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The official launch of the Western Balkans Alumni Association (WBAA) took place on 15-17 March in Ohrid, under the auspices of the European Commission (EC). The meeting took place a year and half after the first meeting of the Western Balkans alumni in Podgorica in November 2016, which aimed at presenting the EC’s proposal to support a regional association of alumni and help it become the voice of young highly educated people from the region, with an international experience and the competences to support and advocate for higher education reforms in the region. The kick-off meeting in Ohrid gathered around 300 higher education local stakeholders from university representatives, academics and administrators alike, to national bodies, alumni and various associations.
The aim of the event was to present the activities and progress made so far in the development of the association as well as to discuss in a multi-stakeholder setting plans and activities for the future. The association will receive financial support from the EC in the remainder of this programming period for activities relevant for regional cooperation, national HE and capacity building both at systemic and association level.
On this occasion, ACA was invited to take part in the event and present its work in a workshop as one of the pioneers in HE internationalisation and a knowledge centre with research track record relevant for the region. The workshop focused on future activities of WBAA and cooperation opportunities in and outside the region together with the representatives of the recently established Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO), of Erasmus Student Network and of Marie Curie Alumni Association. A lot of interest in the audience was drawn by ACA’s studies on English-taught programmes in light of what was said to be one of the major endeavours for the region to attract international students and support internationalisation at home by involving domestic students in such programmes, or even modules taught in English.
WBAA will be represented at the next Ministerial meeting of the Western Balkans in Brussels, planned for June this year, where more concrete activities will be discussed as well as the association’s work on encouraging cooperation within the region and with the EU countries, particularly in light of the recent EU-Western Balkans strategy.
More information about the kick-off meeting