The region’s keystone youth event will promote democratic unity and strengthen pro-democracy discourse and convictions among youth in the Western Balkans region and beyond, allowing them to connect and reconnect, learn from one another and gain greater understanding of political movements and civil society around the world.
Podgorica Youth Summit is for young people who are unafraid to challenge the status quo, who are passionate about building peaceful, democratic societies across the world and who are curious to learn and exchange knowledge with others.
MSCA Fellow, University of Gothenburg & BIEPAG
Bojan Baća is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at the Department of Sociology and Work Science at the University of Gothenburg and a member of the Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group (BiEPAG). His research on civil society, social movements, and contentious politics has been published in a variety of peer-reviewed outlets including Sociology (forthcoming), Antipode, International Political Sociology, Europe-Asia Studies, among several others. His current research examines the relationship between grassroots and elite expressions of right-wing populism during turbulent times and, since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the intersection of populism, pseudoscientism, and conspiracism in the digital public sphere.
National Endowment for Democracy President
Damon Wilson is President and CEO of the National Endownment for Democracy (NED), an independent , nonprofit, grant-making foundation supporting freedom around the world.
Prime Minister of Montenegro Government
Dritan Abazović is a Montenegrin politician who has been the prime minister of Montenegro since 28 April 2022. An ethnic Albanian, he heads the United Reform Action party. He previously served as deputy prime minister in the cabinet of Zdravko Krivokapić from 2020 until 2022.
Lecturer at Humanistic Studies, University of Donja Gorica
Predrag Zenović, PhD (1986) is a lecturer and researcher in political science at the Humanistic studies of the University of Donja Gorica in Podgorica (Montenegro). After completing his doctoral studies awarded by the European Union in the field of political theory and the EU studies at LUISS (Italy) and the University of Geneva (Switzerland), he was a fellow at the New Europe College in Bucharest (Romania) with a project on citizenship and constitutional identity that included a study visit to the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin (Germany). He has received a prestigious Fulbright Scholar Fellowship for 2020/2021 for a research project in the field of feminist political theory at the New School for Social Research in New York. Dr Zenovic has authored a book of political and philosophical essays and published academic papers in domestic and international journals mainly on citizenship, constitutionalism, identity, gender studies and other areas of normative political theory.
Executive Director, Institute for European Affairs
During the professional engagement, in the last seventeen years, he has gained working experience in the state, private and non-governmental sectors, as well as in the international organizations. He started his career at the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia and before settling at the position of the executive director of the Institute for European Affairs he was working at the OSCE Mission to Serbia, the Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies and the Anti-Corruption Agency and for four years as a Team Europe member of the Delegation of the European Union to Serbia. He graduated in political sciences at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Belgrade, where he also completed the studies of knowledge innovations in the field of European Integration, moreover he studied at University of Oslo, Nansen Peace Academy and at the College of Europe in Bruges, granted with the French government scholarship.
Program Assistant, YIHR Croatia
Graduated from Macalester College (USA) with a B.A. in Peace and Conflict Studies. Within her academic program, she focused on transitional justice in the Western Balkans, particularly the culture of memory through an Honors Project about the memorialization of children in war in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo. Through internships with civil society organizations and engagement in her local community, she supported peace education programs and advocated against gender-based violence. She started working for the Initiative for Human Rights in 2021 as a program assistant supporting the justice and reconciliation programs.
Head of research at the Kosovar Center for Security Studies (KCSS)
Ramadan Ilazi, is head of research at the Kosovar Centre for Security Studies (KCSS) and holds a PhD in Politics and International Relations from the School of Law and Government of the Dublin City University (DCU) in Ireland. His dissertation examines statebuilding approaches of the European Union (EU) in post-conflict societies, focusing on Kosovo as a case study. From 2015 until 2016 he served as a deputy minister for European integration in the government of Kosovo and was actively involved in the process of visa liberalization dialogue, promoting the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA), and the development of the European Reform Agenda (ERA) for Kosovo.
Member of the European Parliament
Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield has been a Member of the European Parliament since 2019, but has always linked local political action with commitments at the European level. Along with her colleagues in the Greens/EFA group, she defends a Europe of values, which is feminist and inclusive, and works to ensure that the action of environmentalists is beneficial to all. Her work in the European Parliament focuses on civil liberties and rule of law, digital rights, gender equality and constitutional affairs.
Head of EU Delegation to Montenegro
Dr. Oana-Cristina POPA has been appointed Head of EU Delegation to Montenegro by the EU HRVP as of September 1, 2020.
Dr. Popa holds a Ph.D in History and International Relations (2001) and a BA in Psychology and Education (1994), both from the “Babes-Bolyai” University of Cluj, as well as an MA in International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame, US (1996). In 2007 she received a certificate in Executive Education from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, US.
