"I am WBAA" Writing Contest

Writing Contest “I am WBAA” – article by Teuta Nunaj

Author: Teuta Nunaj – Albania Chapter

Content: I’m WBAA

The history of the Balkans is early in culture, and it is composed by different cultures that are world heritage and have their origins right there. This makes the Balkans a cradle of cultures and not at all inferior to its European counterparts. The long Ottoman occupation made profound changes in the Balkans but failed to alienate the European feelings of the population.

The Balkans have been seen as a gunpowder barrel for Europe for more than a century, capable of causing war casualties because of its problems. Also, it is worth to mention that the latest war in Europe happened in the Balkans. Therefore, a lasting peace in the Balkans is directly reflected in Europe.

In the early 1990s, the Balkan Peninsula countries overthrew the communist dictatorship and the centralized economy. They had a common aspiration, to join modern Europe. More than they knew, they felt the difference. In the three decades between war and peace, there have been efforts and commitments to harmonize relations between the countries of the Western Balkans, mainly at the level of leaders and support of civil society, but the result was not exactly what was expected.

WBAA was born in these times of effort and commitment, with the aim of realizing regional integration also through collaboration between students, intellectuals and influential research individuals. Once a democratic movement is carried out from below, by humanly educated, emancipated and open-minded masses, it is likely to be more effective and successful than any other movement undertaken from above, even by state leaders. So, the WBAA is more than an organization with Alumni from the Western Balkans. It’s a spirit. The spirit of interethnic, inter-religious and international (regional) integration and coexistence.

This spirit of interaction was felt internally by me at meetings organized by the WBAA, specifically at the first General Assembly.

Although participants were of different nationalities, countries, cultures, languages and traditions, they felt the spirit of a large family; where rights were equal; where respect was mutual; where the word “segregation” was a foreign word; where the smile and cooperation were inseparable; where we had more points that united us than separated us; where awareness and trust were towards a common future of our nations in a united Europe, not just geographically.

The work done by WBAA finds full compliance with my publicly expressed views, that stability and integration in the Balkans is achieved only through coexistence and cooperation between the inhabitants of the region. Thinking globally by acting in a regional community / economy to reap national benefits, remains my unchanging perspective on regional cooperation in the Western Balkans.

I find this spirit of thought best expressed in the WBAA activity, so I find my perspective fused in the WBAA vision, feeling WBAA as a fundamental part of my public engagement. So, deep down, I feel like I’m WBAA. WBAA remains the refuge where we work and contribute together, for the Western Balkans to be the refuge where its various nations want to live in complete harmony.

 

 

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