Meet the People of Montenegro: Zorica Radenovic, Local NGO Activist and Editor of The Youth Circle magazine

By , 10 Mar 2018, 11:46 AM Meet the People
Meet the People of Montenegro: Zorica Radenovic, Local NGO Activist and Editor of The Youth Circle magazine Copyrights NGO "Sedma sila mladih"

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Zorica Radenovic is local NGO activist, Political Science graduate and a journalist from Budva. She serves as the chairwoman of the local NGO that promotes youth activism and she is Editor in Chief of the local youth magazine and web portal “The Youth Circle”.

Also, she is involved in the Working Group that is committed to deliver new Youth Strategy of the Municipality of Budva for the period 2018-2021. In this interview, she is sharing her experiences and future of the projects which stimulate youth activism in Budva.

How would you describe the magazine you’ve created?

The magazine is designed to encourage reflection, reasoning, positive thinking and action. The Youth Circle aims to motivate us to act, to make positive steps, to direct us towards correct life decisions, but also to warn us of numerous obstacles and dangers. Primarily, it is intended for young people. It is the story about the young boys and girls from the neighbourhood who will build the modern history of Budva in upcoming years. One of my friends, a journalist by profession, recently told me: “I am reading the magazine, and I am absorbing this young, unexplored, noble and creative energy. It’s wonderful what you are doing.”

Well, it’s even more beautiful when someone says it to you, and when you realise that people appreciate your work.

Copyrights NGO "Sedma sila mladih"

Late in December 2015, the first issue of the magazine went public. What has changed since then?

A lot of it! The youth team I am working with is entirely different now. The members of the editorial staff are mainly high school students, mature, dashing and a bit silly…I am joking; but I admit that my goal was to involve high school students in the project, although they initially seemed to be inaccessible. In fact, they only needed time to understand what it was about. Although many claims that our youth is lazy and uninterested, I think it’s not true.

Socrates, once said: “The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannise their teachers.

The way young people were seen and described in the fifth century before the new era, is applicable today, thousands of years later. Socrates view of youth is correct if we see young people as a problem rather than a resource. Fortunately, there is a different approach that is based on the acceptance of young people as the enormous potential of a society. The development approach is characterised by long-term solutions, identification of needs and development of the programme to help young people, to develop their full potential, and to demonstrate their capacities.

It seems that we have succeeded in doing so in The Youth Circle. We have created a safe and supportive environment, where young people are encouraged to express their opinions and ideas to participate actively in their development. And they do it. They know to recognise honesty and good intentions. In what they do, they seek the confirmation of their personality, which is the goal of the growing up process.

Copyrights NGO "Sedma sila mladih"

In 2017, The Youth Circle opened the web portal. Was that part of the plan as well?

I can not say that initially there was a plan for setting up a web portal. That appeared as an idea later. We started with the purpose of establishing the local publishing media, that should become the hub for gathering and critical thinking of young people, a place where they will be informed and involved in social and cultural trends, think about youth activism, and place they will be recognised and developed into socially mature persons. We were looking for ways to change the monotonous and fixed atmosphere and the general lack of interest among young people to do something for themselves and the community.

After the promotion of the first issue of the magazine, it became clear what should be done. The Youth Circle came to life at the moment when we introduced ourselves to the public, initially through promotions and later through the organisation of the cultural contents and humanitarian actions. Our experience has shown that youth missed it. They have a need to be heard, supported and asked for their opinion. To be involved in the community. We managed to open a lot of different topics, new issues and chapters, to gain public confidence and trust and to survive to this day.

Then you managed to open the web portal?

We established the web portal only last year with the support of the Budva Tourist Organisation and several other sponsors. Immediately after publishing the first articles on the web portal, it became clear why this decision was necessary. It turned out that one should not escape the benefits of technology but should use it for positive purposes. The web portal opened new opportunities, contributing to higher readiness and recognition. However, we didn’t give up on the printed version. We still believe that there are those who prefer sitting comfortably in the armchair and read the printed edition of The Youth Circle, with the fresh smell of the press. There is something in that…

Do you believe in the future of The Youth Circle?

I believe in the future, and so in the future of what I do. There is no success overnight. I consider that everything requires time, work and persistence. Love, of course, as the main ingredient of what we “cook” in our journalism workshop. Without love and trust, there is no success. Every story is covered with this spice, and the readers can feel it. They often ask me how we can get together on the promotions so many citizens. The answer is simple – everything needs a grain of love.


Copyrights NGO "Sedma sila mladih"

What are you particularly proud of when it comes to The Youth Circle?

Firstly, I am proud of the young people I work with. For two years now, we have been working on a joint project, and we understand each other. They know how to listen and understand my ideas, accept suggestions, and approach responsibly to their realisation, they learn and explore new ideas. I follow them as they grow and develop, they gain confidence in what we do, understand the sense, make new decisions and implement them. All this affect their further development significantly.

Also, I am proud of numerous readers, continuity in work, perseverance and good intention. On every published story that has made someone feel delighted, refreshed, motivated, taught something new and useful. All this brings great joy and life satisfaction.

Your favourite moments at The Youth Circle?

It’s hard to distinguish the favourite moments because there were many. Nevertheless, the memory of the first issue still gives me positive vibrations and the unbelievable feel. There are also promotions in the Modern Gallery, National Library, Poetry Market, Youth Club, humanitarian action, social gatherings, editorial meetings and so on.

Your favourite stories?

We have covered many important topics from all areas of social and cultural life. We engaged in civic activism, cultural policy for youth, issues of humanity and empathy, growing up, education, sports. There are still many topics ahead of us that we are planning to open up. We approach everything very responsibly, fostering investigative journalism.

How will The Youth Circle develop further?

I don’t know it myself. New ideas are realised when proper conditions are created. It is essential to survive and preserve something in which a lot of time and efforts has been invested. The Ministry of Sports supports the project for the second year, including also the Municipality of Budva, Budva Tourist Office, National Library of Budva, other institutions and individuals. I know it should be better and better, but I believe it will be through the time that is coming.

Original interview is made in Montenegrin. To read it in Montenegrin, please navigate to The Youth Circle website, by clicking here.

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