The 2nd South East European (SEE) World Heritage Youth Forum for peace and sustainable development was held from 6 to 11 April 2013 in Zajecar, eastern Serbia, home of the Gamzigrad – Felix Romuliana / Palace of Galerius World Heritage site.
At the opening ceremony on 7 April, the message delivered on behalf of Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO, stated: "Our theme today is forward looking -- peace and sustainable development. This relates to the benefits peoples can gain from living in peace, preserving their heritage and caring for the heritage of their neighbors, while making sure that this heritage contributes to the sustainable development of their living environment and their future. Young people carry this future in their hands.”
Mr. Bratislav Petkovic, Minister of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia, stated in his address that, “This Forum represents the platform within which young people from 13 countries from the region can exchange their experiences, positions and opinions, but also share their ideas about the future of the heritage and philosophy of protection.” Mrs. Vesna Vujičić-Lugassy, Chief of the Communication, Education and Partnerships Unit of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, Mr. Boško Ničić, Mayor of the City of Zajecar, Mrs. Jasna Zrnović, Secretary General of the National Commission for UNESCO of the Republic of Serbia, Mrs. Carmẻla Quin, Focal Point for World Heritage Education and Mr. Milorad Kondić, President of the United Nations Association of Serbia also addressed the participants.
The event follows on from the First South East Europe World Heritage Youth Forum – World Heritage Education: Networking for a Better Common Future, held in May 2011 in Croatia and Slovenia. The Forum was organized by the United Nations Association of Serbia, in cooperation with the National Commision for UNESCO of the Republic of Serbia, with the support of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre in Paris and the UNESCO Venice Office.
This Forum gathered 70 participants, experts, guests and members of the organizing team. Thirty-two students aged 13-18 and twenty teachers/educators from twelve countries participated in the Forum, from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, FYR Macedonia, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia.
Development objectives of the Forum include increasing intercultural dialogue, implementing World Heritage education in school curricula, empowering students to run intercultural projects, and involving parents in heritage education. Immediate objectives were geared to providing students with basic skills related to World Heritage preservation, creating conditions for joint projects among participating countries, and introducing the World Heritage in Young Hands education kit.
Activities during the Forum included plenary sessions and group activities, working groups for teachers regarding World Heritage Education in the school curricula, presentations of joint projects, and visits to the Gamzigrad-Romuliana / Palace of Galerius World Heritage site, and the Negotinske Pivnice site, which is on the Tentative List. Workshops in practical tasks related to World Heritage preservation were led by experts in mosaic work, painting and pottery.
Recommendations of the Teacher Working Group and Student Working Group were adopted at the closing session. Strategies for the implementation of sustainable development and World Heritage education in schools were planned, and tools were established to enhance future communication and cooperation between participants: a Facebook group, Forum website, and an interactive Internet platform for project presentation.