Monthly Archives: September 2013

FC Kosova in Zürich: House of Talents and Diaspora ambassadors

A great opportunity for all football talents who would like to join FC Kosova academy.

Roger Küng will face a great challenge as the Chairman of the FC Kosova Academy teams. His tasks include recruiting and scouting out young players to complete the teams, as well as find competent and coordinated managers to lead the youngsters. Good cooperation between all the academy divisions’ officials is key to creating a unique style of play for the academy teams. FC Kosova has signed teams for all the academy categories in the FVRZ for the 2013-2014 season.

All players born between 1993 and 2007 are invited to try out for the FC Kosova teams. Coaches, officials, and staff are motivated to extend the academy’s division in the club. “Together, we will make an effort to achieve our goals, and we are willing to fulfill all academy needs,” said the FC Kosova officials. They are also committed to the advancement of the department, so players can experience a unique football education, feel at home, and contribute to the success of the club in the future. This can only be realized if the officials, coaches, managers, academy players, and parents work together. They strive to maintain a positive image and set of behaviors, so FC Kosova is perceived to be a friendly and pleasant club.

Despite the name, not all players must be of Albanian descent. “Football knows no boundaries and certainly no exclusion, and we can all learn from each other. Only together will we be strong and successful,” an official stated. All talented youngsters wishing to join FC Kosova may register via:

Roger Küng:     079 400 20 93
Valon Latifi:   079 737 37 01

Otherwise, you can visit the FC Kosova web page.

The 17th Anniversary Awards Gala of the National Albanian American Council

You are cordially invited to the 17th Anniversary Awards Gala of the National Albanian American Council (NAAC) to be held on Friday, September 27, 2013, at 6:00PM, at Cipriani on 42nd Street, in New York City.

This year NAAC honors Ambassador Philip T. Reeker with ‘Hands of Hope Award’ – for his vital contribution to Albanian issues and to the stability of the Balkans. Ambassador Reeker currently serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, focused on Central Europe and the Balkans.

We will also honor Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, with the ‘Lifetime AchievementAward’. Yunus Social Business, a company co-founded by Professor Yunus, launched the ‘Social Business Movement of Albania’ in 2012 and is playing a crucial role in the development of social businesses in the country.

Each year the Awards Gala brings together Albanian political leaders from Albania, Kosova, Macedonia and Montenegro, US State Department officials, Ambassadors, UN delegates, prominent Albanian businessmen, international dignitaries, renowned entertainers and distinguished members of the Albanian American community.

Join us to celebrate 17 years of extraordinary individuals who have contributed tirelessly in support of democratic development for the Albanian people in the Balkans and greater diaspora.

Please check the webpage for further information on registration www.naac.org

We thank you for your loyal support and look forward to celebrating with you.

Solaborate: Vote Kosovo-born Entrepreneur to Win Tech Crunch Challenge

Solaborate, a Los Angles-based social media start-up company founded by Kosovo-born entrepreneur,  is participating in the Startup Alley Tech Crunch Disrupt SF 2013 Competition. It is an event organized by a TechChrunch, featuring new start-ups, which showcase their talent and technology to a jury and a wide audience.

The Founder & CEO of Solaborate is Labinot Bytyqi from Kosovo. He needs our support. Kosovo Diaspora medium calls on all members of Diaspora from the Balkans to Vote here for Solaborate to win.

The voting is taking place now until 12:00 midnight Vote here now for Solaborate.

Fifty start-up companies presented their model yesterday, and another fifty, among them Solaborate, presented today. Based on our votes by the audience, Solabroate may be able to received the  Audience Choice Winner. If the company is selected, it will gain the right to engage in the Tech Crunch’s Battlefield Finals, where the winners will receive a grant of 50,000 USD and the Disrupt Cup.

From Nepal to Kosovo: A Call for Friendship and Mutual Recognition

Nepal and Kosovo are both small landlocked countries surrounded by bigger neighbors and both states are pursuing their efforts to uplift the lives of their populations. Yet, it would be unlikely that a Nepalese citizen would know much about Kosovo and I dare say, it would be the same the other way around.  Despite the limited contact between Nepalese and Kosovars, we are bound by our strong sense of identity in a neighborhood of bigger states.

In today’s world, education has become a tool to further one’s career prospects. But I am a firm believer that most of one’s education happens outside of the classroom.  As a citizen of Nepal, a landlocked country located in the high Himalayan Mountains of South Asia, I have been fortunate to have friends from all corners of the globe, who have continually nurtured as well as challenged my world views.

One such person is a dear friend that I met in college, who happened to be from Kosovo.

