At the Youth, Development and Peace Conference in Sarajevo held in September 2004, we heard the voices of young people calling for investing in youth and youth organizations to create a better society and a promising future. In spite of encouraging efforts by policy makers and implementers in some countries, youth in South Eastern Europe (SEE) have sometimes fallen through the cracks of public policy. The overall situation of youth, has tended to deteriorate precisely at a time when it should be improving to meet the challenges and opportunities of European Union (EU) accession.\n\nThis study, Young People in South Eastern Europe: from Risk to Empowerment, explores the challenges faced by young people, and outlines priority policy options to address these challenges, with full recognition of the constraints faced by SEE countries.\n\nThe multiple dimensions of youth exclusion are captured by this comprehensive report which argues compellingly for an integrated youth policy in SEE. The study links the needs for education (formal and non-formal) with employment, and demonstrates how unemployment, exclusion and marginalization contribute to risky behaviors. Addressing these challenges will require mainstreaming youth issues into World Bank’s country work, a process which is already underway in the Western Balkans. This study provides an elaborate road map for youth inclusion and empowerment in SEE—one that will involve youth as assets in building more stable and cohesive societies prepared to enter the European Union.