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Engaged Democracy Convention vol.2: Engage, Inspire, Empower!
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Engaged Democracy Convention vol.2: Engage, Inspire, Empower!

The second edition of the “Engaged Democracy Convention – Engage, Inspire, Empower!” was organized from May 17 to 20, 2023 in Pristina, Kosovo, as a continuation of the work carried out within the Engaged Democracy Initiative (EDI). 

The EDI was initiated by the European Fund for the Balkans (EFB) and the Institute for Democratic Engagement Southeast Europe (IDESE) in 2020. EDI gathers local initiatives and movements, researchers and active citizens in the Western Balkans (WB) involved with issues of democratization, social justice and accountability of institutions, and supports them to join forces and work on preserving and promoting values of open, solidarity-based and democratic societies. Within EDI, five topics common for the region that are the foundation of our work have been identified: environment, decent work, public space, media and human rights. 

The first “Engaged Democracy Convention: Engage, Inspire, Empower! Through Solidarity to Democracy in the Western Balkans” was held in Belgrade in September 2021. The first edition of this regional format provided a space of exchange and united diverse and innovative citizens, academics, and journalists by delivering an agenda that had been demand-driven and co-created with participants. This event was supported by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Dialogue Southeast Europe. Then, in 2022 EDI organised regional thematic meetings in almost every capital of the Western Balkans covering each of the five topics. Overall, around 100 individuals and representatives of local movements were gathered whose exchange at the meetings in some cases led to specific projects and collaborations even outside of EDI. 

Throughout the two-day event, participants from all over the Western Balkans region were able to discuss and share their experiences during the numerous panels on Slapps, attacks on activists, regional peace and cooperation, and positive and successful regional examples. Activists also had an opportunity to discuss the joint initiatives within their working groups in the fields of environment, decent work and public space. 

The importance and value of the Engaged Democracy Convention vol.2 has been recognised and was supported by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Dialogue Southeast Europe and the European Endowment for Democracy (EED). In the two-day programme of the Convention through the support of the German Federal Foreign Office, a regional competition format was held, where projects within each thematic group were pitched at the Convention and the winning proposal was selected by present participants. The aim was to have projects that will boost and energise both, the thematic groups and the network on a substantial and regional level. The winning projects were selected by present members of those communities.