Her enthusiasm as well as resolve for the future of her newly independent country was obvious the very moment I met her. She wanted to know why Nepal has not recognized Kosovo. She wanted me to recognize her newborn country. She wants Nepal to do so. This friend of mine brought to light the challenges and the parallels of the hurdles that both of our countries have to face. Her determination has inspired me to write this piece, as I understand that despite being from countries located in different corners of the world, we have many shared experiences that help strengthen our bonds as a people.

Nepal became a unified kingdom in 1768 and it has remained an independent state ever since. It was one of the few countries in Asia that was never colonized, and that is something Nepalis are fiercely proud of. The sense of “Nepaliness” has derived from our joint struggle to remain independent from the mighty Qing Empire in the north and the British East India Company to the south. Despite our diversity in ethnicity, religion, and tribe, Nepalis across the world rejoice in our motherland that has remained free of foreign rule since its beginning in 1768.

This sense of Nepaliness should be enough to convince any Nepalese citizen of the need to recognize similar aspirations of people from Kosovo, yet the Nepalese government has failed to act on it due to domestic issues pertaining to our own issues with a federal set-up that was proposed since the toppling of the monarchy in 2008. There is fear that there might be separatist activities within Nepal if ethnicity based federalism is approved; this fear is enough for the government to stay away from recognizing newly formed states. The rationale used is that if the government can recognize other newly formed states and consider the aspirations of those who want to be independent, the same could be used against the Nepali government if domestic demands arise.

Despite our domestic grievances concerned with state restructuring, it does not make sense to deprive recognition to another state that is attempting to consolidate its own statehood and identity. In the same way Nepal is reconfiguring and consolidating its own sense of identity, it would be unjust to deny the same to Kosovo. In addition, the strong of Nepaliness is embedded in the psyche of those residing in Nepal, despite our differences in ethnicity, culture, and religion. Also, the geopolitical considerations in the region will make it highly unlikely for Nepal to split up into smaller states, as topography makes it almost impossible for smaller states to exist. Thus, the fear that recognizing Kosovo will somehow put Nepal in a state of limbo is hyped and although not widely discussed, could be a result of regional powers exerting their influence in the government of Nepal.

The struggles and achievements of the people of Kosovo deserve recognition from Nepal for the very fact that we have had common experiences of maintaining our identity. Despite being small compared to our neighbors, both Kosovo and Nepal have strong links to their land and have guarded their sense of nation. Usually overshadowed by our bigger neighbors, both Kosovars and Nepalis have relentlessly passed on the tradition, language, and culture of their ancestors.

Nepal has also been at forefront in peacekeeping missions across the world, contributing thousands of soldiers to the UN. It has also been actively involved in the Non-Aligned Movement. Nepal could help in Kosovo’s path towards a constructive future if it were to recognize it formally. It would not mean a great deal in the international political arena, but it would be one more country recognizing the dreams and aspirations of the Kosovo people.

As a Nepalese as well as a citizen of the world, my best of wishes to the people of Kosovo. Nepalis understand the pain of violence, because we had our own civil war for over a decade and ended as recently as 2005. Yet, it is in the aftermath of the violence that we have seen the need to move on and I am sure Kosovo will pursue a path of development and prosperity.

Bibek Chand is pursuing his graduate studies in international relations from Florida International University, with a focus on peace studies as well as South Asian politics. He is a graduate of Wartburg College, Iowa. He’s also interested in Sino-Indian relations and its implications for regional security.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect Kosovo Diaspora’s editorial policy.

From a Kosova Soccer player to the streets of Manhattan on a Business Suit

From the little town of Klina, to the Big Apple, the story of Gjon Lleshaj is that of success. Just as the game of soccer is won through teamwork, his success story comprises of many friends helping forward.

Gjon Lleshaj is easily considered as one of the most important American Albanian business man, his construction company operates within the real-estate paradise of New York. He left the green field of soccer 20 years ago and started his own journey on fulfilling the American dream.

Ever since a youngster, Lleshaj , as well as all the other kids in Kosova, were inspired by the big game of soccer. His ambition and hard work gave him a place in the city’s team “Malizhgan”. It is the social-economic conditions that have forced Mr. Lleshaj to leave his passion for soccer and focus on a different route to success. He still reminisces of the great soccer games, his number 7 jersey and the goals scored throughout the league. The soccer career was about to give him a lifetime journey, an unexpected one.

It is when he received the recruit letter to the notorious Yugoslav army, did  he realize that he was set within a life crossroad. The Lleshaj family thought it best to follow the example of many Kosovar families and emigrate to the United States.

