Monthly Archives: September 2012

Kosovo Scholars on the rise: Gëzim Visoka advances theoretical and empirical understanding of post-conflict studies

Kosovo’s education gap due to conflict and isolation in the 1990’s, has started to fill with the young generations. Gëzim Visoka is one of the many receiving his doctorate degree in Politics and International Relations in Dublin, Ireland. As a child he lived through war, transition and development; now Gëzim has been trying to understand these phenomenons and aid the field of politics with his theories and ideas. 

Gëzim Visoka is completing his doctorate studies in Politics and International Relations at Dublin City University in Ireland. He completed his MA in European Politics at the University of Sussex with distinction where he was an OSI/Chevening Scholar.

Gëzim was born in Podujevo in 1986, where his childhood and political awareness was shaped profoundly by the rising tensions during the 1990s, the war and international intervention in 1999 and the subsequent international administration of Kosovo.

After the war, Gëzim remained in Kosovo and became heavily involved in voluntary charity work, peer education projects, inter-ethnic reconciliation activities, human rights education and advocacy, minority empowerment projects and worked for the UNFPA. In order to maximize his societal contribution, Gëzim decided to pursue further education to understand more profoundly the challenges facing Kosovo’s society.

Between September 2009 and July 2010 Gëzim studied for an MA in European Politics at the University of Sussex. This marked the beginning of his academic commitment to study critically the practices that shape peacebuilding dynamics in divided, fragmented, and post-conflict societies. Accordingly, his societal contribution now extends beyond Kosovo to promote best practices in other countries experiencing international administration.

As part of his doctoral research, Gëzim is advancing the theoretical and empirical understanding on the unintended consequences of extensive and protracted international governance of post-conflict societies. Parallel to this, Gëzim is engaged with core academic debates on the limits of liberal peacebuilding, ethics of international governance, and the peace prospects in post-conflict societies. There he is bringing his local and critical perspective from Kosovo, which is adding value to the academic inquiries on peacebuilding dynamics.

Of particular relevance, his work on Kosovo has examined the role and impact of the multiple, complex, and overlapping international governance structures in Kosovo and how they have affected the prospects for sustainable peace. In his recent journal article published in the well-known journal Civil Wars, Gëzim has revealed how the complex, overlapping, and fragmented international presences in Kosovo have negatively affected the situation in the north of Kosovo, have delayed the establishment of the rule of law, and consequently impacted over the gradual recognition trends. Gëzim’s research published with the Journal of Intervention and Statebuildingreveals also the unaccountable and irresponsible governance practices among the international organizations present in Kosovo, which effectively downgrades their legitimacy, ethical commitments, and credibility. Earlier in 2010, Gëzim has researched the justifications of states for recognizing Kosovo’s independence and has advanced the theoretical and analytical understanding of new forms of state recognition in world politics.

This articles have been published in prestigious scholarly journals, such as: Civil Wars, Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, Journal of Peacebuilding and Development, Irish Studies in International Affairs, Journal on Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe, and Journal of Conflict Transformation and Security.

In line with this commitment for societal responsibility, Gëzim has recently been involved as Research Director with the Kosovo Institute of Peace, a newly established think-tank in Kosovo, which is working in advancing peace in Kosovo and the wider region.

His research and publications can be accessed in his personal webpage:


Some coverage on Gezim Visoka’s work, taken from his personal website

October 2012
Presenting at the Conference ‘In Search of Peace: Dialogues between theories and practices’, Europan Science Foundation and LIU, Norrkoping, Sweden, 20-24 October 2012.

Discussant at the Conference ‘Economic Development and Political Transition in Kosovo‘, hosted by the American University in Kosovo, Prishtina, 12-13 October 2012.

September 2012
Presenting at the Conference ‘Civil War and the State-building Challenge’, hosted by the Institute for Conflict, Cooperation and Security, University of Birmingham, 17 – 18 September, 2012.

Presenting at the Conference ‘New Frontiers for Peacebuilding: Hybridity, Governance, and Local Agency‘, hosted by the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute (HCRI), University of Manchester, 13 – 14 September, 2012.

July-September 2012
I will spend this summer as a Visiting Scholar at the American University in Kosovo, where I will complete my field research, share the knowledge with local faculty, and co-organize an international academic conference on the political economy of peacebuilding in Kosovo.

