Monthly Archives: February 2014

Bersant Celina and Flamur Kastrati choose Kosovo over Norway

On March 5th, Kosovo will play its first official friendly game. Kosovo’s opponent for this match is Haiti. The game will be played in Mitrovica, on KF Trepca’s Stadium Adem Jashari. Albert Bunjaki has not announced his full squad list yet; however, there are a couple of players that have confirmed their participation. Two of them have even turned down their current teams in order to participate in this event.

17-year old Bersant Celina, player in Manchester City’s youth academy, declared on Twitter that he was included in Bunjaki’s squad and that he is eager to play against Haiti. Celina is originally a part of Norway’s U17 team but has actually played for Kosovo before. The midfielder was a part of our U19 team in the Valais Cup which was a small international tournament held in Switzerland last year. This was the first time Kosovo was allowed to participate in an official tournament.

Another player that will wear Kosovo’s jersey next week is Norway’s U21 player Flamur Kastrati. He was a part of Norways U21 team that ended in the third place in the Euro Cup last summer. Now the Strömsgodset IF player will join Kosovo instead. Just like young Celina 22-year old Kastrati has also declared his desire to play for Kosovo on Twitter and now his dream has come true.

Kosovo companies reach out to German Markets

For the first time, Kosovar companies have the legal framework set for their businesses to operate in Germany. The two  companies who have quickly become a success story are “Entermedia” and “Elen”, both set on the city of Nurenberg.

Bardhyl Meta form the Kosovar Chamber of Commerce, stated that among the many competing companies from around the world, “Entermedia” and “Elen” have successfully won the tender, thus getting them into the greater European Union market. This indeed is a great step to mutual cooperation between the German and Kosovan economy.

Both representatives from “Entermedia” and “Elen” have explained how this step is indeed a great opportunity as well as a new challenge to be faced. While “Entermedia” is mainly focused on offering entertaining services, “Elen” is a company that has been involved in the electrical appliances business for 20 years now. Both companies have set a commitment to better the cooperation between the diaspora businesses and the domestic ones.

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

Forget What You Know About Visiting Kosovo

A trip to Kosovo nowadays would convince anyone that this country, far from its sometimes negative reputation, has indeed a lot to offer. According to the World Bank data, more than 70 percent of Kosovo’s population is under 35 years old, which surely explains the fact that on the flight this Global Voices author made to the country’s capital Prishtina, half of the passengers were under 10 years old. This makes for quite the start to an unusual holidays!

Kosovo youth, while having to deal with terrible unemployment rates of 55.3 percent, manage to energize the country and push the rough memories of war further and further away. US blogger Adventurous Kate comments how first-time visitors feel:

“It’s my first time in Kosovo, and I don’t know what to expect. Just the mention of “Kosovo” in America brings to mind an image of war, of death, of ethnic cleansing, of bombs. Even though this took place more than a decade ago, I’m wondering just what kinds of scars the country will bear.”

Far off from the scars, what strikes the freshly arrived visitor most are Prishtina’s incredible cafés. Everyone should experience the taste of a perfect macchiato on a sunny and well-designed terrace, looking over the frenetic errands of passersby. It certainly is not a legend that the coffee there sometimes tastes even better than an Italian one – we apologize to our Italian friends for this, but it must be said!

Although it might be true that Prishtina’s architecture, mostly grey and anarchic buildings, is not its main attraction, the city is buoyant in its attitude and style. Its walls are full of graffiti and other forms of street art; the soul of the city appears on them an open book to visitors.

Kosovo’s people seem to look more towards the future than stay stuck in the past praising war heroes or pacifist icons of Kosovo’s battle for independence from Serbia, like Ibrahim Rugova. Kosovo, now the newest nation in Europe, was historically a part of Serbia and previously Yugoslavia. The 1998-99 Kosovo War was fought between the forces of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, made up by Serbia and Montenegro at the time, and the Kosovo rebel group known as the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), with military air support from NATO, after 10 years of non-violent resistance from the civil society of Kosovo.

