8 topics to be discussed

On 21 November 2019, something amazing happened for the youth of our capital!

Tirana won the “European Youth Capital 2022” title, crowning several months of unremitting work and efforts of young people from the National Youth Congress, youth CSO’s and the Municipality of Tirana, towards creating a rich program of activities for 2022 dedicated entirely to young people.

Youth is one of the most cherished assets of our city and our country, having one of the youngest populations in Europe. It is therefore obvious and inevitable that the most prominent driving force pushing Tirana and Albania towards a prosperous and sustainable future within the EU is its energetic and aspiring youth, joining energies and working together.

ACTIV∞ YOUTH is an ambitious program that focuses on the needs of young people of today and tomorrow, championing non-formal education and striving to connect the youth of the city with European values and best practices. As stated in the “ACTIVE – 8” slogan, the whole program aims to stimulate young people in becoming more proactive on issues that concern them, more eager on exploiting existing opportunities for personal and professional growth, while in the meantime understanding their true powers as change-makers. The program encourages positive activism by presenting 8 intertwined themes comprising dozens of projects and hundreds of wide-range activities.

The enthusiastic collaboration in a yearlong process showed a great commitment of youngsters, youth CSOs, as well as public and private sector representatives, for building a long-lasting legacy that puts young people at the heart of our city and at the helm of our future. Now YOU TOO can become an integral part of this common goal by supporting the development of this program and its activities.

Turn the page if you want to know more on how the 8 Programs of ACTIV∞ Tirana 2022 and the proposed themes of activities will help youth of the city.

Youth Makes Creative Economy & Innovation

Creativity is the untapped and innate human resource, whose potential economies have yet to harness. Creativity is the inspirational energy and knowledge that spurs many individuals, including young men and women, to undertake new industrial ventures with a vision of the future transformation of their societies. This program taps into the creative and innovative potential of young people who look at things through a fresh perspective, often being the ones leading the path towards economies of the future.

Innovation tends to emerge where the value of creativity is favourably perceived by the society, with a high degree of freedom to set one’s own agenda. Where creative talents are better exploited by businesses and supported by institutions, and where competition encourages and most importantly, rewards creativity and entrepreneurship.

The aim of this program is to support the transformation of young peoples’ creativity into culture and technology-based innovation that fosters job creation and economic development.

The program proposes a mix of training and mentorship activities, creativity and capacity boosting platforms, grants and improved access to funding, networking events, job fairs, etc. While it is designed to provide young people with the means that will enhance their creative and innovative capacities in ways that are relevant to their future employability.

Youth Creatures Culture

Culture has the power to transform societies’ vision, strengthen local communities and forge a sense of identity and belonging for people of all ages, but especially for the younger generation. As a vector for youth development and civic engagement, culture plays an essential role in promoting sustainable socio-economic development for future generations. This program aims to stimulate young peoples’ exploration of the countless ways how culture and creative arts can benefit to their daily social and economic life as well as become a powerful tool for positive change.

Youth can act as a bridge between cultures, between tradition and modernity, and serve as key agents in promoting intercultural understanding, dialogue, diversity and tolerance, enabling an environment propitious to peace and shared values. They are full of dreams and passion on one side, and on the other side they have the energy and capacity to become an engine for cultural changes at a local and national scale. In order to do so, they should be supported and encouraged to experiment with their passions, talents, release their full creative potential, exchange with peers from other countries to open minds and thus, change the world through arts and culture. Important progress has been made in this regard in Tirana, but much can still be done to further maximize the potential of culture and arts as a vector for youth development and civic engagement.

Our program includes a series of artistic and educational activities, festivals and exchange programs that promote multiculturalism through exploring different traditions and values in the European region, highlighting how young people can influence the culture of a society.

Youth Develops Capacity

Investing in youth education and capacity building is an investment in the future. It means creating the possibility and providing youth with the right tools and means to become the engine of sustainable development within their communities. This program aims to help young people on their path towards personal accomplishment and independence.

The cornerstone of effective societal progress is the active involvement and ownership of youth in planning, decision-making, and efforts to enhance local well-being. This adaptive capacity is reflected in the ability of young people to manage, utilize, and enhance those resources available to them in addressing local issues and needs.

In order to do so we will support youth in developing their emotional intelligence and personality, improving their research and academic writing skills, which will contribute to the overall improvement of their work and social skills. Their creativity, talents and entrepreneurship spirit should be promoted so that their true potential can come to light and they can excel in every aspect of life.

This program combines a series of creatively put activities, touching upon skills needed for different life spheres, where youngsters will not just receive the trainings, but will become active protagonists in building capacities together. The foreseen activities aim to improve the quality of youth-work, and enhance synergies with education systems and the job providers. Young people will obtain guidance on proper use of resources at hand, express their entrepreneurial ideas, find grounds for developing these ideas and learn how to successfully adapt to work-life related challenges.

Youth Participates

Young peoples’ lives are among the most affected from local to global developments. They are increasingly dealing with unemployment and insecurity at work, political instability, economic recession and most importantly climate change. All of these issues are making youth insecure about their future stability and wellbeing, especially in Albania. Therefore, it is important that they are part of decisions that affect them which will lead to better, more democratic and sustainable outcomes.