Gave an interview to The Journal [ ] on the future of Kosovo after its closure of supervised independence this year. Full article available here.

June 2012
‘Language Politics in Post-conflict Kosovo’, presented in an AHRC workshop on languages and NGOs, part of the project run by the University of Reading. ‘Languages at War: policies and practices of language contacts in conflict’, Royal Society of Arts, London, 22 June 2012.

‘Democracy, International Engagement, and Economic Development in Kosovo’, presented to the 2012 International Summer School on ‘Economic Development in Divided Societies’, Clinton Centre, Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, 14 June 2012.

May 2012
‘The Politics of Regional Reciprocity: A Discursive Analysis of the 2011 Census in the Western Balkans’, presented in the RRPP Annual Conference, 25-26 May 2012, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. (With Elvin Gjevori).

April 2012
‘The Discourse of Unintended Consequences in State-building Research’, presented on a Post-Graduate conference in the “The Social and the Political in Discourses of State-Building”, The Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Westminster, 27th April 2012.

March 2012
‘The ‘Kafkaesque Accountability’ of International Governance in Kosovo’, seminar presentation in the Center for the study of Wider Europe, NUI Maynooth, Ireland, 7th March 2012.

May 2010
‘The Independence of Kosovo: A Case of ‘Remedial Sovereignty’’, presented in the academic conference “After the Melting of Frozen Conflicts: Systemic Transformations and Legitimation of Secessionist Bids”, 28-29 May 2010, University of Tartu, Estonia. (with Grace Bolton).

April 2010
‘Protracted International Administrations’, presented in the Open Society Institute/ Chevening Scholarship Programme Mid-Year Conference, April 2010, University of Durham, England.

Study on Albanian Diaspora Activism For Kosovo Independence in the US and the UK

A new study on the Albanian Diaspora has been published by the Foreign Policy Analysis.  The study was written by Maria Koinova.
The study could be accessed through the Wiley Online Library.

Below you can read the Abstract of the study:

This comparative study explores the conditions and causal pathways through which conflict-generated diasporas become moderate or radical actors when linked to homelands experiencing limited sovereignty. Situated at the nexus of scholarship on diasporas and conflict, ethnic lobbying in foreign policy, and transnationalism this article develops four types of diaspora political mobilization—radical (strong and weak) and moderate (strong and weak)—and unpacks the causal pathways that lead to these four types in different political contexts. I argue that dynamics in the original homeland drive the overall trend towards radicalism or moderation of diaspora mobilization in a host-land: high levels of violence are associated with radicalism, and low levels with moderation. Nevertheless, how diaspora mobilization takes place is a result of the conjuncture of the level of violence with another variable, the linkages of the main secessionist elites to the diaspora. The article uses observations from eight cases of Albanian diaspora mobilization in the US and the UK from 1989 until the proclamation of Kosovo’s independence in 2008.

Source: Koinova, M. (2012), Four Types of Diaspora Mobilization: Albanian Diaspora Activism For Kosovo Independence in the US and the UK. Foreign Policy Analysis. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-8594.2012.00194.x

Kosovo born boxer Haxhi (Robin) Krasniqi, Nr. 1 in the WBO version

Kosovo born boxer Haxhi (Robin) Krasniqi, based in Germany, has reached the Nr. 1 spot in the World Boxing Organization (WBO) rankings for the light-weight version. This comes after his last victory over the undefeated Serdar Sahin on 25 August 2012 in the O2 Arena in Berlin, Germany. Haxhi (Robin) Krasniqi follows the footsteps of Luan Krasniqi, the first boxer of Kosovo origin to climb to the top level world professional boxing. What Luan Krasniqi did in the 1990’s and 2000’s, the Kosovo born Haxhi (Robin) Krasniqi is doing it today.

See article below in the German Version or click on the picture:

Robin Krasniqi neue Nr.1 der WBO

SES-Halbschwergewichtler und WBO-International-Champion Robin Krasniqi (38-2-0 (14)) ist jetzt die Nummer 1 der WBO-Weltrangliste imHalbschwergewicht.

