Monthly Archives: October 2013

Ministry of Diaspora Delivers books to children abroad

Over the last two weeks, the Kosovo Ministry of Diaspora has launched a contingent of about 100,000 different books, URA Magazine, and school maps for locations in which the diaspora lives. Of these, 75,200 are textbooks, 400 are reading materials and alphabet books, 420 are different books for adults, 162 are books in Bosnian, and 18,700 are URA Magazines for diaspora children. Furthermore, there are 4,240 Kosovo maps for school children.

Locations where the books, magazines, and maps were sent to include Scandinavian countries such as Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Norway, as well as other Western countries including Germany, Belgium, Great Britain, France, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, the United States, Canada, and Australia. The materials have already begun arriving in some of the locations, while they are in transit still for others. Over the next two weeks, an additional 4,600 textbooks, 500 reading materials, 600 magazines, and 1500 maps will be sent out. These numbers will be added to the already large number of materials that were sent this past summer.

Over the summer, Albanian sections of public libraries opened in Munich and Stuttgart, Germany, Vienna and Graz, Austria, as well as the Austria Lynch Hospital. Furthermore, Albanian offerings became available at the Cultural Center of the Republic of Kosovo in Istanbul and the University of Edrene, in the University Library of Osijek and within the association “Illyria” in Zagreb. Furthermore, the League of Teachers in Greece are supplied with reading materials, and the “Ura” Magazine is available to Albanian teachers in Athens, Greece.

In total for 2013, the Ministry of Diaspora will have sent over 88,000 different books, 45,000 copies of the “Ura” Magazine, and 6,000 maps. This is added to the total in 2012, during which the Ministry sent over 40,000 books and 10,000 magazines. This large number of reading materials is fulfilling the Ministry’s obligation for the preservation of language, culture, and national identity of Kosovo Diaspora members.

The original article was posted at the Ministry of Diaspora webpage. Click here to read the original article.

Albanian national poet honored with Italian prestigious Carlo Levi Award

Dritëro Agolli could not participate but his daughter Elona read his letter as she received the award on his behalf.

The 82-year-old poet Dritëro Agolli received the prestigious Carlo Levi award on October 5, 2013. The sixteenth ceremony for the Italian national literacy award was held in the small town of Aliano, in southern Italy. The Aliano mayor, Luigi De Lorenzo, and other local dignitaries took the stage to congratulate the honorees. Raffaele Nigro, a distinguished Italian writer and scholar, as well as friend of Albania, interviewed them after.

Though the elderly Albanian poet was unable to attend, his daughter Elona received the award on his behalf, sharing an emotional letter he wrote:

Dear Friends, 

I should have been there with you today, but I am like that old horse who has traveled too many miles, whose ribs are showing, whose horseshoes have fallen, but whose mind keeps running. I will not bore you like some Parliament member. I thank the Jury of the 16th Edition of the national literacy award, Carlo Levi, and in particular Rafaele Nigro, my good friend and distinguished writer, whose works are now known and received with love from Albania, from both readers and critics. 

It is with great satisfaction that I receive this award, which bears the name of Carlo Levi, the great painter, publicist, and writer. The anti-Fascist writer and dreamer of a new world without poverty, social injustice, and wars. If only a miracle could happen and I could shake the hand of Carlo Levi himself. Now that would have been the greatest award of them all. The Albanian literature, from its first steps, has been nourished by the Italian literature, art, and culture, because we are neighbors. As they say, there is only a wall of water that divides us. Seagulls are not the only ones who fly above this wall of water. Poetry, prose, music, and all the arts make the same journey. So does this small thank you note, brought to you by my daughter Elona, together with my best gratitude for the honor and the emotions that you gave me with the Carlo Levi Award. No one enjoys prizes as much as the old men and children do. 

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

Bayern Munich Fans Seek Kosova’s UEFA Membership

Just ten minutes before the end of a Champions League match, fans of the Munich club, Bayern, unfolded a banner calling on the UEFA to accept Kosova as its newest member. Accept Kosovo in UEFA was displayed on the north stand of the Allianz Arena, during the match between Bayern and Czech Victoria. Security officers ordered for it to be taken down.

Kosova declared independence in 2008, ending an almost hundred-year Serbian colonization. It has applied for membership to a number of various international organizations, including FIFA and UEFA. However, the two major football organizations tie their membership to UN membership, which Kosova does not have.

Though more than 100 countries have recognized Kosova’s independence, Russia has threatened to use its veto power if Kosova applies for a UN seat. This situation has left Kosovar football clubs and players in limbo, and many Kosova players play for other national teams, such as Albania, Switzerland, Sweden, and Norway.

