Call for Applications: From Divisive Narratives to Shared Futures: Youth Perceptions on Priorities for Sustaining Peace in the Western Balkans

Call for Applications: From Divisive Narratives to Shared Futures: Youth Perceptions on Priorities for Sustaining Peace in the Western Balkans

UNDP and UNFPA invite you to apply for becoming a member of a youth co-design team for a research and advocacy project on young people’s perceptions on peace and security in the Western Balkans.

In the post-conflict period in the Western Balkans, a whole new generation has risen to adulthood. Either born during the conflict or since, young women and men under 30 continue to experience the legacies of conflict.

However, the views of young women and men from different walks of life on how they experience and perceive the situation, what action they would like to take, and how they would like to see the region develop in the future, are missing from the debate. Regionally comparable data on youth priorities for sustaining peace does not exist, either in terms of future potential dividers, or opportunities for strengthening connections. At the same time, the international community has recognised that young people have an active and integral role to play in peacebuilding, as asserted in UNSCR 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security. Without a clear evidence-base of youth perspectives and attitudes towards peace, understanding of youth’s role is often shaped by stereotypes. The promotion of youth voice, agency and their priorities for peace and security in the region is critical to strengthening overall stabilisation and prosperity in the region.

The initiative “From Divisive Narratives to Shared Futures” will provide structured opportunities for young women and young men in the region to work together across conflict and societal divides to identify common peace and security priorities and enter in constructive dialogue with decision-makers, build their networks and engage collectively in policy discussions. The initiative is part of the joint UN project “Supporting the Western Balkan’s Collective Leadership on Reconciliation: Building Capacity and Momentum for the Regional Youth Cooperation Office” and will be implemented in 2020.

Read more about the initiative here.

Call for applications

We are now calling for 24 enthusiastic volunteers who will compose a group of regionally balanced, diverse, creative and dedicated young leaders , activists and researchers between the age of 18 and 29 from the Western Balkan 6 to help co-design research exploring youth priorities and perceptions on peace and security, validate and analyse the results of the research, work together to identify recommendations for policy and programmatic work, and co-lead in advocacy efforts vis-à-vis peers and decisionmakers. This group will work in a multicultural team together with experts and facilitators starting from February to the end of 2020.

The first stage of the initiative, conducting regional research, will kick-start with a consultation in mid-February on the content and modality of the research, followed by an analysis workshop in June to validate the research results and identify main recommendations for the region (locations in the Western Balkans to be confirmed). There may also be an opportunity to take part in some of the research roll-out stages between March and June. The second  stage, between August and November focuses on regional and local dialogue with peers and decision-makers, to disseminate the research results and promote the messages formed collaboratively. Applicants are expected to commit to the process across both stages.


  • Age of 18-29 and from the Western Balkan 6: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo,1 Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia
  • Experience in peacebuilding, social cohesion, reconciliation, human rights and social justice with and for young people (trainings, advocacy, research, campaigns, projects, social movements)
  • Background as or experience working with disadvantaged and marginalised youth groups a strong asset (young people in rural areas, NEET youth, LGBTI, ethnic/religious minorities, youth with disabilities)
  • Commitment and a vision for youth empowerment to build just, peaceful and inclusive societies
  • Entrepreneurial spirit with a creative mindset and strong critical thinking skills
  • Fluency in English required, other languages an asset
  • Ease in teamwork, networking and engagement
  • Interested in working face-to-face and remotely with a multicultural team (internet connectivity)
  • Availability and flexibility to provide up to 30 days (and up to 5 days at a time) during the course of the initiative from February to November/December 2020, attend online calls and work collaboratively.


The selection of the group will be done based on duly submitted applications, with 4 representatives from each Western Balkan 6 (12 women and 12 men), considering a balanced representation of urban and rural areas and minority groups. The selected participants will be notified by mid-January 2020.

What we offer

An opportunity to meet and network with a diverse group of youth activists across the region

An opportunity to shape the discussions that the UN, policy-makers and decision-makers in the region are conducting around youth and sustaining peace, and advocate for regional youth priorities in national and regional platforms.

Interactive face-to-face trainings with lead experts on peacebuilding, conflict analysis, gender equality, leadership and advocacy

Certificate of participation in the UN project and your name as a contributor to the research

Travel expenses covered and a daily subsistence allowance for the consultation, workshop and dialogue events that will take place in the Western Balkans between February and November 2020.


You can submit your application through this link no later than 5 January 2020. In the application form, you will be asked to present your motivation to apply and how you can specifically contribute to the goals of the event that are mentioned above. Please make sure to describe your background, experiences and interests with this in mind! The selected participants will be notified by mid-January.

For queries, please email:

Deadline to apply 5 January 2020

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