Although portraits of Ibrahim Rugova, the first president of newly independent Kosovo, as well as of the leaders of the armed resistance are visible here and there, the general impression to the newcomer is that today’s actors of Kosovo are building up their own models. Witnessing the elections in Kosovo from Prishtina in November 2013, Darmon Richter comments:

“Newspaper stories about riot police and violent assaults in polling stations do nothing to give a sense of modern-day Kosovo, save for the few pockets of the country where race rivalry is still rife. In the city of Pristina, people crave recognition of their independence… but all in all, it’s about as normal a city as you’ll find anywhere in the Balkans. In fact, with a reported 60% voting turnout nationwide, democracy almost seems to be working better here than it does in the UK.”

Somehow, Prishtina could appear as a “mini-Istanbul” in the sense that it is sitting quite balanced between a post-Ottoman and a Western European culture. Kim’s travel blog, from an American and Korean perspective, underlines the surprising cosmopolitan atmosphere of the “city of love”:

“After visiting Pristina, I truly understood why people had been calling Kosovo a fast developing and energetic country. You could see the new buildings coming up everywhere, and could see foreigners traveling (majorly European) around the city and there were many exciting restaurants available besides just Balkan foods (…). Although I did not see any Asian people at all, one of my friends informed me that he had seen four Japanese people touring around the city. I wish I was there to witness the ASIANS walking around the city, that would have been hilarious. We probably had exchanged strange looks thinking “what the hell are you doing here…?”

What comes out of it is, just like in the Turkish city of wonders, a fascinating mixture of traditional silver art craft shops, highly modern new cafés, a multitude of bakeries, some old mosques being rebuilt, and some churches left to rot. In the center you can see some incredible buildings like the Prishtina University library, which appears almost as an unidentified object in the middle of the communist architecture that inhabits the rest of the area. Kim’s travel blog also mentions this building:

“You could see many historical buildings around the city, and you could tell Kosovars were very proud of them. University of Pristina, the best one in Kosovo, was structured nicely. Also right next to the university, there is Pristina National Library, which was quite impressive and weirdly designed. My friend who currently works at University of Pristina had explained to me what the structure and the design was based on, but … of course this chicken head had forgotten about it. Maybe I will google and Wikipedia it later.”

The magazine Kosovo 2.0, available in English, Albanian and Serbian, is the new brand of this educated, multilingual and very open, worldly society. Covering politics, arts, fashion, social debates, women and gender issues, Kosovar topics and global subjects, the magazine is available in print as well as online. Kosovo 2.0 also offers a selection of the latest sounds produced locally, mostly electro genres, which are available online : Enjoy the musical ride!

Prishtina is full of surprises for visitors from any origin. But as Kosovo is young, it is growing and changing very quickly. So do not lose any more time and, if you can, hop on the next plane or car and take a moment to discover this promising city and its joyful contradictions. If you are quick enough, there might still be a piece of cake there for you!

Freelance, project coordinator, event organiser, Marie Bohner works in the field of human rights, development and culture, mainly at international level. Her path brought her to spend some time in India where she worked (and still does) with  a social movement for the landless peasants, and its international ramifications. Being both French and German, she feels concerned, since a long time, by women’s rights and conflict issues. But she also likes to write about food, travels and music, depending on the mood of the day. Marie Bohner is an author on the international website Global Voices since one year.

This opinion article was originally posted at

Four Kosovar movies for the Austrian audience

“Kolona“ from Ujkan Hysaj, “Kthimi” from Blerta Zeqiri; “Ballkoni” from Lendita Zeqiraj and “Kulla e Sahatit” by Arzana Kraja, have been featured in Austria at an event marking the 6th year of Kosovo’s Independence. 

The Kosovo embassy in Austria had chosen movies from Kosovar producers to mark the 6th year of Independence. The audience had the chance to greet Mr. Blerim Canaj, the head of the embassy, who welcomed  audience to a cultural evening with movies from internationally acclaimed producers of Kosovar origin.

“Tonight, we have decided to present different themes, themes that explore various areas of life, social and war time and post war time events.” said Mr. Canaj in his speech.

This evening had brought together ambassadors of many countries, among which were representatives of countries that have yet not recognized Kosovo, people from civil society and Austrian state representatives.

