Monthly Archives: August 2012

Kosovo film “Kolona” wins Best International Short in Monterrey Film Fest

The film ‘Kolona’ gets award for best short international at Monterrey International Film Festival in Mexico

Short film ‘Kolona’ directed by Ujkan Hysaj, subsidized by Kosova Cinematography Center, gets an Award at Monterrey Film Festival in Mexico, held from 16-26 August, 2012. Kosovan film ‘Kolona’ won the Best short international film Award, and the trophy ‘Cabrito de Plata’.

Trailer of “Kolona”

This film had a World premiere recently at Melbourne Film Festival, Australia.

‘Kolona’ will be shown soon also at Warsaw Film Festival, Poland and Izmir Short Film Festial, Turkey.

The film ‘Kolona’ is co-production of Kosova Cinematography Center and ‘Ajo Pictures’. Directed by Ujkan Hysaj, script Besian Hysaj. Actors: Sunaj Raça, Arbnesha Grabovci, Irena Cahani, Don Raça, Enis Krapi, Vllado Jovanovski, Bislim Muqaj. Director of Photography: Samir Karahoda.

Source: Kosova Cinematography Center. August 29, 2012.

Presheva artist shows he’s switched on by creating miniature worlds inside lightbulbs

Light imitating art: Albanian artist shows he’s switched on by creating miniature worlds inside lightbulbs

  • Adrian Limani, 21, combines two or sometimes three photographs to create the same effect as ships in a bottle

Now that’s a really bright idea – an Albanian artist is creating his own miniature world and he’s capturing it inside light bulbs.

Adrian Limani, 21, from Presevo, Serbia has produced a series of innovative photographs which he believes give the same effect as ships in a bottle.

Adrian, who is now based in Serbia, has even put the Eiffel Tower and the leaning tower of Pisa in one of the light bulbs while another image shows a tree inside a light bulb and two birds scrapping in mid-air.

Adrian said: ‘I just took some shots of light bulbs, without any effects, just straight shots with the camera.

‘Then I suddenly discovered that I really liked that kind of form. I will continue with the bulb ideas because I like being unique.

‘To make a really great image it’s not easy, because you need to have a lot of ideas, a lot of imagination and it’s better to be an unique style of work that you share.

‘My ideas or inspiration usually came from the music, movies, books, and the situation that I live every day.

‘I’m really happy when I heard people liking my photos and work. I always try to be original.

To create the images Adrian combines two or three photographs.

He said: ‘Always when I finish one of my works, I do two or three different versions of colours and I choose which one is better.

‘When I have free time I go out and takes a lot of shots, in different places on different views, so after that I have a little bit more material to make something really good.

‘I’m a self-taught photographer and I began to do serious photography when I was 17 years old and it was a great feeling.

‘My passion for photography started by browsing and navigating the internet.

‘People say to me ‘just continue what you’ve started because you do great work’ and I really try to do my best.’

Original article was featured at Daily Mail News, on August 29, 2012, and can be found at:

Columbia University Alumni: Continues Efforts to Promote Kosovo, His Homeland

The article was taken from the website of School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.

Behar Xharra MIA ’12 presents a recent paper on public diplomacy and image building for Kosovo. Seated are (from left): Anne Meskanen, Chargée d’Affaires of the Finnish Embassy in Kosovo; Petrit Selimi, Kosovo’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Public Diplomacy; Besa Luzha, Executive Director of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (a Gerrman foundation); Ibrahim Makolli, Kosovo’s Minister of Diaspora; and Dr. Ernst Reichel, Ambassador of Germany to Kosovo. Photograph: Alban Bujari / Koha Ditore newspaper.

Having declared independence in February 2008, Kosovo is now recognized as an independent nation by more than 90 UN members, including the United States and many European Union nations. Last month Behar Xharra MIA’12 and Martin Wählisch, a former visiting scholar at the Harriman Instititute, presented in Pristina the results of an eight-month study on the role of diaspora in public diplomacy and image building for the nation.

The study “Beyond Remittances: Public Diplomacy and Kosovo’s Diaspora” is a part of a long-term project known as Branding Kosovo. Xharra had previously discussed some of the findings with a panel of experts he convened at SIPA in February 2012. That panel included Kosovar public officials, scholars, diaspora leaders and activists, media experts, and business sector representatives from New York and Washington.

All told, Xharra says, the study aims to highlight the role of Kosovo’s diaspora as a social and diplomatic capital, and motivate further creative thinking about the major advantages of a stronger diaspora component to Kosovo’s public diplomacy.

