Monthly Archives: November 2012

Rita Ora: A symbol of Kosovar resilience

Rita Ora is a symbol of Kosovar resilience. Her story of a refugee transformed into a global sensation is an inspiration not only for young women from Kosovo but from around the world, wishing to follow their calling and potential. Her path to success attests that the past does not hold back young people of Kosovo; they present one of the most vibrant societies in Europe, continuously striving to create life and success beyond the hardships that fate brought to them a decade ago.

Rita Ora of Kosovo continues to be a sensation in the United Kingdom and beyond. Her debut album, O.R.A. has reached the Nr.1 spot in the UK Official Charts in just one week from its release.  Her song How We DO (Party) remains in the Top Singles charts for several weeks.

Rita Ora is a symbol of Kosovar resilience. Her story of a Kosovar refugee transformed into a global sensation is an inspiration  not only for young women from Kosovo but from around the world, wishing to follow their calling and potential.

Rita’s family fled Kosovo during the 1999 war, to settle as refugees in the UK. Her family was among the one million Kosovar Albanians to have been expelled by the Milosevic regime. She was one year old.

For a country of 1.8 million that came out of war just a decade ago, Rita Ora is a symbol of hope and the potential that Kosovo presents to the world. Her path to success attests that the past does not hold back young people of Kosovo; they present one of the most vibrant societies in Europe, continuously striving to create life and success beyond the hardships that fate brought to them a decade ago. The openness to the world and opportunities given to the young country have yet to show results. Other former Kosovar Albanian refugees include Xherdan Shaqiri (football player of FC Bayern Munich), Melinda Ademi (American Idol Contestant), Adrian Bujupi (Germany X Factor runner up), Fatmire Bajramaj (Fifa Ballon d’Or 2010 nominee), founders of Pizza Famiglia (New York City’s biggest Pizza Chain), Fatbardhe Hetemaj (UNHCR Refugee Woman of the Year).

Rita has become a champion of young and ambitious women in Kosovo. She is a role model to many. Her success has opened the doors for many young women to seek their dreams and reach their potential in the field of music, art, science and sports.

Rita Ora has recently announced that she will return to her homeland Kosovo for a concert. She has been invited by the President of the country, Atifete Jahjaga,  as way to celebrate Kosovo and her reign in the world music. She will hold a concert for  the 100th anniversary of Independence of Albania.

Kosovars across the spectrum have been celebrating the success of Rita Ora. It can be observed across the social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, personal blogs, news media, and even politicians. In her first video dairy, before she released any of her singles, Rita said: “I moved from Kosovo. And I wish I was around my people…I think Kosovo as a nation, we are very proud of where we’re from because it is such a small place, and everyone that succeeds from there its just a big deal. So I am doing it for my family and my country, as much as I am doing it for everyone else.” [see video from minute: 1.50]



Updated: Rita Ora released her single “Shine Ya Light” filmed in her birthplace Prishtina, Kosovo.

By Behar Xharra for the  blog

An ordinary Kosovar on somewhat extraordinary voyages!

Before the war in 1999, very few people from Kosovo had the opportunity to travel and meet the world outside of the Balkans. Today, Kosovars not only reach corners of the world, but they also use their experience and skills garnered at home and abroad  to contribute to their area of work. One such Kosovo young professional  is Alban Pruthi, who hails from Gjakova and currently lives and works in Washington D.C., USA.

With a bucket of hard work mixed with enduring drive and ambitions, as well as few spoons of great luck, I’ve ended up working with a reputable multinational institution, the International Finance Corporation, utilizing the private sector for development goals. In an ocean of well-thought and intended objectives, my role is to help the process of building and or strengthening financial institutions worldwide. In plain words, unleash access to, transparency, soundness and stability of financial sector. And, I’d like to believe prosperity for all. I have only work to blame for taking me to extraordinary voyages around different parts of the world. Of course, the passionate drive for promoting my homeland, culture, people while learning about others is a culprit too.

In generous spirits, I would like to share few personal non-exhausting traveling souvenirs for your inspirational consumption. After all, St. Augustine was awfully right saying “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”

1.    The “Good Bay” of Extreme Contrasts

Landing in Mumbai, India immediately brought close the humble, noble, lifeless, caring face of an Albanian icon, the one and only Mother Teresa. Given that India has not yet recognized Kosova, it helped to employ Loving-Mother-Of-All as a passport to introduce my homeland and its people to my new acquaintances.

I found the “Good Bay” to be a megacity of extreme contrasts lacking a sound middle ground. On one hand full of heavenly and meticulously pristine and aromatized luxurious hotels, shops, restaurants and what not, accessible only to the rich and famous as well as tourists. On the other, heart/eye breaking pockets of slums full of dust, dirt, grayness inhabited by laborious and extra active hardworking people with eyes full of sparkle and life.