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

Celebrate Kosova: Washington D.C. experiences the sounds and sights of Kosovo

Last week, the Kosovar Albanian community in Washington D.C. organized a unique event to mark Kosovo’s sixth anniversary of independence.  Guests had the chance to listen to music and poetry by Kosovar composers and authors, sample culinary specialties and wine from Kosovo, learn fun facts and take a virtual tour of the country’s beautiful landscape through a slideshow of select photographs.

The Albanian community in Washington D.C. consists mainly of young professionals who work in various multilateral organizations such as the World Bank Group, the International Monetary Fund, U.S. institutions as well as renowned non profit organizations and consulting firms in the American capital. This year, a group decided to put together an event that brought together over 70 Albanian, American and international professionals, including few dignitaries, for a cultural evening and networking to celebrate Kosovo’s statehood.

The event took place at the impressive house of the El-Hibri Charitable Foundation, which runs the One World Youth Project that links schools around the world and promotes global learning.  This project also collaborates with the University of Prishtina and several middle and high schools in Kosovo.  The evening kicked off with a remarkable performance by flautist Klodina Kabashi Morina, who played a piece of the Kosovar composer Rauf Dhomi.  Suzana Frashëri, a legal professional working in Washington, recited two poems by Kosovar authors Mark Krasniqi and Flora Brovina and an English translation of the poems was also shown on the screen.  The guests were later greeted virtually through a video message by the students of the middle school “Rrezor” in Malisheva, Kosovo.

One corner displayed the work of Ferka Shala Rothschild, who runs a successful photography studio and business.  The guests were treated to wine from the Kosovo winery Stone Castle and sampled the Kosovo culinary specialty flija. The event also created buzz in social media as guests were encouraged to post and tweet fun facts about Kosovo, which they received at the door.

Click HERE  to see more event photos taken by Ferka Rothchild and Laura Agosta.

Manchester City’s Sinan Bytyqi is Approaching a Premier League debut

Manchester City FC invited 19-year-old Sinan Bytyqi to train with the first team. Internet rumors circulated that Bytyqi would debut during Monday’s game against Chelsea yet proved false. Nonetheless, we are all thrilled that he is slowly matriculating onto the first team, showing his promise and future success.

But who is this kid? Bytyqi was born to Kosovar Albanian parents in Austria on January 15, 1995. As he began to find himself on the international football scene, he idolized Barcelona’s striker, Neymar. Before joining the Manchester City team, Bytyqi played attacking midfielder for FC Admira Wacker Mödling. To this day, he still wears the Austrian flag on his chest during international games. It was there that Manchester City noticed his skill, as he scored 4 goals in two games during the U19 qualification in November, 2013. Thanks to him, Austria’s U19 team earned a spot in the Elite Round, prior to the U19 Euro Cup.

ONE TO WATCH: Sinan Bytyqi

He is still known for the goal he scored during the UEFA Youth League. He was the first scorer in the tournament, taking him only ten minutes to score a free-kick goal against Viktoria Plzen.

Unlike fellow Albanian Adnan Januzaj, Bytyqi is still waiting to make his debut in the English Premier League, but his chance is soon. Just imagine in a couple years during the Manchester Derby, Januzaj vs. Bytyqi; now that’s a game I look forward to.

Small businesses receive a vital boost from diaspora

Through a conglomerate of organizations and individuals, the Kosovar businesses are receiving the vital boost of financial support. The chief agency responsible for the project success has been The Finnish Foreign Ministry through UNDP’s DEED as well as the diaspora community. 

Feime Rexhepaj  from Kopernicë has been informed over the possibilities of funding her business and was quick to apply.Through her determination, Rexhepaj had participated in business drafting classes.

Rexhepaj had proved that through her brother in Germany, she could secure the financial backup, thus had received a grant of 2.800 Euros. Her business “Tradita”  has been mainly focused in preparing sweets such as the famous baklava, tries leches and many more. All of her products are home made and are delivered on a order basis.  The products from “Tradita” are present in many different city fairs and markets throughout Dardana (Kamenica), the grant has only proved Rexhepaj that her business ambitions could become a reality.

