Area: Albania, Macedonia
Donor: Freedom House/USAID
Project Description: After a period of mistrust between Macedonia and Albania during the year 2001, this was the first time that public personalities from both countries – politicians, members of parliament, media leaders, opinion-makers, representatives of NGO-s, university lecturers, businessmen, members of local authorities on cross border area, members of ethnic Albanians in Macedonia and representatives of Macedonian minority in Albania – joined in a forum to jointly exert their influence on the publics and policy makers to enhance the bilateral understanding and cooperation. The project implemented by IDM and Euro-Balkan evolved in three stages. The first one consisted of the evaluation of bilateral relations through a questionnaire survey that was distributed to over 200 civil society personalities in Albania and Macedonia. In the second stage of the project, national round-table were organized by each organization, respectively in Tirana and Skopje. The final stage of the project was the Ohrid Regional Conference, on December 7-8, 2002. The project established a multifaceted civil dialogue between personalities of the two countries focused on the mutual efforts to overcome the various problems and creatively work towards a peaceful, prosperous and integrated region. By the participants and the media in both countries the project was hailed as success story: “NGOs succeed in what politicians failed to achieve” – Aktuel (Skopje); “Euro-Balkan Institute and IDN anticipate the meeting of prime ministers Nano and Cervenkovski” – Korrieri (Tirana).