Monthly Archives: June 2014

Rita’s humanitarian voice

Rita is from Prishtina and is set on a very noble mission. She has been performing in the streets of Switzerland and Germany as part of her senior year project in order to raise awareness on the Down Syndrome.

Rita Kastrati is only 17 but she has already taken concrete steps at changing the world. Her singing performances are solely dedicated to benefiting the “Down Syndrome Kosovo” project. The idea intends to better the miserable conditions of people living with the disease.

Rita alongside with Noah and Luca, have been performing for the second Saturday now in Switzerland. Last week they had been playing in the city of Wil and today they will be performing in the city of St. Gallen.

The band usually picks the crowded places and squares, so in case you hear some Albanian sounding tunes, remember that you might just be passing by Rita and her band. Recently, there have been an Italian, Albanian and a Swiss musicians who have joined the cause and are contributing for the better.

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

BMW Cars through the Lens of Admir Saiti

28 year old Admir Saiti has been working on building a successful career. His passion for photography has paid off and got him a job with one of the world’s top car manufacturing firms. 

Admir Saiti, who now lives in Weggis (Swizterland), has already finished working on two video projects – commercial ads for “Schild” and “BMW”. Saiti claims that he is only warming up since BMW has contracted him for two (2) additional video projects. Mr. Saiti had been suggested as an excellent photographer to BMW by Thomas Buchwalder.

His work is not strictly limited to the car industry. Mr. Saiti is known for setting up excellent photo-shoots for various modeling and artistic agencies. Some of his photos are shown at “Fashion Night”- a fashion event held on Hallenstadion of Zurich.

All in all, Admir Saiti feels that his decision to move from Kumanovë to Weggis has really given him the confidence he needs to pursue a career in photography

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

Miranda Ademaj: A Fearless Dreamer and Financier

A former immigrant, fashion model, and adventurous world backpack traveler, Miranda Ademaj is making her mark as a global financier operating from Switzerland.

Born in a southern town of Kosovo, Shtime, prior to the reign of the infamous Milosevic and his henchmen, Miranda ended up with an eventful yet dangerous childhood.  Faced with uncertainty and seeking a better and safer life, Miranda’s parents illegally escaped to Germany when she was only 10 years old.  All left behind, Ademaj family started from scratch. Miranda had to learn a new language, make new friends, and adapt to a new culture in her new and safe home in Germany.

Later on, the sluggish German economy drove Miranda to Switzerland where she studied and worked with financial companies, including BrunnerInvest AG, Sallfort Privatbank, and Credit Suisse. During this time, Miranda found some time for modelling, which allowed her to envision her life in various roles.

In spite of the hard won successes, Miranda felt she was missing out on something very important – her [lost] youth. Upon realizing the toll of her achievements, Miranda let go of her existing world built in three different places and cultures—Kosovo, Germany, and Switzerland— and with a tiny suitcase embarked on a life changing experience as a backpack traveler around the world for a year.  These blissful voyages offered her a great opportunity to learn more about others while nurturing and strengthening her dream to become a CEO of an investment company.

Drawing from her vast financial experiences and connections, endless drive, ambition and self-discovery, in 2013 Miranda brought to life a multi-million USD hedge investment fund Skënderbeg Alternative Investments AG, where she serves as the CEO and Chairwoman. The company draws its name and mission from Albanian freedom fighter Gjergj Kastrioti Skënderbeg, based on the following attributes: Independence, Dedication, and Superiority.

While Miranda continues to make her mark as a global financier, she will serve as a great inspiration to many other women around the world, who are eager to unleash their potential and fearlessly chase their dreams. To learn more about Miranda please see her speech about “The multiple faces of uncertainty” at TEDxTirana event entitled “Blissful Uncertainty?!”

Something in between being a Kosovar and Swiss

“I would like to have the respect and order of the Swiss, the optimism and strong will of the Kosovars”. Valon Behrami takes a shot at explaining the multi layered identity of the diaspora community. The SSC Napoli star tells of his blended identity at the Aargauer Zeitung Show where among a series of quick questions, he was asked to talk of his national preference. Among other flash questions, Behrami talked of his affection for the Italian lifestyle “I like the culture here. In Serie A, the physical component is more emphasized and I feel comfortable.

Watch Valon Behrami score a spectacular header:

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

Artists from Kosovo in “Villa Romana” in Italy

Three artists from Kosovo, Shqipe Jonuzi, Dardan Zhegrova and Yll Xhaferi, will be the participants in a two-week artistic residency at “Villa Romana”, in Florence, Italy. They have earned this opportunity thanks to the exchange program, “Hajde!” (“Come on!”), which was initiated by the artist Petrit Halilaj and will continue in 2015 as well.

