From 14-15 December, young Green activists gathered in Skopje, North Macedonia, for their final Green Academy training weekend. Inspired by the Young Greens of England and Wales 30 under 30 training and mentoring scheme, the Green Academy aims to build capacity amongst young Green activists from different backgrounds via a series of training weekends on a variety of topics.
The crucial thing of course is that this is grown and owned by MODOM, the Young Greens in North Macedonia, in cooperation with the Young Greens of England and Wales to shape the future of a green movement in North Macedonia. Participants have particularly enjoyed the grassroots nature of the programme through which it was led entirely by young Greens, at the same time as being complemented by the international cross-border relationship between the Green Party of England and Wales’ (GPEW) International Committee and MODOM.
The Green Academy was launched in March 2019 in coordination with GPEW International Committee and is funded by Westminster Foundation for Democracy. The training programme is the first of its kind in North Macedonia and currently the only training programme offered to young people by a youth wing of a political party, in this case, DOM (Democratic Renewal of North Macedonia, also known as North Macedonia’s Green Party).
Throughout the programme, participants have developed skills and knowledge in environmental issues, campaigning, LGBTQIA+ rights, refugee and migrant rights, disability rights, public speaking, policy, Green politics in North Macedonia and at the European and international level. Since the Academy started, GPEW International Committee has invited eight young GPEW speakers to deliver sessions on a variety of topics throughout the year, as well as to give them the opportunity to learn from another political youth wing in a very different political climate.
The final weekend of the Green Academy brought together the Academy’s participants and GPEW speakers Alice Hubbard (International Coordinator GPEW), Eleanor Morrissey (Project Consultant and Executive Committee Member of the Federation of Young European Greens) and Kai Taylor (Young Green Councillor for Prescot South). Alice and Kai delivered workshops on campaigning, public speaking, LGBTQIA+ rights and campaign design.
The weekend also covered sessions on hydropower plants in the Balkans and the threats they pose to biodiversity and Green Party politics in North Macedonia. The latter session was delivered by MP and Party Leader of DOM Maja Morachanin, who talked about some of the challenges of the North Macedonian political climate and invited participants to engage in a dialogue about how they can work to overcome issues and continue to fight for environmental and social justice. Morachanin also highlighted the need for more young people to be involved and represented in politics and praised the Green Academy programme for giving young Greens the opportunities and knowledge to engage in politics.
The first year of the Green Academy in North Macedonia is unprecedented in the work it has achieved both in the North Macedonian political climate and also the doors it has opened for young Green activists; it has equipped them to fight for climate justice, human rights and a voice for young people in politics.
It is really important that young people from different backgrounds are given the opportunity to broaden their knowledge and improve their self confidence. Empowering and giving a voice to young people is an integral part of the fight against climate catastrophe and creating a more equal world. The GPEW International Committee looks forward to continuing to work with Green Parties across the world and the Westminster Foundation for Democracy.
Please do not hesitate to contact Alice Hubbard or Michal Chantkowski via firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in hearing more about the work of the GPEW International Committee.
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