The authors argue that the role of Kosovo’s diaspora is at a critical point: They say Kosovars abroad are primarily perceived as providers of remittances and investments in the country, but are also beginning to be acknowledged as a catalyst for international links and a means of facilitating foreign trade. The study gives insights into the status quo, challenges, and opportunities for engaging diaspora members in enhancing the country’s image, which could ultimately aid the country’s diplomatic and economic development.

The July presentation by Xharra and Wählisch to members of the Kosovo government and foreign ambassadors aired live on national television and received coverage in print and electronic media. “The presentation was quite well received, and the impact of the study could be noticed right away,” Xharra said. “Minister of Diaspora Ibrahim Makolli said the members of the diaspora are the best ambassadors of the country. Now we can see a gradual change of the language towards diaspora, which is a great step forward.”

A previous study by Xharran and Wählisch, “Public Diplomacy of Kosovo: Status Quo, Challenges and Options,” was first published in October 2010. Xharra and Wählisch have also initiated an internet project,, to promote the achievements of Kosovo’s diaspora and build the nation’s image abroad.

“Beyond Remittances: Public Diplomacy and Kosovo’s Diaspora” 

Gac Filipaj: From janitor to Ivy League graduate featured on CBS News

It’s graduation season, and though every grad has traveled a unique personal path to his or her diploma, few have a story to match Gac Filipaj.

CBS News correspondent Tony Guida reports Filipaj, 52, graduated from Columbia University Sunday. His diploma is a validation of a life-altering choice: books over blood.

Filipaj’s country of birth – Yugoslavia – was a killing field in 1992 with civil war, ethnic cleansing. Filipaj could either fight for a cause he did not believe in or flee.

He escaped to New York. He chose it not just as refuge but as renaissance.

“I am not blind. I look in the mirror and see myself. If god has not given me some nice appearance he has given me a head, has given me a heart and I can make myself better,” Filipaj said.

Filipaj started at the bottom, cleaning bathrooms. But these were Ivy League bathrooms. He chose a janitor’s job at Columbia University because it came with 14 free credit hours a year.

“I do believe that education, a good education, is very important not only for individuals themselves but for society as a whole,” Filipaj said.

First Filipaj had to learn English. With his fulltime job it took 7 years. Then he enrolled in Columbia’s classics program, studying Greek and Latin by day, scrubbing toilets by night.

“He is a remarkable human being,” said Gareth Williams, who supervised Filipaj’s thesis on the Roman philosopher Seneca.

The professor saw a man dedicated to knowledge.

“He would ask one question and then he would ask another question and a third question. His intellectual curiosity is very broad,” Williams said.

Another 12 years of work-study led to this moment, not just a crowning but also a passage. Filipaj plans to get a Masters, even a PhD. One day he hopes to teach.

“There is a saying that Seneca said: ‘While you teach, you learn,'” Filipaj said.

With 19 years of learning behind him, Gac Filipaj, 52, graduated from Columbia University on Sunday, with honors.

(Taken from CBS News)

Song to Save a Child: A war story turned into a short movie by Kosovo writer/director

Kosovar American Writer/Director, Antoneta Kastrati, has embarked on the production of a short film based on her experiences and personal reflections during the Kosovo war. 14 years after the Kosovo War, a young woman tracks down the man responsible for her mother’s death, and pays him a surprise visit.


Song to Save a Child is a short film drawn from my experiences and reflections during the Kosovo war. It is a story about a young Kosovar woman, the sole survivor of a massacre, who 14 years after the war tracks down the killer and travels to Serbia to find out the story behind her mother’s death and the puzzle that ultimately led to her own survival.

The film deals with the survivor’s journey, the need to understand and come to closure with the past. It is an exploration into the meaning of justice, revenge and nationalism from a survivor’s perspective. The story ultimately is dedicated to mothers who, during armed conflict, are stripped of dignity and more important, their ability to protect their children.


After many years of working as a documentary filmmaker in Kosovo, I moved to Los Angeles in 2009.  I have recently been accepted into the AFI Directing Workshop for Women.  I am one of 8 women accepted from hundreds of applicants all around the US.  AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women is an incredible tuition-free program that provides emerging female filmmakers professional training and support in making a short film.  My shoot is scheduled for July 25th.  I plan to complete the film by the end of 2012.


