The project Regional Academy for Democracy: Shaping the European Future of the Balkans – Building a New Political Culture and Political Elite is a unique initiative in political capacity building in the Western Balkans, supported by the European Union, Balkan Trust for Democracy and International Visegrad Fund. The project Regional Academy for Democracy is implemented by seven civil society organizations, members of the Network of Schools of Political Studies operating under the auspices of the Council of Europe.

The Regional Academy for Democracy (RAD) aims to contribute to regional cooperation in the Western Balkans in the fields of democracy, human rights, justice and institution building, through building the capacities of next-generation political leadership and facilitating their mutual understanding and cooperation. Dedicated to already established political actors who will in the near future form the highest-level political leadership, the RAD aspires to shape a human infrastructure that will help solidify current democratisation processes, uphold the standards of human and minority rights above political or national interests, and embrace a spirit of regional cooperation and reconciliation with neighbours.

Structured in three yearly cycles, the RAD will gather 150 political leaders from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia (7 per country per year) in a joint experience of extensive learning and exchange. Each year, we aim to organize four highly interactive seminars and one study visit for the same group of 50 participants engaged in the topic of the year: Justice and Security Cooperation (Year 1), Human and Minority Rights (Year 2), and Building Democratic Institutions (Year 3).

The participants will be selected from among leading younger politicians who already hold significant posts either on the state level or in their respective political parties – State Secretaries, Deputy and Assistant Ministers, Members of Parliaments, leading party officials, diplomats, as well as a number of the most outstanding mayors and/or county/region leaders.

In the course of one yearly cycle, four seminars and one study visit will be held for the group of up to 50 participants. The first project year, starting in 2013, will be dedicated to Justice and Security Cooperation topics. The highly structured curriculum will be based on a variety of innovative cutting-edge learning methods, including interactive workshops, case studies, and introductions to the most prominent global leaders in this area. The study visit to Spain will expose participants to first-hand experience of security sector reform, among other things addressing regional and ethnic identities from the human security perspective.

In 2013, the dynamics of the activities will be as follows:

  • End-February, first seminar, Serbia
  • Mid-April, second seminar, Montenegro
  • Mid-June, third seminar, Croatia
  • Mid-September, study visit, Spain
  • Mid-November, final seminar, Albania