Nikola Paunović: Countering nationalist narratives in the Western Balkan region

Nikola Paunović, civil society activist, Belgrade, Serbia.

A short interview with the Balkan Forum. Her views on countering nationalist narratives in the Western Balkan region: "I will use this opportunity because we are here in Cetinje today, at the seminar and there are Youth representatives from all countries of the Western Balkans.

In fact, the answer to that question would be, in my opinion, that we must focus all our energy on turning young people completely away from nationalism.

They are the people who will change this region and will change their countries, and they are certainly some new energy that will replace these old generations of decision makers. If they have the right view of, in fact, regional and good neighborly relations and respect for their neighbors, it will certainly mean that in ten or twenty years the situation will change.

The most important thing is actually education, I think we are doing wrong, because in schools our children still learn from some books that are not very harmonized. Here, I will use the opportunity to refer to a project that was done by organizations from, I think Zagreb and Belgrade, there was a cultural exchange. The historians had an aim on how to harmonize the occurrences, in fact how to use the model that was used by the French and the Germans after the Second World War, so that one day they could mature and have a similar perspective, that is what actually happened twenty, thirty years before that. We need that, our region needs that, we need new young people who will treat and respect their neighbors differently."