Writer/Director: Antoneta Kastrati

Producer: Richard King

Cinematographer: Sevdije Kastrati

Production Design: Shawn Bronson
Source: Kickstarter at

WBO light-heavyweight contender Robin Krasniqi blots Sahin’s perfect record with knockout

WBO light-heavyweight contender Robin Krasniqi may well have sealed himself a second attempt at facing champion Nathan Cleverly with a fourth round stoppage win over previously unbeaten Serdar Sahin at the O2 World Arena.
The 25 year-old put the former cruiserweight down in round one and continued to get the better of Sahin for the remainder of the fight, before dropping him again in the fourth with a sweet uppercut to claim the win.
Krasniqi was due to face WBO title holder Cleverly earlier this year at the Royal Albert Hall until the whole bill was scrapped after the Welshman fell ill, and the bout could now be resurrected through the insistence of the World Boxing Organisation.
Sahin, 30, failed to defend his 20-0 record after shedding 25lbs last month to boil down from the 200lb limit and could now rethink his decision following a disastrous loss in just his second bout at the weight.
Jack Culcay also recorded a victory on the night by defeating Federic Serre via a 3rd round TKO. The fight was stopped after a bad cut opened up on the Frenchman’s left eyebrow, meaning the 26 year-old improves 12-0 with his 8th KO.


Source: Phil D. Jay. “Krasniqi blots Sahin’s perfect record with fourth round win; Culcay TKO.” World Boxing News. August 25, 2012.

BBC Interview: Rita Ora on transition from Kosovo refugee to chart reign

BBC Breakfast interviews and features RITA ORA on her special morning show. 

“Singer-songwriter Rita Ora talks to BBC Breakfast about her new album, working with rapper Jay-Z and the decision her family took to leave their native Kosovo and settle in London.”

Rita Ora shares the story of her family, fleeing from Kosovo war, and settling in London. Ora released her first album today called “ORA.” 

See Rita’s interview directly on BBC:

Read more about her tour, events and successes:

Ken Biberaj: candidate for New York City Council seat featured on Tomorrow’s Leaders

Ken Biberaj featured on Tomorrow’s Leaders on Capture the Flag, Blip TV. Biberaj speaks about his candidacy for the New York City Council.  The interview digs deeper into his potential as a leader and his upbringing; it brings out to light his origins from Kosovo and his visions for the city.  His interview consists of 21 edited chapters.
More information about Ken Biberaj’s candidacy and biography can be found on

Who is Ken Beiberaj?

Ken Biberaj is a Democratic candidate running for the 6th District City Council seat in 2013.

Ken is a young, hardworking New York native with a head for business and heart for the Upper West Side.

He lives with his wife, Valerie, on the Upper West Side and works for a small, family-run business based on the West Side of Manhattan. Ken works to help small businesses find new retail space and helped reopen the iconic Russian Tea Room, which his family purchased and restored in 2006. He also sits on the board of a one-branch community bank, witnessing first hand the issues facing those affected by the financial crisis.

Ken was born in the Bronx, his family having immigrated to New York City in 1968 from Albania. His father learned English while working multiple jobs to support his family. Eventually, he earned a PhD from Columbia University, going on to work at Voice of America.

Inspired by his father’s commitment to public service, Ken pursued an undergraduate degree from American University and a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard. Upon graduating, he worked for Senator John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign. Ken then returned to NYC, joined the family business, and went to New York Law School at night, earning his JD in 2008.

Ken’s life is not all business; he is also closely involved with several non-profits, including President Clinton’s Millennium Network, the Culinary Council for the Food Bank for New York City, the Restaurant Committee for NYC & Company and serves as a mentor for New York Needs You.

With years of hard work and community service under his belt, Ken believes it is time for new ideas in city government.

This election is about the future of our neighborhood—and about new ideas. Ken Biberaj embodies the bold, energetic, vibrant leadership that is the signature of the Upper West Side.

Source: Capture the Flag, Blip TV at

Capture Your Flag interviews tomorrow’s leaders today to provide a more approachable way early- to mid-career professionals can build aspirational careers. Interviews are edited into short segments by question and categorized by 100 common themes shaping leadership as well as by industry. Find more at

Swiss representative Granit Xhaka of Borussia Mönchengladbach: Introduces Kosovo, Albania and origin to his teammates

Article was published by the newspaper. The article is in German.

Nati-Star Xhaka singt Albanien-Hymne!

Jeder neue Spieler muss bei Gladbach seinen Kollegen ein Lied vorsingen. Granit Xhaka wählte die albanische Nationalhymne. Hier erklärt er warum.

