WeConnect: Jumbo Meeting (By invitation)

Jul 4 – 5, 2023 Ljubljana, Slovenia No Fee

The meeting is an opening event for the project “WeLead: EU Scheme for Young Professionals in the Western Balkans”, a four-year multi-beneficiary project funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the CEF. The main objective of the meeting is to increase the connectivity among the participants, through guided networking, joint visioning and listening to inspiring stories. The aim is to inspire, equip, and connect the participants to co-own a common vision.

Young professionals are crucial in creating resilient democracies and sustainable environment that can respond to the challenges of today and tomorrow. The Western Balkans are confronted by a number of economic, social and environmental issues. In most of the countries the EU accession process presents a framework for addressing these challenges. Meaningful involvement and leadership of the younger generation of civil servants is essential for the successful implementation of the comprehensive enlargement processes.

About this learning event

The meeting will bring together young leaders from the Western Balkans and their supporters to engage in lively discussions and develop innovative leadership visions. Despite the uncertainty of the future, there is growing recognition that the way we think about and imagine the future, guides our actions today. At the meeting the participants will explore their individual leadership potential. They will create a vivid shared view of the future by visualizing with peers. We will rise out of the individual or self-level, to the team level, up to the world around us or system level. The meeting will highlight the importance of building relationships based on trust, and encourage curiosity, empathy and creative thinking, crucial skills when leading others through complexity. It will open a space for dialogue, seeking answers to questions like:

  • What kind of leadership is required when leading in complexity?
  • How can we lead with meaning and purpose?
  • How can we overcome intercultural differences anchored in history?   
  • How can we accelerate the joint development of the region?
  • What is needed to build sustainable and inclusive societies?

It is evident that sustainable development cannot be reached without inclusive cooperation on country, institutional and individual level. In this light the meeting is designed as a platform to increase connectivity among different public stakeholders from the Western Balkans. The young public officials, their leaders and alumni members will have the opportunity to share their visions, exchange ideas and connect. At the meeting we will aim to address the cultural biases that hinder the cooperation and enable collaboration, which is one of the most powerful tools for reconciliation and common progress of the region. The young officials should become the drivers of reconciliation creating policies that respond to the aspirations of diverse populations, as well as guarantee pluralism and respect for fundamental rights. Through this prism, the participants will be encouraged to express their views and creativity, to engage with their peers, propose ideas and suggestions for fostering regional cooperation.

Gender equality is one of the fundamental humans right. It is also essential to achieving inclusive societies that allow individuals to realize their full potential and are committed to sustainable development. However, women remain unrepresented in political decision-making processes in almost all Western Balkans countries. Women’s economic empowerment is necessary condition for the Western Balkans to achieve sustainable growth and development. The meeting will contribute to the understanding of what it takes for a women leader to succeed by hosting a high-level round table of women leaders. We will listen to the first-hand stories and allow to be inspired and motivated to take on a positive change.


  • Dr. Pierre Casse, Leadership Chair at IEDC-Bled School of Management 

  • Petra Založnik, CEF expert, Designer and Facilitator

  • Mireille Van Bremen, Graphic Designer


  • Nataša Pirc Musar, President of Republic of Slovenia, Video Address 

  • Emilija Stojmenova Duh, Minister for Digital Transformation of Slovenia

  • Tanja Fajon, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Slovenia 

  • Anita Angelovska Bezhoska, Governor of the National Bank of the Republic of North Macedonia

  • Milva Ekonomi, Minister of State for Standards and Services, Albania

  • Ranka Miljenović, Executive Director, European Policy Centre, Serbia

  • Nataša Goršek Mencin, European Commission Representation in Slovenia

  • Jana Repanšek, CEF, Director

  • Igor E. Bergant, Facilitator, Journalist and TV Host

Who should attend

The attendance at the meeting is by invitation only. The meeting is designed for the participants of the first cohort, their leaders and alumni members.


This event is delivered as part of the EU-funded multi-beneficiary project “EU Scheme for Young Professionals in the Western Balkans” (WeLead) implemented by the CEF.

Funded by the European Union