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

Eurovision may receive native Balkan’s vocal talents through Switzerland

In next year’s Eurovision, we may witness Albanian singers representing countries other than Albania, as well. Shqipton Rexha, a 32 year old singer/writer and his friend and colleague Dave Fryman have a mutual goal: they want to shout and sing as the voices of Switzerland in the Eurosong contest.

Originally from Kosovo, Shqipton started school in Switzerland after his family fled their country due to their political beliefs. He became a well known artist and songwriter in the eastern part of Switzerland through his ‘slam-poet’ works published in German. For his talents, Shqipton was awarded the promoting award of St. Gallen.

While chasing his dreams of being an Albanian-rooted young poet, Shqipton has held many different jobs, including his current one as a cook, and his ongoing one as a father of two. Nevertheless, his persistence in pursuing his dreams might lead him all the way to Eurosong.

“Other artists have more finances than we do, so they can produce and promote their creations,” Shqipton told St. Gallen Tagblatt. However, he feels optimistic that with the support of his friends and family, he will have a chance to shine, too.

On the other hand, Shqipton and Dave will need a big helping hand from their fans, since the voting for the selection of artists who will be part of the national Swiss festival for Eurosong, will be online in the next few months. Thus, other than wishing them luck, we want you to participate with your votes, when the time comes.

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

Kosovo musical “Arjeta & Gëzimi” in Switzerland

“Arjeta & Gëzimi” is a story about two young people in love, whose life journeys have just begun to sprout roots. Confronting the past and the dangerous present, the story of the musical becomes a dangerous adventure and full of difficult times.

The musical was written by Ilir Gjocaj, musically organized by Trimor Dhomi, and directed by Swiss-born Geor Darvans. “Arjeta & Gëzimi” will go on five-stop tour in Switzerland with its crew of students and choir members from Gjakova’s gymnasium “PrenJakova.”

The decision to tour in Switzerland was made following the vast success the performance has recently seen in Kosovo. It will be featured also as part of the project Cultural Spaces, a Swiss cultural festival focusing on the Balkans.

“Everything is settled. The visas of the pupils are ready, and we are waiting to see them sparkle in the Basel and Zurich theatres,” said one of the producers, Greg Fankhauser, for Albinfo reporters.

The main actors of the musical are: Edonjeta Hajdari (Arjeta), Vali Kuqi (Gëzimi), Ylber Bardhi (Shaqiri).

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

Network of diaspora businesses in Germany

Meetings with Albanian diaspora business are currently being held in Frankfurt and Cologne, Germany. Attending these meetings are representatives from the Ministry of Diaspora, Ministry of Economic Development, Chamber of Commerce, the UNDP, the IOM, and various representatives from the businesses, themselves.

A large number of businesses from Frankfurt and Stuttgart attended the first meeting, held in Frankfurt.

Valon Aliu of the VA – TEC company in Stuttgart volunteered his experiences as a diaspora business owner, touching upon the challenges, successes, and his key investments so far. “I call on everyone who is able to invest in Kosovo,” he declared following his statements.

On October 11, the various Ministry delegates from Kosovo visited a number of businesses in Frankfurt. They started at the Zahnarztpraxis clinic, owned by Dr. Naim Osmani and home to more than ten employees. Next on the agenda was Awr-Abbruch GmbH, run by three brothers from Ferizaj. Manager Mr. Nazmi Viqa elaborated on the company’s history, one of the largest firms dealing in object demolition. The last three companies were tourist agencies EurokohaAlbakos, and Loni-Reisen.

On October 12,  they continued with conferences in Cologne, featuring segments on investments and networking in Germany, as well as a speech from the Minister of Diaspora, Ibrahim Makolli. The aim of these conferences is to create a branching network of support for diaspora businesses.

The conference on investments “Networking of diaspora businesses in Germany” supported by UNDP and IOM

The original article was posted at the Ministry of Diaspora webpage. Click here to read the original article.

“Heshtja” breaking the silence during film’s international debut

The movie “Heshtja” (“Silence”), by Kosovo director and screenwriter Bekim Guri, will take part in many prestigious film festivals this season. Taking the lead on the international scene, “Heshtja” goes where few Albanian films have been before.

“CineRail”, a unique international film festival founded in 1990 to showcase movies dealing with railroads, trains, and train staions, will screen Bekim Guri’s “Heshtja” in Paris this year.  Guri told KultPlus that his cinematography will be screened in the fiction movies category.

“Heshtja” depicts the stories of the last war in Kosovo, portraying the forced deportations of Kosovo citizens by the Serbian military.  The story follows a father who must choose between his own life and death in order to save his daughter from unfathomable tragedy. The cast features the acting talents of Bislim Muçaj, Fitore Broqi, Xhevdet Doda, Mevlud Osmanaj, Fisnik Syka, Vedat Haxhislami dhe Kushtrim Qerimi.

