Participation of members from various ethnic backgrounds in various processes of the societal advance, stands at the core of the reconciliation processes in Kosovo. The #RCT Activity has placed a large emphasis in this process by promoting and organizing events that bring people together in safe and stimulating environments. Other aspects at the core of the reconciliation, are decision and policy making at the local and national levels. #RCT Activity has created structures to ensure that central and local level policy and decision makers are included and can firsthand received the feedback and products derived by the activities outcomes, in the form of the #RCT Steering Committee (SC), composed of members of various Ministries (MCYS, MESTI, MLGA), President’s Office, Prime Minister’s Office and so on. More so, the importance of the SC is to connect central and local level decision makers with the #RCT Activity’s processes on the ground to strengthen the already established positive impact in the Kosovo society.
During the last Steering Committee meeting, two major outcomes of the Activity have been present and discussed by the members. The first product was the draft of the research paper created by an ethnically mixed team of three researchers titled ‘Perceptions of Reconciliation in Light of Rekindled Tensions in the Mitrovica Region’ measuring the perception towards reconciliation of Kosovo Albanian and Kosovo Serbian community members living North and South Mitrovica after the recent increase of tensions at the end of 2022.
The team presented the main outcomes of the draft that highlighted that there has been an increase in the attitudes of both communities towards the potential of reconciling with the other community, but that there are still substantial initiatives and changes needed towards the perceptions driven towards specific issues.
The results were discussed by the members of the SC, where a particular focus was given to the issues of the feelings of safety and frustration that community members provided as part of the research that need to be addressed at all levels. The research also indicated that economic activity is a large driving force when it comes to stimulating reconciliation and contact between members of the Kosovo Albanian and Kosovo Serbian communities in Mitrovica.
Apart from the research, a manual on Civic Peace Education was also presented to the SC members. The manual is to be used as a supplemental learning material for Kosovo elementary and high schools, along with civil society organizations and human rights activists. The representative of the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology, and Innovation (MESTI) stated that she found the Manual to be very much in line with the needs to education system, and that soon the process of getting it formally approved at MESTI can be started. The representative from the President’s Office also stated that currently the strategy on the Transitional Justice is being reviewed, and that they could potentially use the manual as a resource.
The SC meeting provided some important recommendations on how to proceed with the outcomes of these products and how to make sure that they can aid the process of reconciliation in Kosovo from different perspectives. The members agreed to take more steps on pushing forward the agenda of reconciliation through their respective institutions, and that they will provide RCT with the help needed to do so. The research paper and manual are just two major outcomes of many more to come of the activity and translating them into real impact will be a priority of the Activity team and Steering Committee members.