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

Patricia Rrapi: A Law Professor in Paris

The academia world presents Patricia Rrapi; an associate professor at Paris Ouest Naterre La Défense University. Patricia’s story is a touching one as she left Kosovo during the 1999 conflict and migrated to France as a refugee. While in France, Patricia studied Law and was honored with her Bachelor degree in 2005. The Kosovar scholar was driven by her interests in law and thus aimed to advance her academic skills and accomplishments by receiving a Master’s degree in History of Law and Public Law.

For the successful law professor, Rrapi, her career began in Xhevded Doda high school in Prishtina. However, due to the 1999 conflict in Kosovo, Patricia was unable to finish her studies there. The Kosovar intellect went to France with her family were she learned French and was able to graduate high school in Avignon in 2002.

The same year, Patricia, started her Law studies in Aix-en-Provence were she later received her Bachelor’s degree. In 2006, Patricia received her first Master’s degree in History in Law. The ambitious scholar was valedictorian, standing for the best student of the year in history in law and awarded with the History of Law Prize. In 2007, Patricia also finished her second Master’s degree in Public Law. Once again, Rrapi, graduated as a valedictorian and received an award in the Public Law Prize.

The story of the successful scholar does not end here. Patricia’s ambitions led her in pursuing and starting a  PhD program in September 2007. While in her PhD studies, Patricia was  awarded the Allocation de recherches award, making her a teaching fellow at Aix-Marseille University, for three years (2007-2010). The research award is a full scholarship provided by the French Ministry of education and the Montitorat de l’enseignement supérieur. During her studies, Patricia was also a Fellow of the Louis-Favoreu Institut – Center of Constitutional Law (Groupe d’Études et de Recherches sur la Justice Constitutionnelle – GERJC), (CNRS, UMR 6201) at Aix-Marseille University.

In 2009, Patricia traveled to Los Angeles where she was received as a visiting scholar at Loyola Law School. While continuing her PhD studies, Patricia, was also an Attaché temporaire de l’enseignement supérieur, a teaching assistant at Paris Ouest Nanterre University, during 2010-2012. In November 2012, the dedicated Kosovar defended her thesis and was awarded with a Doctorate degree. After successfully completing her studies, Patrica decided to apply for a position of Maître de conférences (MCF, Associate Professor). The hiring process was an extremely long process were the employers of the National Council of Universities (CNU) consist of elected and appointed MCFs and Full Professors. Despite the long hiring process, in February 2013, the CNU accepted Patricia’s application. Patricia is currently an Associate Professor at Paris Ouest Naterre La Défense and works for the Centre de théorie et analyse du droit (CNRS, UMR, 7074). Patricia has taught since 2007 in several disciplines: Constitutional Law, Administrative Law, European and International Human Rights Law, Procedural Rights Law, Public Founds Law, among other subjects.

Rrapi’s PhD thesis deals with the “Quality of Law Doctrine” under the French Constitutional Law. In her thesis she defends a new approach of the subject emphasizing theoretical and practical weaknesses of the actual French doctrine. Her thesis further includes a comparative study with the American Supreme Court’s Doctrine called “Vagueness Doctrine”.

Her thesis was awarded by several prizes:

  • The Aix-Marseille University First Thesis Prize, which stands for the best thesis in all Law school disciplines.
  • The Assamblée Nationale (French First Chamber of Parliament) Special Thesis Prize.
  • In April 2014 her thesis will be published at the prestigious French Law Editor Dalloz since she was also awarded the Dalloz Thesis Prize.

Most recent publications by Patricia Rrapi include:

  • “De la simplification du droit devant le Conseil constitutionnel” Revue Française De Droit Constitutionnel, n° 91, 2012, pp. 571-572.
  • “Quid de l’unité matérielle de la loi?” Revue Française De Droit Constitutionnel, n° 89, 2012, pp. 105-109.
  • “Critères objectifs de concretisation d’un droit et critères objectifs d’application d’une loi”, Revue Française De Droit Constitutionnel, n° 89, 2012, pp. 119-122.
  • “L’incompétence négative dans la QPC: de la double négation à la double incomprehension”, Cahiers Du Conseil Constitutionnel, n° 34, 2012, pp. 163-171

Dardan Rexhepi hoping to win Swedish league

Numerous Kosovar-Albanians reside in Sweden today. The majority of the Albanian citizens in Sweden immigrated to the country during the 1990s, before the Kosovo war escalated. One of of the families also included that of Dardan Rexhepi.

