Nansen Dialogue Centre - Skopje
The history of the Nansen Dialogue Network began in 1995, one year after the Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway. In the Nansen Academy in Lillehammer, a project called: “Democracy, human rights and peaceful conflict resolution” was initiated. It was intended for young leaders from the Balkans. The goal was that through a 12-weeks course the young leaders would be trained to work and operate in the field of democracy, human rights and peaceful conflict resolution in their areas. At the end of 1999, Professor Steinar Bryn from the Nansen Academy in Lillehammer-Norway, set up several meetings in Skopje with some of the students from Macedonia who had participated in the training courses at the Nansen Academy. Professor Bryn initiated the founding of a nongovernmental, non-party, non-profit and multiethnic organization in Macedonia that would work on the development of civil society and promote dialogue as a basis for peaceful and constructive conflict resolution between individuals and groups. The idea was soon accepted and shortly after it was realized. After the selection of staff members for NDC Skopje and the approval of the project by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway (which is the main donor of this organization), NDC Skopje was officially opened in January 2000. It was the second of the Nansen Dialogue Centres that opened.
In the year 2000, the activities were mainly focused on children’s rights, dialogue seminars with students and young people and young politicians. In 2001, the activities were extended to the regional level and seminars were organized with young leaders and politicians from Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Montenegro and Croatia. With the beginning of the armed conflict in Macedonia in 2001, NDC Skopje activities also included journalists from Macedonia as a target group, and there was also a big rock concert for peace. After the end of the conflict in Macedonia with the signing of the Framework Peace Agreement, NDC Skopje directed its activities towards promoting the Framework Agreement and work with young people who live in places affected by the crisis. In cooperation with OSCE, several dialogue sessions were organized with young people from Tetovo and there was intensification of the tribunes with young politicians both on the local and regional level. In 2003 and 2004, the main accent was put on young politicians. In 2005, after the introduction of the Law on territorial division of local self-government, NDC Skopje started another program: “Program for support of the local self-government-municipality Jegunovce”. The program has continued in 2006. NDC Skopje uses resources (professors, trainers, facilitators) from the Nansen Academy-Lillehammer, Norway, employees of NDC Skopje, as well as other local resources in the seminars.