After a Sunday game of soccer Mr. Lleshaj and his colleague decided that it was time to leave, they hoped on the next train and left for Belgrade. It is there, at the last minute that his friend realized that he could not leave his mother, Mr. Lleshaj understood the weight of the decision, thus he continued the journey alone.

Once in the US, Gjon found an entry level job within an Italian Pizza place. It is here that his old game tricks would come to play, once introduced as a former soccer player, all the European immigrants knew they have found one of them. Gjon got accepted within the Brooklyn Italians soccer team and continued living his passionate dream.

The 80s have found Albanian-Americans as a scattered and not well organized group. However, as Gjon had noted, the Albanians have had a soccer team that he was facing in the green soccer field. Ever since, Gjon had switched from the Brooklyn Italians to the New York Albanians, again, his soccer passion had proven a great path finder for his future success. His “transfer” to the New York Albanians did not only create a long sought connection with other Albanians, it introduced him  to the construction industry, the industry he would later touch the heights of success in.

Sparks of Success 

For five years, Gjon worked alongside his new acquaintance and well known Albanian businessman and activist  Martin Shkreli, who at the same time, alongside other Albanians helped Gjon found his private business. Just like in the soccer field, team work proved essential for the successful career of Mr. Gjon.

What gave Gjon Lleshaj the winning edge compared to the others, is his strong interest and prior studies in Architecture. Thus, Mr. Lleshaj looks back at his journey through soccer games and architecture studies and realizes the long way and admits to it being worth. Currently his companys biggest success story  is the refurbishment of 12 banks alongside New York.

Mind and soul in Kosova

Mr. Lleshaj still feels his strong roots in Kosova. His father and four brothers still reside there.Mr. Gjon’s multiple visits over a year help him restore the original image of the place. “I often visit Kosovo” he says while igniting a sense of melancholy and claims that one day he shall be back for good.

Mr. Lleshaj is well known in Kosovo for many of his investments and generous donations but he is rather modest and wishes not to talk of them. However, his well known donation is that of Mother Theresa statue in Klina.

While he does not play soccer anymore, he is still connected to the New York Albanians and continuously urges youngsters to engage in sports. “Sport keeps the young away from activities that affect morality and health. At sports, the kids are friends, they share moments together and will benefit much in life”.

He is the witness to this statement.

The original article was posted at the Illyriapress webpage. Click here to read the original article.

Seeking a stronger grip between Kosovo and its Diaspora.

Ibrahim Makolli, the current minister of diaspora has claimed that the Diaspora Strategy, when implemented seek to strengthen ties between Kosovo and Diaspora.

What is more important and relevant, the Strategy for Diaspora seeks to create a institutional framework with an aim of bettering the political and decision making process of Diaspora members. Thus, resulting with a representation of Kosova Diaspora within the National Assembly and having direct impact within decision-making.

The framework has been constructed through thorough examination of other countries frameworks, thus it is sought to overcome initial difficulties that other countries might have faced.

Furthermore, another important step at empowering the diaspora is  holding a census. The census is though to begin by the end of the year and continue for two years. Through these steps, it is though that the diaspora would gain momentum and have positive impact within the political and social decision making in Kosovo. Through such a framework, the diaspora is believed to strengthen ties with the homeland and thus preserve cultural identity.

Read the full article here.

Yes, we Ken – Ken Biberaj for the New York City Council

There are only four days of campaigning left for those who are running for city offices, this year. One of them is Ken Biberaj, who could be the first Albanian-American member of the New York City Council. 

Ken is a formidable candidate, but he is facing a tough competition from people with strong connections and endorsements who are used to win races by using a small regiment of party and union militants. That is not what democracy is about. It is for the people of New York to decide for themselves and stop the business-as-usual politics.

In the coming days, Ken will need all the help that he can get. You can volunteer by participating in phone banking to remind people to vote for Ken or by raising the visibility of Ken’s campaign presence on the streets- near subway stations, grocery stores, etc. Many Upper West Siders have yet to decide. Other may forget due to a hectic time in their year. Others love Ken, but lack the habit of voting. We can fix all that. Many locals are volunteering to help Ken. But Albanian-Americans have a lot of potential to help as well.

Show up if you can! Join the forces, not only because of his background, but because he is a great candidate and he would be the best choice for the Upper West Side and the City. Let’s help him make us all proud. This is one of those historic races that you will be talking about for years to come. Electing Ken to the City Council will make history. You will proudly say that you were there and help to make it happen.

Click here to help Ken make history and you’ll feel proud about it for many years to come – Fill this form http://tinyurl.com/nrjgtlh

Contact Mediha Kosovrasti, campaign by calling 609-954-5381 or by [email protected]
Hurry up for the time is slipping away.
Yes we Ken!