Nach seinem spektakulären Sieg über den bis dahin ungeschlagenen Serdar Sahin am 25. August 2012 in der „O2 World“ Berlin hievte der Weltverband den Münchener auf die erste Position des Rankings. Damit kann sich der Schützling von Trainer Dirk Dzemski beste Chancen für eine Herausforderung des amtierenden Champions Nathan Cleverly ausrechnen. Der Fighter vom Magdeburger Boxteam sollte bereits im April gegen den Weltmeister aus England antreten. Der Kampf wurde aus Krankheitsgründen des Titelträgers abgesagt. Jetzt rückt der WM-Fight für den 25-jährigen Krasniqi erneut in greifbare Nähe. Die WBO-Krone imHalbschwergewicht hat in Deutschland eine lange Tradition. Solch große Boxer wie “Tiger” Dariusz Michalczweski, Zsold Erdei und Jürgen Brähmer trugen den Titel in der jüngeren Vergangenheit. Robin Krasniqi: “Ich bin wahnsinnig stolz über die Ranglistenposition. Mein Ziel lautet jetzt: Ich hole den Gürtel zurück nach Deutschland!” 


Auch die SES-Profis Jan Zaveck und Francesco Pianeta sind in der Rangliste derWBO weiter nach oben geklettert. Ex-Weltmeister Jan Zaveck ist jetzt die Nummer 3 imWeltergewicht und Botha-Bezwinger Francesco Pianeta steht in der Königsklasse nun auf Rang Nummer 10.

Source: “Robign Krasniqi neue N. 1 der WBO”. FigoSport. Sep 18, 2012.

Doing Business and Investment in Kosovo: Conference in Washington DC

This week, the United States will be a host to a series of Kosovo related events. In addition to the National Albanian American Council (NAAC) Gala dinner, the John’s Hopkins event on  “Kosovo Unsupervised:  the Path to Europe,” the American Chamber of Commerce in Kosovo will organize a business forum in Washington DC called “Business and Investments in Kosovo.” The conference is supported by the Kosovo Investment Promotion Agency, Ministry of Diaspora, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kosovo and the Kosovo Embassy in Washington DC. The conference will be held in Washington DC, on September 24, 2012.

The organizers said that the Conference will feature presentations form senior Kosovo representatives, including the Prime Minister of the country, Minister of Trade and Industry, Kosovo Privatization Agency, Ministry of Finance Public‐Private Partnership Unit on the potentials for investments in Kosovo. Present at the conference will also be the Kosovo Minister Diaspora Ibrahim Makolli.

AmCham Kosovo will also present at the Conference the Study on Case for Investing in Kosovo, which will include quantitative and qualitative data on why Kosovo presents a good economic destination for US business to expand their operations and investments, as well as the instruments for protection of investors in Kosovo.

Mark Gjonaj wins the 80th Assembly District primary in Bronx, NY

The Albanian-New Yorker, Mark Gjonaj wins the 80th Assembly District primary in Bronx, NY. He defeated Assembly woman Naomi Rivera to go to the November 6 Elections. The Bronx based businessman has been active in his community and has generated a great support from the Albanian community in the Bronx. If he wins the November 6, 2012 elections, which he is expected to, he will be the first person of Albanian origin to hold office in the United States currently.

Taken from Norwood News

In the Bronx’s most heated and intriguing political race this fall, challenger Mark Gjonaj defeated embattled Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera in the 80th Assembly District primary by a comfortable margin, according to results released by the Associated Press. In this heavily Democratic district, which includes parts of Norwood, Allerton, Morris Park and Pelham Gardens, Gjonaj will almost certainly be elected to office when voting for the general election happens on Nov. 6.

While putting together a relentless, almost omnipresent campaign — his army of yellow-clad Gjonaj CARES workers were a fixture in the district — Gjonaj became the beneficiary of a series of articles in the New York Post detailing allegations that Rivera used her position and taxpayer money to enrich two recent boyfriends. Several authorities have launched investigations into Rivera’s hiring of a Brooklyn gym teacher as an expensive part-time community liaison and her allegedly inappropriate dealings with a nonprofit that she funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars to over the past several years.

The articles and subsequent investigations placed a dark cloud over Rivera’s re-election bid. In the weeks leading up to yesterday’s primary, Rivera refused to speak with the media about the allegations or the campaign, instead opting to bombard voters with mailers painting Gjonaj as a ruthless landlord (he owns a real estate brokerage firm) and closet Republican (he has contributed to GOP coffers in the past and identified himself as an Independent until recently).