Elf Millionen Franken bezahlte Borussia Mönchengladbach für Granit Xhaka (19) an den FC Basel. Nach drei Wochen ist das Umfeld voll des Lobes. «Er ist schon der Chef», schwärmt die «BILD»-Zeitung. Mitspieler Luuk de Jong sagt: «Ich liebe seine Spielweise. Granit hat das Spiel richtig gut in der Hand und er weiss, wie man Bälle verteilen muss.» De Jong ist holländischer Nationalspieler, Gladbach zahlte für ihn 18 Millionen Franken an Twente Enschede.

Bei der Borussia müssen neue Spieler zur Einführung vor versammelter Mannschaft ein Lied singen. De Jong blieb bisher noch verschont, weil er später zur Borussia kam. Jugendspieler Nico Brandenburger gab im Trainingslager von Rottach-Egern den Sommerhit «Call me maybe» zum Besten. Unser Nati-Star Granit Xhaka sang die albanische Nationalhymne. Das SonntagsBlick-Interview.

Granit, warum wählten Sie die albanische Nationalhymne?
Granit Xhaka:
 Na ja, als Kind lernst du gewisse Lieder. Und ganz ehrlich: Es ist das einzige, das ich wirklich singen kann, allerdings auch nur die erste Strophe … Die Mitspieler waren sehr überrascht, Sie wussten nicht, dass meine Eltern aus dem Kosovo sind. Aber sie haben natürlich kein einziges Wort verstanden.

Warum haben Sie nicht die Schweizer Hymne gesungen?
Weil ich sie nicht kann. Ich habe sie als Kind logischerweise nicht gelernt, da meine Eltern nicht in der Schweiz aufgewachsen sind.

Aber Sie spielen doch für die Schweizer Nati.
Natürlich. Ich sage immer: Ich fühle mich zu 80 Prozent als Schweizer und zu 20 Prozent als Kosovare. Ich bin Schweizer, aber meine Wurzeln sind ein Teil von mir und werden es auch immer bleiben. Da habe ich überhaupt kein Problem damit.

Aber verstehen Sie, dass das viele Menschen in der Schweiz nicht toll finden, dass Sie die albanische Hymne singen?
Schauen Sie, damit muss ich leben. Ich habe meine Herkunft und dazu stehe ich. Ich liebe beide Länder von ganzem Herzen. Wenn jemand so engstirnig denkt, kann ich auch nichts dagegen machen. Und: Es gibt auch viele hundertprozentige Schweizer, welche die Nationalhymne nicht singen können. Ich finde sie einfach schwer zu lernen. Aber ganz klar: Ich will und werde sie lernen. Ich bin einfach noch nicht dazu gekommen. Aber es ist mittelfristig ein klares Ziel.

Im September spielt die Schweiz gegen Albanien. Welche Hymne werden Sie denn da singen?
Gar keine.

Es gab im Umfeld der Nati die Befürchtung, dass einige Spieler mit Wurzeln in Albanien nicht zum WM-Qualifikationsspiel antreten. Werden Sie spielen?
Hundertprozentig sicher, ja. Es sei denn, ich werde nicht nominiert vom Nationaltrainer. Die Leute vom albanischen Verband wissen, warum ich mich für die Schweiz und gegen Albanien entschieden habe. Da haben sie Pech gehabt.

Es ist möglich, dass der Kosovo bald als unabhängige Nationalmannschaft mitspielen darf. Dann könnten Sie das Land wechseln. Ist das denkbar?
Die Unabhängigkeit ist so weit weg, da beschäftige ich mich überhaupt nicht damit.

Sie sind der prominente Abwesende neben Xherdan Shaqiri bei Olympia. Haben Sie das Spiel der Schweiz gegen Gabun gesehen?
Ja, natürlich. Leider hat unser Olympia-Team nach dem 1:0 zu wenig nach vorne gemacht. Aber es liegt immer noch alles drin.

Und wie läufts bei Mönchengladbach? Sie werden schon als der neue Chef gefeiert.
Bisher läufts sehr gut. Ich fühle mich in der Mannschaft sehr wohl. Freue mich wahnsinnig auf die Bundesliga. Und ich habe ein Haus ein wenig ausserhalb gefunden. Alles läuft nach Plan bisher.

Kosovo-born signing Shefki Kuqi aims to make use of experience at Hibs – Scottish League

Article taken from

Shefki Kuqi knows the day will come when he’s finally forced to call it quits and hang up his boots. But even at 35-years-old, the much-travelled 
Finnish veteran believes that day remains some way off.

The eighth summer 
signing for Hibs boss Pat 
Fenlon, Kuqi knows full well the question of his age won’t be long in coming, but as far as he is concerned it’s not an issue. In fact, he’s confident he could still be pulling on a shirt long after this season draws to a close.

