• by

Our former member of the PYN Secretariat, Dorotea Strelec, graciously shared insights into the intricate structure of PYN, along with her reviews and impressions. Reflecting on her experiences, she extended warm wishes to PYN on its 10th birthday celebration today.

Could you tell us more about the PYN General Assembly?

Since the PYN General Assembly is an annual gathering of all Assembly members, it is the most significant PYN event. Every year, the General Assembly is held in a different Western Balkans capital. In recent years, it has been a part of a larger regional conference focused on the cooperation of young politicians and politically engaged youth. The only part of the conference that is closed to non-member participants is the General Assembly, which is only open to Assembly members and prospective new member organizations. During each General Assembly, the existing membership gets acquainted with the PYN annual report which is then followed by the presentation of new potential members. After the presentations, the existing membership casts votes, and the Network grows if the majority of members vote in favor of accepting the new members. 

The best thing about these in-person events, in my opinion, is the rare chance that young activists and politicians get to talk, connect, and mingle with other young people who they would not otherwise get the chance to meet and exchange differing opinions with.

So, what exactly is the PYN Secretariat, and what is its purpose?

Along with the PYN Assembly, the PYN Secretariat is one of the two primary bodies within the Network. Employees from each of the five Youth Initiative for Human Rights offices make up the Secretariat, and I have had the distinct pleasure of serving as this body’s coordinator for almost 2 years. This body’s primary goal is to make sure the PYN operates following all the provisions outlined in its Statute. Additionally, the Secretariat plans different events for its members and is always working hard to expand the Network

What are Regional News Cafe Webinars and what has been your favorite PYN webinar so far?

The majority of PYN’s events are conducted online because this allows the Network to welcome participation from any interested member, regardless of where in the region they are located. This can be difficult for events that expect participants to be physically present at a specific location. Amidst the pandemic, the network began hosting a range of webinars addressing regional political issues. Additionally, some webinars turned into online workshops designed to provide young politicians and politically engaged youth with relevant information and enhance their soft skills, which are essential for their future careers in politics or activism. The fact that so many young people were willing to share their perspectives on current political situations in the region made each Regional News Cafe Webinar quite interesting.

However, the webinar I found most enjoyable and useful for the participants was held quite recently and it was the last webinar that I moderated. The guest lecturer was a young political scientist and journalist Nina Skočak. She became regionally recognized online among the gen Z followers because of her authentic content on social media like Instagram and TikTok. I think it was quite refreshing to invite a young professional to share her knowledge and experience about ways to increase engagement with political and relevant social content on these popular social media platforms. I believe this is a good way to reach more young participants and I hope that the upcoming webinars will continue to go in the direction of offering more peer-to-peer learning, as I think that is a terrific method to attract a younger audience. 

What are your hopes and dreams for the future of PYN? How do you envision its growth and development?

I’m hoping that, in the upcoming years, this incredible platform will keep expanding. By the end of the year, I hope the Network will have grown to fifty members. In the long run, I believe it is reasonable to anticipate that 50 additional organizations will join PYN during the next ten years, bringing the total number of member organizations to 100. Furthermore, I hope that the network will grow geographically and that political youth branches from Albania will join PYN at the upcoming General Assembly in the Fall.

I think that the network also has a lot of potential to grow more in terms of its visibility and recognition of its value among decisionmakers in all Western Balkan countries. My greatest wish is that a large number of young politicians currently involved in PYN activities become progressive leaders of the future and that this platform helps them as much as it can in that regard.

What are your plans after your involvement with PYN? Are you contemplating a future in politics, perhaps?

I have personally made the decision to get more involved in politics after the wonderful experience of being a member of the PYN Secretariat and having the opportunity to coordinate it for more than a year and a half. I firmly believe that, rather than concentrating solely on the prosperity of the dominant nationalities within our nation states which will not serve us well in the long run, young people can bring our societies closer together, work harder on regional cooperation, and ensure better living conditions for everyone in our region. If we truly want to make any significant changes, we must cooperate, which is only possible if we manage to reconcile first. For this reason, in the upcoming months of this super election year in Croatia, I will be actively participating in campaigns of political options that firmly support human rights and the rule of law, both for the national and EU parliamentary elections.

Share on Facebook