But while Rivera, aside from a few appearances at events, has been largely absent from the public eye, Gjonaj has been everywhere. He scored votes, and fought the landlord depiction, by helping advocate for tenants at two large housing complexes — the Allerton Coops and Tracey Towers — in the final weeks before the primary.

According to preliminary numbers reported by the Daily News, Gjonaj took in 2,407 votes (52 percent), while Rivera could only muster 1,894 votes(41 percent). The other two challengers on the ballot were Adam Bermudez, who received 222 votes (5 percent)and Irene Estrada-Rukaj who took in 134 votes (3 percent).

In other local races in the northwest Bronx, incumbent Gustavo Rivera (33rd Senate District) soundly defeated challenger Manny Tavarez and in the 78th Assembly District, Jose Rivera easily held off Ricardo “Ricky” Martinez.

Source: Alex Kratz. “Embattled Assemblywoman Rivera defeated in Primary.” Norwood News. September 14, 2012.

Kosovo Diaspora Global Readership: 74 countries

In less than two months of its existence, the blog has reached a global readership across 74 countries in the six continents. The achievements of people of Kosovo origin have been ample and across different life walks.

Readers come from the countries with red and orange color in the map below. 

Some of the stories include:

The list goes on and on. Visit to stay up to date with achievements of Kosovars abroad. Like us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter.

Swiss Prix Courage goes to three tenagers: two of them of Kosovo origin

The 2012 Audience Prix Courage Award in Switzerland has been awarded to three teenagers, two of them with Kosovo origin. They helped save a man from drowning.

Dines Xhaferi (15) and Shqiprim Olluri (15) from Basadingen, Switzerland were among the three recipients of the Switzerland’s Audience Prix Courage Award for their brave actions in saving a man from drowning. The third teenager was their friend, Ramon Amrhein (16) from Pfäffikon. The three friends are students.

While they were walking across the bridge, they saw a man struggling in the water. He had a seizure ad panic struck out. Amrhein and Xhaferi jumped off of the bridge and manage to pull the 46-year ashore. Olluri on the other hand called the emergency services and helped pull the man on the shore.

***Source: “Prix Courage an drei Teenager und den Gründer von Exit.”  Schweizer Fernsehen 07.09.2012.

Former Miss Kosovo and Miss Albania among the world’s top models in the NYC Fashion Week Spring 2012

Former Miss Kosovo, Marigona Dragusha (also Miss Universe Runner up in 2009) and Miss Albania, Orjeta Hoxha were among the top models representing the Sherri Hill latest collection at the NY Fashion Week Spring 2012. Zana Krasniqi, former Miss Kosovo (Top 10 at the Miss Universe 2008 in Vietnam) was another model for the Sherri Hill collections in 2011.

The Stunning Angles Blog wrote: “Sherri Hill is the biggest gown sponsor of The Miss Universe Organization, therefore it was not a surprise to see current and ex-misses that have been part of the pageants. Here is the gallery of those girls who stopped their roles as beauty queens to be super models. They are: Dayana Mendoza, Zana Krasniqi, Marigona Dragusha, Luo Zilin, Alyssa Campanella, Miss USA 2011.”

Part of their success in the fashion industry can be credited to the continuous work and promotion of the world renown Kosovo Albanian photographer, Fadil Berisha, based in New York. He is the official photographer of Miss Universe, Rolex and many US and European celebrities.

Source: Miss Universe Model for Sherri Hill in New York Fashion Week 2011.

Kosovo Thanks Canada: Artwork by Kosovar Youth in Nova Scotia

A new showcase at the Craig Gallery at Alderney Landing highlights the artistry and shocking history of Kosovar youth.

‘Kosovo Thanks Canada: Artwork by Kosovar Youth,’ is currently on display until Sept. 30 at the gallery where visitors can look through images that illustrate both conflict and hope.

The exhibit will showcase artwork of students from the Abaz Ajeti Elementary and Middle School of Gjilan, Kosovo, and some works by other young artists from around the country.

The display is in Nova Scotia because of a unique connection to the province.

“Nova Scotia holds a particularly important place in the history of Kosovo refugees to Canada. Most of them felt safe and secure for the first time after they had been forced of their homes in Kosovo when they landed here at the Greenwood CFB in Nova Scotia,” says Faton ‘Tony’ Bislimi, founder of the Bislimi Group Foundation, who was born and raised in Kosovo, and is now a doctoral student at Dalhousie and an instructor of economics at the Mount.

