Imaginary Distance project presented to the OSCE participating States in Vienna

On 02 March, Humans of Albania and Serbia contributor Mladen Milutinovic took part in the first meeting of the OSCE Group of Friends of Youth and Security  in 2018 in Vienna. He presented Imaginary Distance project, namely main findings of the research on social distance between youth from Albania and Serbia.

OSCE Group of Friends of Youth and Security meeting


The Group of Friends of Youth and Security (FYS), established in 2015, is a unique Vienna-based forum specifically focused on the Youth and Security agenda. It offers an informal setting where delegations, OSCE institutions, and youth representatives can regularly meet and exchange views on the main issues related to youth policies and youth participation in the work of the OSCE. The meeting was chaired by the Spanish Permanent Mission and it was held last Friday, gathering number of OSCE participating States and prominent speakers engaged in the work of the Organization.

On this ocassion, 2018 OSCE Chairmanship-in-Office Deputy Permanent Representative, Ambassador Luca Fratini said: “We don’t want to corner youth in dedicated events, but to place ‘youth lenses’ when discussing topics of general concern”, underlining necessity of shifting perception of youth as a threat to youth as a resource in societies. Italy who is chairing the Organization this year, appointed four Special Representatives on Youth and Security, following the practice established by Serbia in 2015.

Our contributor, Mladen Milutinovic, representative of the Association for Development of Children and Youth – Open Club, presented main findings of the research on social distance between youth from Albania and Serbia. “The high social distance in Serbia was shown by male population, living in urban areas, with higher education, who are employed. Young women with higher education from Albania (20-24 y.) seems to be most ready to accept social relations with Serbs“, he emphasized.

While this is the first research on social distance focusing solely on youth, it is not comprehensive and there is a need for further evidence to be found, he warned.

The FYS meeting ended with the screening of the documentary KISMET, produced under the umbrella of Humans of Albania and Serbia. The film zigzags between urban and rural areas of two Western Balkan countries, between traditional and digital, between pressures and innovations, old narratives and new chances, exploring similarity in differences.

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