The Strong Cities Network held a Young Cities Showcase Expo on 11 November 2021 in Skopje, North Macedonia. This was the first time the showcase was organised as a fair across the Young Cities programme. The goal of this event was to provide a platform for the youth groups to present their projects and accomplishments to relevant stakeholders and partners.
Additionally, youth groups were offered an opportunity to network and engage with interested organisations and entities about potential future cooperation which is a key part of the Young Cities’ efforts to ensure sustainability. To facilitate this, each group prepared a booth where their project and communications materials were presented to interested parties.
The event was opened by the mayors of the municipalities of Cair and Gostivar, both of which are member cities of the Strong Cities Network, where the programme was implemented. In their remarks they reflected on their own experience with the program and congratulated the youth groups on their achievements.
Over 50 people attended including state and municipal officials, civil society organizations, diplomats, media representatives and youth leaders. The youth groups discussed opportunities for future funding, collaboration with organizations of similar interest, and honed their ability to present their project idea, outputs, and achievements to external audience. The Deputy Chief of Mission form the US Embassy and representatives from Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the OSCE expressed particular interest in a few initiatives which was encouraging in terms of the future prospects of the youth initiatives.
Local TV station Alsat covered the event and produced a 5-minute video feature where participants spoke about their experience and involvement in the program as well as their respective projects.
The event showed that by empowering youth as effective partners in preventing extremism, hate and polarisations, local efforts become much more impactful. Combined with municipal-led youth-targeted efforts, the Young Cities programme continues to unite youth and municipalities to jointly tackle local issues which impact the communities.