Jul 3, 2024

Inspiring Young Leaders in the Western Balkans for Navigating Complexity with Trust and Innovation

We were happy to welcome young professionals from the Western Balkans to engage in lively discussions about the capabilities modern leaders need when operating in a complex environment. The WeConnect Jumbo meeting was an opening event for the second cohort generation of the project “WeLead: EU Scheme for Young Professionals in the Western Balkans” (WeLead), a four-year multi-beneficiary project funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the CEF.

At the opening of the meeting, CEF Director Ms. Jana Repanšek welcomed attendees, emphasizing the importance of creating a space where talented individuals from diverse backgrounds can come together to exchange ideas and collaborate towards meaningful solutions. »Given recent regional shifts, we feel it is vital to focus on nurturing young talent in the public sector. We consider investing in the future leaders of the Western Balkans as an important milestone that benefits all stakeholders involved, including our team. Moving forward, we are committed to engaging young professionals across the Western Balkans to equip them with skills for driving change.« said Ms. Repanšek.

We were honored to welcome distinguished speakers including Mr. Ahmet Ismaili, Governor of the Central Bank of the Republic of Kosovo, Ms. Irena Radović, Governor of the Central Bank of Montenegro, Mr. Muhamed Hasanović, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Finance and Treasury, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Marko Primorac, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia and Minister of Finance, Mr. Klemen Boštjančič, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia and Minister of Finance, and Mr. Florian Hauser, Deputy Head, Governance and Public Administration, European Commission. They shared their insights into leading in complexity and ways to cope with ambiguity and make decisions in the face of uncertainty.

Moreover, we had the privilege of hosting Mr. Borut Pahor, who served as the President of the Republic of Slovenia from 2012 to 2022. A founder of the Institute Friends of the Western Balkans, Mr. Pahor dedicated his career to advancing the European perspective in the region and promoting peace and dialogue. In a thought-provoking interview, Mr. Pahor highlighted the importance of resilience and motivation in navigating challenges.

During this gathering, participants actively explored their leadership potential and developed their vision of the region of Western Balkans until 2030. We emphasized that complex challenges require collaborative leadership and adaptive solutions. In an adaptive space the push for stability and push for change meet and create tension. To overcome it, new leadership skills and a different mindset are required. Skilled leaders in this space overcome the tension by creating connections and adaptive solutions. Leaders need to be equiped with skills, such as active listening, adaptability, creative thinking, and emotional intelligence. Our goal was to inspire and connect young leaders to start realizing a shared vision for the future of the Western Balkans.

The meeting took place on July 2-3, 2024 in Ljubljana.