funds, which are now available to young people, be part of the permanent funding for different youth programs in the city. At the moment, Novi Sad is on the doorstep of becoming the center in which young people have the main say. If young people are to inherit the Earth, our role and our final goal is not only to be led by this saying, but to make it happen as well.