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UNICEF welcomes municipal commitment to sustain investments in multicultural youth programmes

UNICEF Representative Mr. Sheldon Yett and the Mayor of Kicevo Mr. Blagoja Despotoski, signing an agreement to officially hand over to the Municipality supplies and equipment originally purchased for the Youth Center in Kicevo

KICEVO, 20 September 2012:   At an event to mark the official hand over of the Youth Centre in Kicevo, Mr. Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Representative welcomed the renewed commitment of the Municipality of Kicevo and implementing NGO partner, Forum ZFD to finance the operations of the Kicevo Youth Centre.  The centre was initially established with UNICEF support and has been providing opportunities for greater interaction among children and young people from ethnically mixed communities.

”The Youth Centres have been playing an integral role in breaking down barriers between ethnic communities and reducing stereotypes,” said Mr. Yett.

“It is a responsibility of all members of the community, including the leaders of local municipalities to ensure children and young people learn the value of respect and tolerance for individuals from different cultural backgrounds ” continued Mr. Yett.  “А basic understanding of the culture and values, and a comfort in communicating with people who are not members of their own ethnic or religious community is essential for exercising rights and responsibilities as future EU citizens.  This renewed municipal commitment to help finance the operations of the youth center is a step towards this goal.”

In response to worrying trends of division along ethnic and language lines, UNICEF supported the opening of the Youth Centre in Kicevo, together with similar centres in Kumanovo and Struga, as part of a broader joint UN programme funded  by the Government of Spain, to promote interaction between children from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. 

“It is our honor to host the youth center because it proved to be successful.” said the Mayor of Kicevo Mr. Blagoja Despotoski.“ The youth center is a good example that other schools and municipalities should follow.”

The purpose of the Youth Centers is to foster participation of young people in activities that allow them to learn and socialize in a supportive environment.  Through arts and sports programmes, the bilingual Kicevo youth center serves as a tool to enhance inter-ethnic dialogue in an informal setting.  Since 2010, over 1,500 children and youth   from five schools in Kicevo Municipality have participated in the extra-curricular programmes in the youth centre . 

The UN Programme “Enhancing inter-ethnic community dialogue and collaboration” was funded by the Spanish Government through the MDG Achievement Fund.  In partnership with the Secretariat for Implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement, the UN joint programme was implemented by UNDP, UNICEF and UNECSO.

For further information, please contact:
Suzie Pappas Capovska, UNICEF Skopje (02) 3231-150 (ext :127),  072  236 725 or or Irina Ivanovska (02) 3231-150 (ext :107),  072  236 722 or




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