Intervention of Ms. Erëza Mehmeti at the April 2022 Balkans Leadership Conference

Greetings everyone,

I am honored to speak in front of a precious audience on an important and very significant topic for the future of the Balkans - the youth of the Adriatic generation and beyond.

Since I come from Kosovo, where youth make up more than half of the population, I cannot help but be proud of such wealth. This is because youth is rightly considered the greatest asset of a country. And Kosovo is lucky to have such a youth, which has an extraordinary potential for its development, for its future.

The development of a country is inevitably linked to its youth. In my country, young people from all walks of life are stepping into their communities, raising their voices, and becoming pillars of change. Having a healthy, well-trained, and professionally prepared youth, Kosovo will undoubtedly have a bright future.

Here, an important role is played by education and vocational training, two main areas in which the contribution of the University for Business and Technology, known as UBT, where I have worked for many years, is extremely large. Throughout these years, UBT has made an extraordinary contribution to the creation of a knowledge society by training young people in various fields and getting them ready for the labor market. We achieved this success by organizing extra-curricular activities, establishing hubs, and by linking curriculum teaching with the latest technology and practical work in accordance with the requirements of the industry. This necessary interconnection has created elites in the fields of technology, innovation, entrepreneurship, economics, finance, political science, media and every other field.

In the face of the uncertainty and challenges that the future holds, which in many cases we cannot foresee, such as the recent case of the Covid 19 pandemic, we must be prepared and able to act accordingly. If we fail to anticipate a crisis, we must nevertheless be prepared and able to manage it. And this is achieved only through the creation of a knowledge society, human professional capacities, which in no case and under no circumstances can be replaced, nor can their role in the face of technology and other developments be minimized.

This should be the role of universities today, to create a well-trained, professional, courageous cadre to face the challenges that will face us. A degree without skills is like a car without a steering wheel. And we do not dare under any circumstances produce today people with degrees, but without direction. With this we would risk our future.

Besides helping the youth to get the attributes and personality traits that help them interact with others, it is highly important to raise their awareness about peace as the root of education. Peace education is important for everyone, but specifically for the youth who are still building their identity and the values they hold. When the youth is taught the value of peace along with other skills, they get equipped with the tools they need to be citizens that value relationship over competition and well-being over accomplishment.

So, my call here today is to adapt our studies and prepare the youth for the challenges we will face. Of course, in many cases we do not choose our challenges, but we can definitely create specialized resources to face them. And this should be the investment in today's youth, so that they are professionally capable, ready to value the dignity of others, and ready to face any challenge.

The future of the Balkans is in the hands of its youth. It’s the duty of the youth to overcome the divisions and to build new bridges of trust for the future, to be an unwavering voice for a bright future for the Balkans, as an inevitable part of tomorrow's Europe.

Thank you all!


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