“The purpose of this exhibit is symbolic. Kosovars are deeply thankful to Canadians for all they have done for them,” he added.

This exhibit is in appreciation for the role that Canada played as a NATO member in stopping the ethnic cleansing of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo during the Kosovo War of 1998-99 Bislimi said.

It is also a token of appreciation for the Canadian people who welcomed and supported thousands of Kosovar refugees who ended up in Canada in search of safety back in 1999.

To show this feeling of gratitude to Canadians, Hajdin Abazi, Deputy Minister of Culture of Kosovo and Xhevat Latifi, artist and schoolteacher of the Abaz Ajeti School, joined Bislimi in opening the exhibit on Aug. 30,

Many Kosovo people who fled to Canada have stayed and now call the country home, this exhibit will serve as a way for Kosovar-Canadians to learn about their heritage and beginnings.

Hosted by the Craig Gallery at Alderney Landing on the Dartmouth waterfront, the Market Gallery is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, closed holidays.

For more information visit


Source: Colin Chisholm. “Kosovo youth thank Canada through Art.” Halifax NewsNet. September 5, 2012.

A patriotic duty of pilot from Kosovo – by the Egyptian Gazette

A solo flight round the world may be a dream for many people. Perhaps some of them are looking for danger or pleasure, while others want to be famous and others still are simply inquisitive. But for 40-year-old commercial pilot James Berisha from Kosovo, it is a patriotic duty.

Berisha set off nearly four years ago in his single-engine plane from El Paso, Texas to rally support for the, at the time, newly independent Kosovo, which officially became an independent country in February 2008.

Berisha, who visited Egypt last week, has already been to 97 countries, including the whole continent of Africa, as he forges ahead with his mission.

“I would like to thank those countries who have already recognised us, while I will tell the others how important it is for Kosovo to be recognised worldwide,” said Berisha, in answering a question about the nature of his mission.

Kosovo’s predominantly ethnic Albanian leadership declared independence from Serbia in February 2008, with strong backing from the United States and major EU nations.

But the Serbian government, strongly supported by Russia, insists that Kosovo is still legally bound by the Security Council resolution, and the UN – at Moscow’s insistence – still retains overall authority in Kosovo.


Now, according to Kosovo’s Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, Kosovo is a state recognised by nearly half of the UN’s 193 members and its territorial integrity “will never be questioned”.

However, the Islamic Arab countries of North Africa have yet to recognise Kosovo, something that still astonishes Berisha.

“I really don’t know the reason for this. Maybe they think that Tito is still alive or even that Yugoslavia still exists.

“But I think today, with the changes in this region, things will change and many Islamic countries are going to recognise us soon,” he added.

Berisha also said that he carried a formal letter to the Egyptian Foreign Minister Kamel Amr, asking him to recognise his country, as Egypt is one of the countries that has yet to recognise the independence of this new state, most of whose citizens are Muslim.

“During my tour, I have been dealing with both public and formal diplomacy, but public diplomacy is far easier, because formal diplomacy is very slow,” he commented, stressing that the all people in the countries he has visited are very positive and supportive, while it’s been a different story with some governments.

But his difficulties are not limited to convincing people or governments, as he has also to convince his Cessna 172 to keep on flying with him.

This self-financing campaigner bought his kite at his own expense. However, the 1967 model has become cantankerous in its old age, misbehaving on every landing. Berisha’s most recent hair-raising episode happened in the Sudan, where he crashed in the desert. Amazingly, he has lived to tell the tale.

On his plane, he has painted the flag of his country and written, ‘Please recognise the independence of Kosovo’.

Every crash landing diminishes Berisha’s hopes of donating his ‘metal bird’ to a museum in his country at the end of his tour.

For this self-financing campaigner, who has been without work and therefore without a salary for the past four years, the high cost of fuel and parking in some countries, including Egypt, has been another big hurdle.

When you meet this enthusiastic, man of resolve, who abandoned a good job and comfortable life in the US for this tour, to tell the world about his country, you cannot help but admire him.

Berisha insists on telling everyone about his country and the vital need for it to have relations with every other country.

Thousands of his countrymen, many of them are his own relatives, died in the Balkan wars in the 1990s.


More about Berisha’s solo flying and solo lobbying around the world.

Source: Ihab Shaarawy. “A patriotic duty.” The Egyptian Gazette. September 4, 2012.