An increasing number of young people in Europe are participating in decision-making demonstrating their capacity for advocacy, communication, negotiation, and their commitment to challenging injustice. Many are beginning to shape communities around them, influencing policy makers, professionals and the media with their own unique perspectives.

The aim of this program is to increase young people understanding and confidence on their potential as change agents while encouraging their higher involvement in local development processes. Youth are the future of Albania, and that future is in the European Union. Democracy is the heart of this union and as such young Albanians need to catch up to their European peers and become more active and involved in local issues.

This program promotes young people participation in local governance through volunteering and activism activities, organization of debates and impact groups, capacity building sessions for youth voice empowerment, etc. To strengthen youth participation at all levels we will enable cooperation among various state and private stakeholders, while highlighting the role of youth as agents of development.

Youth Diversity

The concept of diversity is in the foundations of European heritage and identity, encompassing acceptance and respect for multiculturalism. We all want to see a lively and prosperous Albania, where people of different age, gender, abilities, religions, sexual orientation, ethnic, national, cultural and social background can thrive by living in dignity and peace within the European family. Encouraging intercultural dialogue helps the society understand each other and move beyond simple tolerance, to embrace and celebrate the rich dimensions of each individuals’ unique features. It means recognizing that our differences make us stronger and more united, if explored in a positive and nurturing environment.

The aim of this program is not only to educate young generations on having a more positive outlook towards a diverse society but become the main promoters of multiculturalism and tolerance. By encouraging individuals and young groups of people to be free from prejudice and by fostering a climate where equity and mutual respect are intrinsic, we create a cooperative and caring young community, which draws intellectual strength from the synergy of its people.

The richness of the Albanian society lies in its willingness to embrace cultural diversity and its religious harmony, expressed also by the number of different communities and minority groups present in the state.

This program aims to enhance multicultural awareness through different broadly inclusive activities. It gives an opportunity to young people from different communities in representing the voices of these groups to promote mutual understanding for a more peaceful and thriving Albanian society within the EU.

Youth are Europeans

The European membership project is the only viable path for a sustainable, social, prosperous and democratic Albania in the EU. As young people are the most pro-European generation, they need to be an integral part of this big project!

Albanian youth, which make half of the country’s population, are in particular the most pro-European segment of our society. Despite these positive sentiments, the young brain drain phenomenon has become a real concern for the future of the country. More than ever it is important to bring Europe closer to young people and help them understand that they are already a part of it. Youth should realize that Europe is at home.

Being the capital of Albania and having the largest number of young people, Tirana becomes a lighthouse city for the whole country, with a leading role in the empowerment of its youth towards strategy and policy making. That is why our program’s focus is in encouraging the sense of belonging to the EU family by implementing activities such as the ‘Model European Parliament’, exchange activities with peers from Europe and Western Balkans, cultural and artistic project that promote European values, and many more. The aim of these activities is to enhance the common European identity while promoting its democratic values and increasing awareness on the importance of working together for the future of the European family.

Youth Eco-Health

People’s health is strongly correlated with the health of the surrounding environment. Issues such as Climate Change and Pandemics are increasingly sounding alarm bells. Young people constitute a large part of the world’s population and will have to live longer with the consequences of our current environmental decisions. The Eco – Health program promotes a healthy lifestyle among young people and aims to increase their awareness on the crucial importance of a healthy ecosystem for all beings and organisms thriving through nature. Humans are an important part of this ecosystem, while simultaneously its biggest threat. It is fundamental for Albania to start a societal transition towards a greener economy and lifestyle. We think that youth can play an important role in leading the country’s population towards changes in behaviour and habits. They are increasingly engaging in grass root initiatives for environmental protection, while young entrepreneurs show a higher will in embracing eco-friendly business practices.

The idealistic spirit of young people can play a crucial role in changing our current environmental practices. But we need to give them the right knowledge and tools so they can play a key role in the sustainability of our city (ies).

Through this program, we will use non-formal education practices like inclusive and voluntary participation in common planting initiatives; peer to peer learning activities addressing mental and physical health; an active outdoor and nature based lifestyle will be promoted, including healthy eating and self-care habits; innovative workshops will be organized with the aim of increasing awareness on local-global environmental and health issues, where youngsters can provide own ideas and solutions. All these activities will encourage youth in becoming active leaders of change for a more sustainable and thriving society.

Youth Spaces

For young people, public spaces are an significant part of growing up. They are important in shaping youth character as they facilitate social interaction and cultural connection, helping to establish a sense of community identity.

Youth is one of the strongest user-groups of public spaces and it is important for cities to include young peoples’ perspectives in their design. Starting from schools, libraries, plazas, parks and other urban recreational hubs, they all become focal points for youth development. That is why the more creative, accessible and well-designed these spaces are for young people, the higher will be the impact on their socio-cultural life.

Our projects within this pillar, aim to provide additional youth friendly physical facilities and infrastructures in the city, which are autonomous, open, safe and accessible to all. Some of these spaces are aimed at offering professional support for development and ensuring opportunities for youth participation in community life and decision making. The final aim of this program is to make young people co-designers of their city’s urban spaces by also identifying ways in which their communities can make use of these places to build better civic engagement culture.