As part of its Western Balkans regional program, the International Republican Institute (IRI) held the third annual Southeastern Europe Democracy…
IRI is supporting meaningful youth participation in politics by working with key governing and opposition parties to strengthen Montenegrin party youth wings and better incorporate young people’s priorities into parties’ policy processes. By building the capacity of rising youth political leaders, IRI can better prepare them to contribute as responsible leaders in Montenegro’s democratic development.
IRI is taking a two-pronged approach to the role of youth in Montenegro’s politics. First, IRI is working with political parties’ youth wings to improve constituent outreach, policy development, and strategic planning. The planning work prepares the youth wings to keep learning and developing strategies beyond the length of the program. IRI also works with program participants to share their constituent outreach plans with their senior leadership to demonstrate how youth wings can improve their party’s electoral performance. The primary purpose of this work is to strengthen political parties’ youth wings’ infrastructure and increase their engagement with party leadership to advance their priorities in Montenegro.
Second, IRI is working with promising young leaders to strengthen their core political skills. Through a grant from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), IRI established an Advanced Leadership in Politics Institute (ALPI) branch in Montenegro in 2019, the second of now four branches in the Western Balkans. ALPI’s main goal is to build the capacity of rising young political leaders so they can advance common policy interests across party lines and contribute to Montenegro’s democratic development.
ALPI is a year-long training program that provides upcoming young political leaders with skills and topical knowledge training, as well as opportunities to work across party lines to put into practice what they have learned. IRI is continuing this successful approach with a new cohort of participants, using ALPI Montenegro alumni as mentors. IRI is holding modules that incorporate recent political events, areas of interest to new ALPI members, and the results of IRI’s public opinion research as topical areas of knowledge.
To help participants use their new skills and ideas in their political work, party youth and ALPI members are writing position papers that offer solutions to specific democratic challenges in Montenegro. They will also present their policies to their party leadership, to demonstrate their improved skills and knowledge and highlight their value to the party.
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