2023 certainly begins in a climate of uncertainty due to the economic and geopolitical situation in Europe and in the World. On another note, 2023 also marks an important anniversary for ALDA, the LDAs and the whole network.
It was exactly 30 years ago when it all started, with the establishment of the first LDAs in the Balkans.
Even though ALDA was born at the end of the 90s, our work and commitment started back in 1993, when the first LDAs were created at the initiative of the Council of Europe, with the mission to support civil society and peaceful co-existence in the states of former Yugoslavia in the aftermath of the conflict.
The very first LDA was founded in 1993 in Subotica, in Serbia, with the title of Local Democracy Embassy* (LDE) Subotica, shortly followed by the LDE Osijek, in Croatia, in the same year.
30 years later, the situation has profoundly changed. Year by year, the Local Democracy Agencies proved to be a successful tool and are now a network of 16 LDAs spread in the European Neighbourhood, with 3 Operational Partners (OPs) in Croatia.
It was exactly 30 years ago when it all started, with the establishment of the first LDAs in the Balkans
Thus, together with their mission, also the geographical scope of the LDAs has progressed. Today, LDAs can be found in other countries than the Balkans, but that is where we have preserved, in our everyday activities, the memory and the essence of the long journey we went through.
2023 will thus be marked by a series of events aimed at celebrating the everyday activity of the LDAs and their delegates, the achievements of ALDA and the LDAs through the years.
Public events will be organised throughout the Balkans, where it all started – thus setting a path recalling the milestones of the development of our activity in the Balkans and beyond;
A publication will be released which, in the form of a collection of anecdotes, pictures and testimonies, will recall the history of our first 30 years.
A video-documentary will be produced to revive the most important moments through images of places and people that have marked our history.
The anniversary will then culminate during the ALDA General Assembly, which will likely take place in June 2023 (more information coming in the following months!) with colleagues, members and delegates together to celebrate and reflect on the future development of the LDAs network.
Then, we will approach the end of the year with a crucial event in Strasbourg, in October 2023, where ALDA and LDAs will be hopefully present at the Congress’ premises.
These are just the milestone of an eventful 2023, with many more initiatives to de disclosed in the following weeks and months, aimed to celebrate our first 30 years of local democracy in the Balkans, from where it all started to the present day… and who knows how many more evolutions lie ahead!
Let the Anniversary begin!
*Only in 1998 the LDAs has started being called as we know them today, switching from Local Democracy Embassies to Local Democracy Agencies.