Call for Applications

Forum of Young Professionals 2023: ‘‘Cooperation, Security, Values: NATO in a Changing World’’

  • Background:

The security situation in the Western Balkans remains an important issue for NATO. Recent policy discussions have emphasized the need for NATO to increase engagement with the Western Balkans to prevent potential conflicts and instability on its eastern flank.

The Western Balkans includes both NATO members and partners, and certain countries have recognized NATO integration as a strategic goal. However, outside involvement and competing interests in some areas risk undermining NATO’s values and Euro-Atlantic security across the full region. As NATO endorsed a new Strategic Concept in June 2022, reaffirming its purpose in a changing security landscape, it’s clear that strengthening cooperation and shared values across the whole region is beneficial.

Young professionals represent a vital demographic for building lasting partnerships. According to studies, while divisions remain, youth in the Western Balkans often express openness to engaging across borders and forging a more peaceful future. By exchanging perspectives and information, the next generation can play a pivotal role in promoting stability.

Forum of Young Professionals 2023: ‘‘Cooperation, Security, Values: NATO in a Changing World’’ aims to bring together 25 young professionals aged 22-35 years old from both Albania and Western Balkan partners. Through networking and discussions with experts, academics, and policymakers, participants will gain critical insights into regional dynamics and NATO’s evolving role. They will help shape an informed, strategic generation of young professionals able to advance cooperation and prevent potential conflicts.

Sessions will address topics like NATO values and engagement, peacebuilding, enlargement, and managing interference from Russia and China. The forum’s interactive format will include panels, speeches, study visits, and working groups. Participants will have the chance to network with leaders in their field and discuss solutions for strengthening transatlantic relations in the region.

The forum represents an opportunity to empower youth, exchange ideas across borders, and ensure NATO’s values carry forward. Applicants should be motivated to engage with regional security issues and shape the Western Balkans’ trajectory. Interest in areas like policy, academia, journalism, business, and civil society is encouraged.

  • Key Objectives:

Exchange of Ideas: The forum will bring together young professionals, experts, academics, and NATO representatives from the region. Through open and constructive discussions, we seek to boost the promotion and adoption of Atlantic values.

Networking: By connecting and networking young professionals, we aim to generate new ideas, thoughts, and solutions for strengthening NATO’s values. This is especially crucial in countries that are not NATO members and in those where external interferences threaten these values.

  • Criteria’s of participation:

We welcome applications from young professionals aged 20-35 who:

Have a strong interest in transatlantic relations and regional security in the Western Balkans

Can demonstrate experience or knowledge relevant to NATO, Euro-Atlantic integration, peacebuilding, democracy promotion, etc;

Are comfortable expressing perspectives in group discussions at the forum;

Are citizens of NATO member states or Western Balkans partners;

Represent diversity of background, experience, nationality, gender, etc;

Has as least a B2 level in English;

Priority is given to candidates with considerable work experience on related topics to NATO values and the WB6;

Are willing to be engaged in both days of the forum;

Are willing to be engaged in follow up activities in the frame of the forum such as developing articles, op-ed and different kind of visibility products.

  • Forum Outputs:

Articles by Young Professionals – As a result of their active participation and the knowledge and experience gained during the forum, participants is expected to develop articles and other visibility products through YPN mentorship.

Manifesto Document on NATO Values – A comprehensive manifesto document will be generated as an outcome of the sessions held during the forum. This document will encapsulate the collective views, ideas, and recommendations regarding NATO values and the engagement of young professionals. It will serve as a guiding document for future initiatives and actions related to NATO values in the Western Balkans region.

  • Important Information:

The forum will gather 15 participants from Albania and 10 participants from Western Balkans countries;

The Forum will take place in Tirana, Albania, on the 30th of November and the 1st of December;

All costs related with travel, accommodation and meals will be covered by the organizers.

The deadline for applications is 30 October 2023.

Selected participants will be notified by email by 23st of October 2023 and provided with further instructions regarding their participation in the forum. 

Please contact for any questions.

  • This event is supported by the NATO Public Diplomacy Division and the US Embassy in Tirana.

Thank you for your interest in joining us in our mission to safeguard the NATO Alliance and foster a peaceful future in the Western Balkans through the promotion of shared values.   We look forward to your applications for this exciting forum strengthening transatlantic ties!

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