Being the second youngest out of his four siblings, Dardan Rexhepi, started playing for Eslövs BK and Lunds BK. In 2009, Rexhepi, was spoted and approached by the Swedish giants Malmö FF. After playing for Malmö FF for a year, the Kosovo born striker was promoted to their first team.

September 15th 2010 was a day always to be remebered by Dardan Rexhepi. Malmö FF was playing against its biggest rival Helsingborgs IF in the Skåne Derby as they call it in Sweden. Rexhepi was on Malmö FF’s starting eleven for the first time. Rexhepi was grateful for his opportunity to represent the well known Swedish team. He scored one goal and contributed to the team’s crucial 2-0 win. In 2010, Malmö FF was announced the Sweden’s Champions by a receiving a two point difference from the second placed rivals, Helsingborgs IF.

During his time in Malmö FF, Dardan struggled from a plethora of injuries as well as trying to increase his selfesteem while trying to build his confidence and a relationship with his coaches. Despite these challenges, Rexhepi decided to play for Malmö FF and this was rewarding when he celebrated the team’s championship in late November 2010. Two weeks ago, only days after his birthday, the tall striker announced that he was leaving MFF for another team in the Swedish League; this time for Brommapojkarna.

As previously mentioned, Rexhepis’s injuries affected his performance in his previous team, but this time Dardan came back strong in the presence of the new team he joined in Sweden. The Kosovar soccer player scored his debut goal in the first game for Brommapojkarna, just 2 weeks after he was signed with the team. The friendly game against Kalmar FF ended 1-1 during their training camp in Cyprus. Bare in mind that the soccer season is plaid spring to fall in Sweden and the new season will kick of at the end of March 2014.

Rexhepi, or D-Rex as some call him, has played a couple of games for Sweden’s U21 team and his love for his homecountry Kosovo was announced in several media ocassions. To show his gratidue for his homeland, Dardan dedicated his goal for Helsingborgs IF to all the Albanians around the world. Albanians must be proud with this young talent.

Andi Beqiri: Ambitious Freelance Film Maker from Kosovo

Andi comes from Peja but has been living in the UK for most of his life. This freelance filmmaker just recently graduated with a Film Studies Degree. His most recent project is the ‘Sinking Nation’ documentary which he directed and co-produced with the Emmy Award winner and film producer Graham Sheldon.

KD: How did you get into this project and why?

I was introduced to Graham through a friend so I told him about my idea of a documentary in Kosova. At that time Graham was planning the Sinking Nation  so he offered me to direct it. This is a documentary based on the Island of Kiribati [kirr-i-bas] in the Pacific Ocean, which is thought to be one of the first islands to fall victim to climate change and rising sea levels. I was invited to direct this documentary and work with Graham Sheldon (Writer and Producer) and Mike Miller (Director of Photography), both incredibly talented film producers from San Diego. The republic of Kiribati is the least visited country in the world, so I felt privileged, not only to have the opportunity to work with great producers but to be placed at the climate change frontline awareness. Through this documentary I hope to increase people’s knowledge of the damage of global warming and its impacts.

KD: You were born in Kosovo, what connects you back to the country?

Firstly, and most obviously – my family. Most of my extended family lives in Kosovo and even though I was raised in London, I feel a strong connection with Kosovo and my hometown specifically – Peja. I feel quite privileged to have the best of both worlds, living in one of the biggest capitals in the world and also having a Balkan heritage, which I’m very proud of.

KD: Do you feel you have a certain role as a diaspora member?

Yes I do, aside from raising awareness to global warming impacts I want to work in a way that preserves who I am, my identity. I want our region not to be remembered only as a place of war and destruction, but rather that of harmony within the arts. I feel like the young generation can do this. I feel that there is a huge potential in Kosovo waiting to help humanity progress.

KD: Are you planning any projects in Kosovo?

I definitely want to work in Kosovo; I have a few projects in mind but nothing that I want to publicize at the moment. Furthermore, through my work I want to link and collaborate with other film makers.

For more information, visit Andy’s personal website: Andi Beqiri Film Maker