Press release: Regional Academy Leadership Program -Empowering Young Leaders for Change (Day 2)


(17 December 2021) – On the second day, the Leadership Training Program featured lectures on Leadership in Parliaments and Parliamentary Diplomacy” by Gordana Sobol, “Leadership in Peacebuilding and Reconciliation”, by Sonja Biserko, “Politics and Sociology of Leadership” by Luljeta Vuniqi, “Leadership in Economy” by Irina Pockova and a guest lecture on “Women and Digital World” by Teuta Sahatqija.

The event is organized by the Regional Women’s Lobby in South East Europe (RWLSEE), with support of UN Women and Swedish Government, is continuing to hold Leadership Training Program of the Regional Academy for Women Leadership and Mediation (RAWLM) in a virtual format, on topic “Empowering young leaders for change” which is at the core of the capacity building mission of the RWLSEE and the Academy itself.

This is a capacity building project with regional scope aiming to capacitate and encourage young women for leadership and mediation with focus in politics, decision making and peacebuilding and, in COVID-19 response and recovery, which are in line with Women Peace and Security (WPS) agenda and Youth, Peace and Security (YPS), Generation Equality, Agenda 2030 of SDG Goals and  agenda of UN Women as part of the Phase V Project on “Women’s political empowerment, participation in and contribution to peace, security processes and COVID-19 Response and Recovery in the Western Balkans”, supported by the Swedish Government and UN Women.

Trainers of the second day included:

Gordana Sobol RWLSEE Steering Committee Croatia, said “When we talk about women in parliaments and leading positions, the inevitable question arises – does formal representation also mean the real influence of women on decision-making that will correspond to women’ interests? Are women more motivated to promote a more equal society? Leaders in the highest positions do not mean and do not guarantee real gender equality in a society. They are just creating the perception that, even in exclusively male positions until yesterday, they can also function successfully. Politics, as still a “men’s club”, is not just a matter of perception, but an expression of the reality of politics as it is today, tailored to men. “

Sonja Biserko, RWLSEE Steering Committee Serbia, lectured on Leadership in Peacebuilding and Reconciliation and indicated that to achieve the lasting peace, reconciliation processes are an essential factor, while highlighted some world examples of reconciliation and spoke about progress in the region of the Western Balkans. Then she analyzed the current situation in the region, with new tensions and destabilization trends, which can seriously harm the achieved progress in peacebuilding after the tragic war history of our region. She called on youth to engage actively in building peace and a better future, while emphasized that trust-building, mutual understanding and acceptance must be developed through regional networking among youth and through building their community in harmony and equality.

Luljeta Vuniqi, RWLSEE Member Kosovo presented on women’s’ political leadership is discussed through theoretical and empirical examination of the leadership from the perspective of political sociology. Her lecture on Politics and Sociology of Women’s Leadership aimed to introduce the students of the Academy the main leadership theories, the major concepts of women and power relations, structural and cultural barriers that keep women outside the main political power structures. In addition, she discussed about the cultural underpinnings that exclude women from existing power structures, particularly as the cultural image of a powerful figure is very much still that of a male, and that there exists no template for a powerful woman. “In fact, the stereotype of a powerful woman may only be that of one who resembles their male counterpart. It is emphasized that women in politics frequently experience prejudice, sexist discrimination, verbal abuse, gendered disinformation in online media and social media abuse.” According to many political leaders, misogyny has been a constant presence in most women in political leadership’s experience whereby they face harassment, comments about their appearance, threats of sexual violence and death threats. The practical reforms, policies and laws friendly to women, according to the experience of women politicians, are very important but not sufficient to such attacks have the silencing and discouraging affect for women to exercise their right to participate in all spheres of public life.  She concluded that practical reforms, policies and laws friendly to women are very important but not sufficient to change the culture of institutions, political parties and stereotypes that are deeply inserted in the mentality of our societies.

Irina Pockova, RWLSEE Steering Committee North Macedonia while lecturing on Leadership and Economy said “Empowering young women to play an important role and influence change in the environment, organizations and society is one of the goals of the RWLSEE and the Academy for Women Leadership. Although all global political documents speak of equal rights for men and women in terms of access to opportunities, the female paradox is still present: women are the majority of the world’s population, but they are underrepresented in access to opportunities (from taking over business venture to management, from employment to political engagement). Therefore, utilizing the potential and abilities of women is a key driving force of the region, which will direct it closer to the goals of sustainable development and promote regional economic stability, for what they should be helped to gain skills and experience to lead and direct the work of companies”.

The aim of Leadership Training Program (LTP) is to provide young women leaders the knowledge and tools to perform leadership in the fields of their work, in government or civil society engagement, with the goal of delivering positive changes for a public good and beneficial to all.

The Leadership and Training Program was attened by young women, from seven focus countries of Western Balkans including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia including: Egzona Bokshi, Elona Cecelia, Era Mullademi, Njomza Mehani, Nita Bakalli-Istrefi and Jeta Krasniqi from Kosovo; Dajana Ivicic, Tamara Vukicevic, Helena Mikulandra and Zrinka Boric from Croatia; Stanka Lazarevic, Ksenija Markovic, Petra Kerleta, Ivana Jovanovic, Dzenana Rudonja, Bojana Malinovska dhe Azra Seta-Hadzic from Serbia; Leona Lihovic, Anja Ljubojevic, Selma Alispahic , Adna Kujan and Nermina Dziho from Bosnia and Herzegovina; Egida Delibashi, Lubjana Malaj, Ardjana Ismajli, Aida Mufali, Kejsi Çakani and Sara Bilelli from Albania; Antonella Balic, Luljeta Sefa, Mia Zekovic, Tamara Pavicevic, Vesna Femic, Valentina Demija , Irma Skrijelj and Sejla Pepic from Montenegro; Tea Zografska, Vlora Akiki, Fatime Tale,  Elizabeta Jovancevska, Viktorija Janakievska, Verica Stojkovska, Valentina Angelova, Sonja Naskova dhe Sasha Micevska from North Macedonia.  

For further information, please contact Diana Çekaj-Berisha, at email: 

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