An energetic and dynamic city that allowed me to get a sense of how much is “a billion of people.” To experience the loud noise it makes, challenges it faces, and extremities it employs to charm and touch an innocent and ordinary Kosovar visitor, who ultimately ends up in a dilemma of choice between disdain and love. A place that truly fed and misused my sixth senses!

 2.    Sweet Seoul, South Korea

Deep down, I’ve always known I have a bit of an Asian gene in my DNA. This claim gains ground if one considers the mere fact that the Balkans, including Kosova, for centuries have been a very fertile crossroad of various cultures and all you can name it. It did help and filled me with enormous pride to be in a country that has recognized my beloved but work in progress homeland.

After a 14 ½ hours air journey, walking in the hallways of Incheon International Airport, I forgot I was in a transportation facility. I thought I had landed in a mega cultural complex full of awesome activities ranging from live performances of Gangnam style—a Korean song that took the world by thunder— to painting classes and historical enactments of the rich royal past.  It truly felt great being in the prosperous Korea!

Once in Seoul, I found a modern city wrapped in concrete and tall glass edifices often displaying architectural elegance embraced by traditional touches. The rich spicy cuisine and the brown rice green tea opened my mouth and allowed me to share interesting facts about my homeland with street acquaintances who spoke somewhat broken English.  Yet, they possessed the latest tech gadgets.

But, I realized that modernity co-existed peacefully with the old past in the walls within walls of royal palaces with flying eagle roofs, including traditional meticulous neighborhoods with super cute Hanok, which is a term for homes. A once buried river brought to life by a green minded mayor, nourished downtown Seoul and its inhabitants. It gave me hope for the buried river in the centre of Prishtina, the dynamic capital of Kosova.

3.    Tasty 2-cities of Truly Asia Malaysia

Happily escaping the cold weather of Northern Hemisphere, my lungs were greeted by the humid tropical air served freely at Kuala Lumpur, the inviting capital of Malaysia. My eyes cherished the warm welcoming and diverse faces of locals speaking good English. Walking on the land of another country that has recognized Kosova tricked me to forget the work waiting for me and the long journey I had to get there.

While purposefully getting lost in the contemporary architectural and urbanized Kuala Lumpur and in the UNESCO city port of Melaka, I made sure to consume “all-I-could” from the tripartite cultural combo of Malay, Chinese, Indian and some leftovers of colonial Europe. The menu included numerous tropical mosques with lush palm gardens, humming smoky Chinese and Hindu temples bursting in colors and icons— a truly spiritual harmony of coexistence. Something shouting out loud: SAFEGUARD AND CHEERISH DIVERSITY. Something, my homeland would benefit recalling and embracing.

Having walked and walked in exploring these 2 cities, I’d often indulge on a BMW ride— a tasty banana, mango, and watermelon fresh smoothie, which made me and my tummy extra happy. All spicy delicious food aside that challenged my tongue, I surrendered to guava, mangosteen, longan, durian—tropical fruits I had never eaten before.

From my window plane seat ascending to free skies, I made sure to say goodbye to slick omnipotent Petronas towers and other remarkable landmarks of the inspiring Malaysia. Good bye, until next time.

Alban Pruthi is a young professional in international development with over 5 years of varied experience in the field of credit reporting and other financial infrastructure cross-cutting themes, resettlement, rehabilitation, elections, media and broadcasting. Alban has a B.A. in Political Science and European Studies from the American University of Bulgaria and an M.A. in International Relations and Economics from School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of Johns Hopkins University. He is native in Albanian, fluent in English, has a good working command in Serbo-Croatian and Italian, as well as a rudimentary knowledge of French, German and Bulgarian. He is originally from Gjakova, Kosova but lives and works in Washington DC, USA.

Diaspora in Germany: Arta Ramadani nominated for the 2012 KAUSA Award in Germany

Arta Ramadani original of Kosovo origin, has been nominated for the KAUSA 2012 Award. The award is given annually by the German government to the best journalistic contributions to migration related issues. 

Arta Ramadani was born in Prishtina, but raised in Germany as her parents settled in the country 31 years ago. She studied ethnology, political science and science media and communication in Boston (USA), Heidelberg and Mannheim (Germany).

His journalistic career began at a young age. She hosted the show “Sunshine Live”. She then moved to the ZDF, where she she served as the editor-in-chief of the program “Hallo Deutschland.”

Arta Ramadani currently works for the magazine “Nano” of the German Television 3Sat. She was nominated for the television category along with four other Germans that have contributed to issues related to migration. They are:

  • Gisela Hartmann (WDR)
  • Anorte Linsmayer (WDR)
  • Suana Meckeler (RTL)
  • Sissy Metzschke (MDR)
  • Arta Ramadani (3sat)

The awards will be public and presented on December 5, 2012.

Source: BMBF. “The Kausa Media 2012 Award.” and “Arta Ramadani nominated for KAUSA 2012,”