She has been involved in a number of civil rights campaigns, most importantly the one dedicated to the fight against domestic violence, both in Romania and abroad.
Research Assistant, University of Zagreb
Maja Gergorić is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of Sociology as well as a research assistant at the Faculty of Political Science, University of Zagreb focusing on social movements in post-communist Europe. She is also involved, as a researcher, lecturer and activist, in various Zagreb-based human rights, feminist and LGBT organizations.
Executive Director, Youth Educational Forum
Teodora Stolevska is the Executive Director of Youth Educational Forum, a civil society organization that provides non-formal education to young people in North Macedonia, creates researches and advocates for the creation of youth policies that improve the quality of life of young people in the country. Through it's online youth medium - Radio MOF, the organization informs young people and shapes them into active citizens.
Research Officer, Balkan Forum
Samir Beharić is an award-winning youth activist from Bosnia and Herzegovina and a Research Officer at The Balkan Forum. His human rights activism was recognized by the OSCE honoring him with the 2018 Max van der Stoel Award for his efforts in the prevention of further ethnic segregation of schools in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Beharic is currently pursuing his PhD at the University of Bamberg in Germany.
Founder and Director, War Childhood Museum
Jasminko Halilovic is the founder and CEO of the War Childhood Museum, the world's only museum focused exclusively on childhood affected by armed conflict. His books have been translated into six languages and he was a keynote speaker at conferences and guest lecturer at universities in over fifteen countries. For his work with the WCM, which expanded to become an international organization with offices in four countries, Halilovic was selected for the Forbes "30 under 30" list.
Lecturer in International Relations, Cardiff University
Maja Davidović is a feminist academic and scholar of transitional justice who has a particular research focus on guaranteeing non-repetition of war and its atrocities in the former Yugoslavia. She has recently completed her PhD at Durham University and now works as a Lecturer in International Relations at Cardiff University in Wales, UK where she teaches on war and society. Maja has written and published academic work on different elements of transitional justice, including non-repetition, criminal justice, memorialization and reparations.
Human Rights Activist, Feminist and Restorative Justice Researcher
Nora Ahmetaj founded and directed the Centre for Research, Documentation, and Publication (CRDP) until 2015. During the Kosovo war, she worked for the Humanitarian Law Centre, conducting investigations into war crimes and crimes against humanity. Ms. Ahmetaj, a long-time member of the Bosch Foundation Global Network, has studied human rights, peace and conflict transformation, and transitional justice at McGill University-Law School, Columbia University in New York, and Harvard University. She served on RECOM's Regional Coordination Council and has an MA in Peace and Conflict Transformation Studies from the University of Tromso in Norway.
Journalist, BIRN Kosovo
Serbeze Haxhiaj is an investigative journalist and news editor based in Pristina, Kosovo, who focuses on corruption, human rights, security issues, religious extremism, terrorism, and war crimes. She is currently an editor at Radio Television of Kosovo and a journalist at the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN). Haxhiaj previously worked for the daily newspapers Rilindja, Zeri, Lajm and Koha Ditore and was the correspondent in Pristina for Le Courrier des Balkans. She has recently been published in The Financial Times, Der Standard, Neue Zurcher Zeitung, Voice of America, World Politics Review, and Al Jazeera. She also has worked for five years as a researcher for Navanti, an American research, and analysis company. For her reporting on war crimes, organized crime, corruption, human rights, and violence against women, she has received 16 awards from various local and international organizations, including a 2020 EU Award for Investigative Journalism.
Feminism from the Gym
Hristina Cvetinčanin Knežević is a sociologist, researcher and journalist, and she is currently studying for a doctorate in culture and media at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Belgrade. In addition to these formal titles, she is also a journalist, a member of the Journalists Against Violence collective and the initiator of the Instagram page Feminism from the Gym, which promotes the feminist concept of training as a process of women's empowerment in both physical and feminist terms. For her independent work through the independent project "Feminism from the Gym", which initiates and leads important discussions on Instagram on women's rights, from women's reproductive health, through aging, to eating disorders, she received the Jelena Šantić Foundation's Brave Steps Award in 2022.
Historical Researcher/Author, Spomenik Database
Donald Niebyl is an American historical researcher and writer, author of the 2018 book "Spomenik Monument Database" and the long-term digital online research project "Spomenik Database'', both of which focus on examining the historical legacy of the monumental art and architecture produced during the Yugoslav-era. Furthermore, Niebyl worked on a EU funded project to establish a touristic cultural route based around the Yugoslav monuments, while also giving TV interviews, being featured in documentaries/international media and delivering presentations around the world on this subject. He continues to work on writing, presenting, and researching the artistic and architectural heritage of the former Yugoslavia through his website, publications and social media.