Admitting he’s perhaps a couple of weeks away from feeling as sharp as he would like, the 6ft 2in hitman 
nonetheless insists he’s more than ready to play his part in the Easter Road outfit’s hoped-for revival.

The statistics would appear to support his stance, almost 50 matches played for League One outfit Oldham Athletic last season, taking his career total to more than 500 – and counting.

In his first interview since clinching a one-year deal with Hibs, Kuqi said: “I feel strong, I have been lucky in that I have never really missed games throughout my career with injury. How long I have left I do not know, another year, two or three or whatever. To me it is important I wake up in the morning, feel good and want to go training.

“I’ve said that as soon as I get up in the morning and feel I do not really fancy it then I will pack in. But as long as I feel as I do at the moment, fit and strong, I will carry on. Oldham had played three or four games last season before I went there but after that I never missed a game. You can say whatever you want about me at 35 but there were 
players there at 25 who didn’t play half the games I played.

“Football, like everything else is changing. For 
example, 20 years ago if you were 30 you were in the last year of your career. Now everyone looks after themselves, you see players like Ryan Giggs, 37 or 38, playing with one of the top teams in the 
world and he has been 
doing that year after year after year.

“It depends on how well you look after yourself. Of course people ask your age, but you get your own feeling and as long as I do not let my 
team down, that’s important.”

Hibs are Kuqi’s 15th club in a career which began in his adopted homeland of Finland and continued in England for the past 12 years following a move to Stockport, the Kosovo-born star able to list the likes of Sheffield 
Wednesday, Ipswich Town, Blackburn Rovers, Crystal Palace, Fulham, Swansea City and Newcastle United on a highly impressive CV.

Again he is aware such a turnover in clubs may raise eyebrows but he revealed: “It’s been a long journey but I’ve had a good career in England, having been here since 2000. Twelve years is a long time, I’ve enjoyed most of it. Sometimes I’ve had hard times, but that’s part of the game.

“However, I am the type of person who doesn’t want to be paid just to sit on the bench and not care about the team. I have always put the team in front of myself and I have had to move on because I’m not happy to be paid and see 
out my contract. I want to 
play football, it is a short 

There’s little doubt Fenlon sprang something of a surprise in the capture of Kuqi, who follows countrymen Mixu Paatelainen, Jarkko Wiss and Jonatan Johanson in playing for Hibs, but having not particularly enjoyed his spell at Boundary Park, he’s excited at once again playing top-flight football.

He said: “I’ve played for a lot of big clubs and when you play in the Premier League or the First [top] Division in any country it is a bit different. I came up last Saturday and had a look at the training ground and on the Sunday I watched the derby with Hearts. I didn’t think there was much between the two clubs. Everyone has their own opinion and I felt that if either team deserved to win it was Hibs, especially the first half.

“I saw some good signs in the team, I’d spoken to the manager – I like to be 
honest with people and I got 
that impression from him – and so it was quite an easy decision to make in the end.”

Kuqi got his first taste of the SPL as Hibs ran out 2-1 winners against St Mirren at the weekend and, again, he was suitably impressed by his newteam-mates. He said: “We thoroughly deserved the game and should have been three or four up at half-time. We did really well away from home, played some good stuff. It takes time, people forget we are so young and have so many new faces while the manager wants to get his ideas and the way he wants to play over.”

Fenlon has already gone on record to say he expects Kuqi to bring his vast experience to bear on youngsters such as Ross Caldwell and Danny Handling, while pointing out his current front pairing of Leigh Griffiths and Danny Handling are hardly anywhere near the vintage end of their careers. But while more than willing to help in that regard, Kuqi insisted producing what’s 
expected on matchday 
remains his over-riding 
concern. He said: “Of course the manager has brought me here for a reason. I think I still have plenty to offer in attack, that I can help the team by scoring goals.

“There’s no use me coming here and not doing the job. I have to do that first and hopefully things will go the way I want them to go. I have been honest with the manager and told him I think I need a week or two of good training to get in the rhythm. I have a big job in front of me, that’s why I was brought here. But the other side is I have played with some very good groups of players, played at the highest level, played international football and if anyone needs any help them I will be there to help them.”

And Kuqi revealed he’s 
already excited at the 
prospect of playing alongside hotshot Griffiths, saying: “Every time he gets the ball you think something is going to 
happen. Give him a chance in the box and he is a really good finisher.

“There’s not too many 
left-footed players around but they always seem to have something in them, 
something extra or special.”


Source: David Hardie (2o12). “Kosovo-born signing Shefki Kuqi aims to make use of experience at Hibs – Scottish League.” August 21, 2012.