After this meeting, the Ambassador of the European Union, Samuel Zhbogar, participated in an open debate with students on the topic: “The Vision of Youth for the Future of EU”. He said that they are restarting the campaign that the European Union delegation is implementing with the citizens since September for a common future in the European Union, starting with University of Tetova and that the main focus of this campaign are students and young people in general. “With the European Union delegation, we’ve decided to go out of Skopje more often, in order to get closer to the citizens of the country, to hear their opinions. As we know, in September, the European Union delegation is organizing a campaign under the motto: Let’s imagine the future together’. In the framework of this campaign, we have conducted many meetings with citizens across many of the municipalities of your country and in some way the visit to the University of Tetova re-launches and presents a resumption of this campaign. But this time we will focus on the students alone, to talk and listen to their opinions, comments and visions they have for the European Union. We will also hear their suggestions and I, as the ambassador of the European Union, will always be at the service of students and citizens, to explain what the European Union’s standpoints for your country are”, said Samuel Zhbogar, the EU’s ambassador to the country.
He also said that at this moment the young people are hopeless for their future in this country and that they leave the country for that very reason. We as European Union, together with the Macedonian government, are trying to create a future for young people to remain in their country. This can be done by implementing reforms that will bring about the necessary changes in order to keep the young people in the country and I think this is very important because if they see a future in their own country then they will not feel the need to leave it. We hope that, with the possible opening of the EU membership negotiations, young people will be able to see their future again in the country and for this the European Union gives a great importance to young people here. Last year, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, in the context of our attention to young people, also held meetings with students, in which it was emphasized that European Union carries out many projects for students and youth in general dealing with their self-employment. There are also many EU grants that are offered to young people in order for them to remain in the country and see the future in their country”- added, among other things, the EU ambassador, Samuel Zhbogar.
In the capacity of the interlocutor, the host of this debate, Asst. PhD Shefik Shehu presented many benefits and opportunities that the University of Tetova has been using for years, as a participant in many research and development platforms funded by the European Union. Among other things, he emphasized the University’s determination to follow the Euro-Atlantic course, witnessed at some crucial moments, as well as the maximum commitment to the implementation of the reforms deriving from the Bologna process, aiming at aligning with the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). This commitment by the University for continuous updating of academic offerings in all three cycles of university studies and not only, represents only one of the many measures for adequate preparing of youth for the challenges of employment and their empowerment in decision-making and social activation.
Similarly, the motivation of outstanding students for continuing the studies and the possibility of employment within the academic community helps our efforts to prevent ‘brain drain’ from the country. Mr. Shehu also pointed out the lack of legal framework that sets young people as a distinct social category that would significantly enhance their empowerment and involvement in social life. The existence of strategy for young people is only one step towards improving the youth’s apathetic situation in our society, Mr. Shehu said.
During the debate, the students set for discussion different issues, ranging from the challenges faced by many countries in the region towards EU, political, bureaucratic, ecological, educational and health issues. To overcome these obstacles, the ambassador spoke of the need for country’s seriousness in implementing the reforms, but also of the continued commitment and support the EU should show towards candidate countries. In this context, professor Shehu also underlined the importance of social activation, the individual involvement of all members of society, with particular emphasis on students in all aspects arising from the country’s continued effort to become part of the European family.
After the meeting, the Ambassador of the European Union to Macedonia, Samuel Zhbogar, at a press conference, praised the achievements that the University of Tetova has marked after all the difficulties it faced since its establishment to this day. “I am very happy to be in Tetovo today, especially at the University of Tetova. I have to say it’s my first visit here. This morning I had a meeting with the Rector of the University of Tetova, Prof. Dr. Vullnet Ameti, and learned something more about University’s history. One can only comment on how this University developed from 1994 when it was an illegal University and grew up in a state university, a University which today has a new campus, new buildings that offer better conditions for the students. I also have to say that I praise the progress of this University in the past years”, said the EU Ambassador in our country, Samuel Zhbogar.
The Rector of the University of Tetova, Prof. Dr. Vullnet Ameti, thanked the EU Ambassador for his visit to the University of Tetova and the campaign for raising youth awareness about the challenges of the European Union. “Today we had for a visit his Excellency, Mr. Samuel Zhbogar, at the University of Tetova. We, as the University leadership, informed the ambassador on the achievements of the University, the University’s history, and the obstacles that our institution has experienced up to nowadays. This project that is realized today between our University and the European Union Embassy in the Republic of Macedonia has now opened a campaign to raise the awareness of the general public to be more optimistic about the processes that our country is going through and we can all together be persistent and very optimistic that one day we will be part of the European Union” – emphasized the Rector of UT Prof. Dr. Vullnet Ameti.
After his lecture, in recognition of his gratitude and respect for cooperation with the University of Tetova, the Rector, Prof. Dr. Vullnet Ameti, to the Ambassador of the European Union to Macedonia, his Excellency, Samuel Zhbogar conferred a gift with the portrait of our national hero George Kastrioti Skanderbeg.