The original article was posted at the Illyriapress webpage. Click here to read the original article

Kosovare Asllani: A promising football star for the Swedish National team

Kosovare ”Kosse” Asllani debuted for the Swedish National team in 2008, as an 18 year old football player. She is considered one of the best strikers of Sweden. Asllani’s career highlight was when she signed a two-years contract with the French team Paris Saint-German (PSG). Her debut season has been successful, and has already scored for the French team. Asllani is often compared to her countryman Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who also plays for the PSG. Her coach believes Asllani can become one of the best footballers in the world. Kosovare Asllani was born 1989 in Kristianstad in Sweden. Her parents moved to Sweden from Kosovo. 

Kosovare Asllani talks about her new life in Paris and as the newest addition to the football club Paris Saint-Germain. She has been there for a several months now, and says it feels good to be in Paris. There’s a lot to take in for the football player and the French language is something she wants to learn as soon as possible. Though everything is new to her, she feels that the language is the biggest challenge. But when it comes to football, they all understand each other, it’s the same “football language,” says Asllani in her interview with svenskfotboll.se. Though, she is determined to learn French.

Kosovare Asllani has had a great start with PSG, and she claims that  it is good for her confidence. She wants to continue at the same level but argues that there is some things that she can improve in the game. Asllani is pleased with her goals so far and says it has to do with the training. She tells svenskfotboll.se that they are really hard at the training and get yelled at if the they miss a goal. Although she has not played very long for the team, Asllani has made sure to leave an imprint as she scored PSGs fastest goal ever. With 26 seconds Asllani beats Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who scored a goal in 27 seconds.

Kosovare Asllani is glad to be back with the swedish national team and train. She wants to keep a high level in her game and in the team. Asllani doesn’t want to get comfortable, she only wants to improve her game and become a better football player.

Twitter Account:

See her video with svenskfotboll.se in Swedish


Some highlights of Kosovare Asllani and her skills

Kosovo Director to Show Short Film at Venice Film Festival

In recent years, Kosovo artists have presented their newborn country in numerous international art festivals. Many artistic exhibitions show the world that passion for art is one of Kosovo’s great weapons, despite many challenges they face in the international community.  Lendita Zeqiraj serves as an outstanding Kosovo representative, with her short film ”Ballkoni”. The film is scheduled for a viewing on September 5 at the Sala Perla, during the Venice Film Festival in Italy.

After taking part in the Architecture Biennale, Kosovo is gaining a place also at the 70th international Venice Film Festival running until September 7. Lendita Zeqiraj will serve as Kosovo’s main represenative, whose short film Ballkoni (Terrace, Kosovo, 20 min.) will be presented within the Orizzonti (horizons) section.  It is scheduled for viewing on September 5 at 2.30 pm at the Sala Perla.

Born in Pristina in 1972, Zeqiraj has made documentaries and short films presented at a number of film festivals in Oberhausen, Bradford, New York, Barcelona, Cairo, Lausanne and Milan. She told ANSA how difficult it is to make films in a country which only has one commercial movie theater and no film libraries where up-and-coming filmmakers can get acquainted with new trends and films made by the greatest filmmakers. However, prospects are not entirely bleak. An increasing number of artists since Kosovo’s independence have represented the young country in several areas of cinema.

The first difficulty is to insure that Kosovo is included in the list of participating countries. But things are getting better: ‘every day we are increasingly more well known internationally. It’s great’.

Passion helps Kosovo’s young artists. The atmosphere in other sectors is in fact, not much better. ‘I suppose all these challenges make us stronger’, she said.

Filmed in one sequence which begins at dawn and ends at sunset, Ballkoni focuses on the daily lives of Kosovo’s citizens. “With Ballkoni, I tried to take the viewer to the heart of our society which often experiences situations that border on the absurd,” she said. “The situations we go through are like Bruegel’s parable of the blind,” in which the Flemish painter represents the sacred parable on the fact that if a blind leads another blind they will both fall. The situation concerning the young concerns the artist as much as that of the arts. ‘With very high unemployment rates, fighting the idea that art is not ephemeral is the last of our problems’, she said.

Over 50% of the population is under 25 years of age, she recalls, and confined in a society which is hermetically closed. “Though located geographically in the heart of Europe, Kosovo is surrounded by borders of concrete and arrogance with which we are regarded from abroad.” The sad truth, said the filmmaker, is that institutions are absent and the future of youths is uncertain. “It’s like a time bomb ready to explode. We have the choice as to when and how it can explode, whether through art, creativity, or other.”

The original article was posted at the Ansamed webpage. Click here to read the original article.