Head of Political and Economic Section of the US Embassy to Montenegro Ms Leslie Freriksen has visited Democracy Workshops “Barbara Prammer” and talked with attendees of the English Access Microscholarship programme, participants in the workshop titled “Democracy and Parliament”.
English Access Microscholarship is implemented by ELTAM (English Language Teachers’ Association Montenegro), with financial support of the US Embassy in Podgorica. Participants in the programme, which started in October 2015, include 25 students ages 13 to 15 from several primary and secondary schools from Nikšić. The programme is currently being implemented in 80 countries worldwide.
During the workshop, which was held in English, the students had the opportunity to learn about topics such as democracy and civil society, electoral systems in Montenegro and the USA, as well as about the system of division of powers in Montenegro and the USA. The participants were interested in learning more about similarities and differences between the two models of governmental structure, system of “checks and balances“ in the USA, voting process and types of elections in the USA, functioning of the civil society organisations, as well as how the US Embassy was stimulating development of civil society in Montenegro.
Ms Freriksen also said that in Montenegro there was a system of control and balance of the branches of power, which was very important for democracy, noting that the US political system was different due to different governmental structure and a large number of federal states. However, she pointed out that regardless of the political system, the citizens were the ones that needed to decide who would be the decision-makers.
The guest also said that, with regard to strengthening of citizens and their rights, the civil society organisations had a key role, both in Montenegro and the USA, where there was a wide spectre of these organisations, dealing with various issues - from humanitarian to issues of political participation. The US Embassy to Montenegro promotes development of civil society through awarding grants to organisations dealing with issues from the field of human rights, as well as through sharing of experiences and good practice.
The guest voiced her pleasure over participation in the workshop and the opportunity to exchange opinions with the workshop participants, whom she assessed as having a high level of language knowledge.