“Heshtja” is a short movie filmed in the 35mm technique.

Guri, the 30 year old director,  says that aside from Paris, “Heshtja” will also have its Balkan premiere in the international film festival in Tirana this month. “Heshtja” will then continue its journey to the short film festival in Basel, Switzerland, founded by the Albanian community seven years ago.

In the near future, Guri also anticipates a deal with a Spanish distribution company, hopefully moving a small step closer to Spain’s recognition of Kosovo.

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

Future Albanian-American Architects – Present in New York

Albanian-American students from across the northeast and other students from the New York City of Technology displayed their work at the Second Annual Student Exhibition organized by the Albanian American Architecture Society at the Kosova Consulate General.

Professors Mars Podvorica, Ermir Gjoka and Florim Kukaj teamed to get these creative works displayed. The first part of the exhibition showcased work of Albanian-American students with different types of buildings. The second part of the exhibit displayed work from Podvorica’s own students of different backgrounds who created concepts for an Albanian community center in honor of Albania’s 100 years of independence. “Our mission is to locate, gather and promote Albanian-American architecture students studying in the sates,” Podvorica said. “Most of them had really amazing work.” More than a dozen students had their work on display. The Albanian-American students came from architecture programs in New York City and Boston. These projects came from school assignments.

Florian Gjoka showed off a concert hall for children. While being a community center, it also had to be profitable. He combined a music center for teaching with a larger concert area. Gjoka, who attends to the Spitzer School of Architecture in New York, grew up around blueprints. His father is a structural engineer, so he spent his childhood looking at concepts that turned into actual buildings.
“I helped my brother out doing drawings and models too,” said Gjoka, 25, who lives in the East Village section of Manhattan. “I didn’t know what I wanted to study and this seemed like a good fit. I’ve always been good at it.” He stood next to his display throughout the night as the visitors of all backgrounds gathered to take a peek at the work. At the height of the exhibit, there were about 60 people crammed into two rooms appreciating the work the students put in. “We are trying to create bridges among us, among people in the construction business and those in the architecture field,” Podvorica said. “I felt honored every week to go to my class and see the work (of my students). Being part of culture it’s not always easy to find an open door, but Ambassador Bekim Sejdiu did that for us without any question.”

Podvorica’s classes consisted of about 100 students. He decided to change the syllabus for the 100th anniversary of Albania’s independence. He had his students create an Albanian community center in an empty lot in upper Manhattan. The students researched Albanian culture and created designs for buildings based on different themes such as dance, hospitality, the “City of a Thousand Windows.” “This is a real-life challenge, how do you design for a particular client,” Podvorica said. “They had to start with strong research to understand the culture. They had to learn their story and what they do. Within that they found their little niche. It was a challenge for them, but I am proud of the work.” Podvorica displayed seven of the buildings out about 100 for the showcase. “The purpose of the project was to celebrate the 100th year of independence,” said Shenier Torres, 31, of Queens who focused his building on Albanians’ love of dance. “It’s exciting to show your ideas and see if other people relate. You find out if we were successful or not. In my case, I knew already about the Albanian culture. What I chose was the dance was because Albanians love to get together and do that. I had to study more into it. They don’t dance as one. They dance as a group. ”

Nataly Belliard was inspired by the hospitality Albanians show. They offer anything they can to guests and help their neighbors. Her building design was a reflection on that with the building resembling pineapple, which is a universal symbol for hospitality.
“They are a very united culture,” Belliard, 19, said. “They give anything to anyone who comes to their home.”

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

Kosovo Established the Network of the Diaspora Businesses in Germany

Recently, the conference titled Networking of Diaspora Business in Germany was hosted in Cologne, Germany. The aim of the conference was to create a network of Albanian businesses in Germany, under the auspices of the Ministry of Diaspora, the Ministry of Economic Development, The Investment Promotion Agency, The American Chamber of Commerce in Kosovo, the Embassy of Kosovo in Germany, the UNDP, and the IOM.

The Minister of Diaspora, Mr. Ibrahim Makolli, stated that, “the role of diaspora during the first phase of Kosovo’s reconstruction and economic recovery has been and will continue to be irreplaceable.”

“The Albanian diaspora continues to be one of the main factors of Kosovo’s country development. However, no one is completely satisfied with the current level of development. The diaspora has created opportunities for capital gain and experience, to continue to heighten these levels. Institutions and the diaspora are trying to identify the best forms of interaction, leading to a more direct diaspora participation in development,” he continued.

Leaders of known Kosovo companies also spoke, many of them members of the diaspora. They spoke of their business successes, the investment experience, and their plans for future investment in Kosovo.

The Networking Diaspora Businesses in Germany conference then chose 16 members to help this investment materialize this idea.

The original article was posted at the Ministry of Diaspora webpage. Click here to read the original article.