The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: Enhancing Inter-Ethnic Community Dialogue and Collaboration in FYR Macedonia

Inter-ethnic community cohesion and dialogue are central to the development of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, which has faced social, political and economic challenges since its independence in 1991, including an inter-ethnic conflict in 2001. The Joint Programme worked to promote a multi-cultural civic identity within the country, establishing systems to link local and national mechanisms dealing with inter-ethnic relations and building conflict resolution expertise.

The programme supported awareness-raising programmes in schools and worked with local leaders, civil society and the media to facilitate peaceful co-existence among groups. It also worked with national and local bodies to ensure that decision-making around community priorities is an inclusive process that builds consensus among the country's diverse communities.

Main achievements included:

  • Key national and local institutions made significant progress in strengthening inter-ethnic dialogue, collaboration and coordination. Grant scheme were implemented to enhance the role of civil society in the area of inter-ethnic relations. Relations between ethnic communities and local self-governments were strengthened.
  • Digital educational content was developed and launched to promote multi-culturalism and inter-ethnic relations in schools. A Life Skills-Based Education curriculum was developed and adopted as compulsory for all secondary schools in the country. Youth centers providing joint extra-curricular activities were established in the cities of Kumanovo, Kicevo and Struga.
  • More than 100 representatives of civil society organizations and community leaders were trained in dispute resolution. Grants were implemented to enhance inter-ethnic dialogue in universities and three pilot municipalities. A “Diversity Reporting” handbook was distributed to journalists offering guidelines on how to reflect the country’s diversity.
  • In an effort to improve inter-ethic dialogue, the programme created new mechanisms at the local sub-governmental level called peace councils as well as a quasi-independent body for mediation support. It also created youth educational and cultural programmes, including the provision of language classes for minority young people to allow them better access to services.
  • Inclusive reporting and intercultural communications gained official accreditation as a separate university course within the School of Journalism and Public Affairs; 130 journalists were trained on inclusive reporting, a crucial result in a region where media propaganda became a tool of war during the 1990s conflict in the Former Yugoslavia. In addition, 10 local leaders and activists received training to better address inter-community tensions in Kicevo, Kumanovo, and Struga. 


Click for more detailed results from the Joint Programme in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.



The Joint Programme in action


Programme Dates 29 Jul 2009 - 27 Jul 2012
Net funded amount $4,000,000
Participating UN agencies UNDP, UNESCO, UNICEF
National partners Secretariat for Implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement; Municipalities of Kicevo, Kumanovo and Struga; Ministry of Culture; Ministry of Education and Science; Bureau for Education Development; State Education Inspectorate; Primary and secondary schools in the selected municipalities; Commission for Relations with the Religious Communities and Faith Groups; University of Ss. “Cyril and Methodius”
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