Shqipe Jonuzi, who participated in the 16th Biennale of Ancona (2013) works mainly with sculptures and installation art and writes poetry. The other artist, Dardan Zhegrova is engaged in photography, videos and artistic performances. Meanwhile, Yll Xhaferi works in landscape painting and painting on public spaces.

This will be a golden opportunity for them to meet artists from other countries. Also, the event will be attended by a great number of spectators. There will be a professional jury that will evaluate them. Therefore, we can say that this will be a great chance for the Kosovo art and artists.

The artistic residence “Villa Romana” was established to provide opportunities to talented artists. The resident artists can use an atelier, an apartment and a monthly stipend of 1,500 euros. At the end of this activity, they will present their work which will then be documented and published in a catalog.

The original article was posted at Kosovalive360 – Click here to read the original article.

Score after Score, Shkëlzen Gashi makes it the Top

Shkëlzen Gashi shun the critics who claimed that Swiss football does not have high caliber players without its “Albanian Five”(Shaqiri,Xhaka,Xhemaili,Behrami,Mehmedi). With the “Top Five” away, Gashi had proven that through fantastic performance, he could be crowned the player with most goals in the Swiss Football Super-league. With 19 goals, Gashi (representing GC Cyrih) has been the lone warrior at the top of the billboard for some time now, leaving far behind the second placed Valentin Stocker of Basel (12 goals).

Watch Shkëlzen Gashi demolish the net on a YouTube video compilation here:

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

Ballet Preljocaj or French art with Albanian touch

Angelin Preljocaj is an international known dancer and choreographer from France, who has been performing for the ballet world since 1985. The French artist of Albanian descent has a distinguished talent for contemporary and classic ballet. His success story speaks for himself as he joined the Paris Opera Ballet company in 1990 and later established its own ballet company in 1996 in Aix-en-Provence. His work in leading and creating the Preljocaj Ballet production showed that Angelin is a successful ballet artist.

Angelin Preljocaj was born around Paris in 1957 to Albanian parents, who fled Yugoslavia for political reasons. Angelin’s  family is originally from the small town of Berane in eastern Montenegro where a significant Albanian minority still lives there today. Angelin began studying classical ballet before turning to contemporary dance with the German dancer Karin Waehner. In 1980, he went to New York to work with Zena Rommett and Merce Cunningham. After his work with the two artists, Angelin resumed his studies in France, followed by his building of the Preljocaj Company in 1884.

Since late 1880s, Angelin was in around  50 different ballet performances including duos and solos. He also works very often with other artist such as Enki Bilal, Goran Vejvoda, Fabrice Hyber and Karl Heinz Stockhausen. “Le parc” was one of his 6 choreographies which entered in the repertory of the Paris Opera Ballet. Throughout all his successful years in ballet, The Albanian successful artist received numerous awards, including the French Legion of Honour which is the highest award for a French civilian. But Preljocaj’s biggest accomplishment has been the establishment of the Preljocaj Ballet in 1996. His choreographies are today performed in the world’s biggest ballet venues such as the New York City ballet and the Russian Bolchoï. Some of his choreographies were even performed in films and commercials like the one of Air France in 2011.

If we had to describe one special thing about the Preljocaj’s choreographies, it would be the mix of neo-classical techniques with his personal contemporary and very sensual moves. The Preljocaj Ballet performs 100 times a year with 25 different dancers through Europe. For more informations about the next performances, check out the following links attached below where you can find examples of the Albanian touch French art.

Other Links :

1001 sights of the Albanian diaspora in Switzerland

Albanian journalist Rexhep Rifati from Ferizaj recently published the monographic work “1001 sights” or “1001 pamje.” Rifati was born in Komogllavë near Ferizaj in 1942 and worked for the Albanian journal “Rilindja” from Prishtina for 25 years. Rilindja was the biggest Albanian journal in former Yugoslavia. Rifati graduated at the University of Prishtina in 1973 with a degree in Albanian language and literature. He is now living for 25 years in Switzerland and actively contributing to the life of the Albanian diaspora there. 

In an interview with Rexhep Rifati, we found out a little about his life. He told us that he immigrated to Switzerland in 1995 and got political refugee status in only 2 months. “The reason for my emigration from Kosovo was the unstopping pressure and threats from the Serbian authorities. They wanted to stop me from publishing articles in which I denounced the injustices perpetrated against the Albanian people of Kosovo. It is precisely because of this life-threatening violence that I left Kosovo. There is even a concrete example of this which was documented by Transparency international in 1992” says Rifati.

Rifati finished high school in Ferizaj in 1966 and graduated at the faculty of philosophy in Prishtina 7 years later. From the very beginning he was passionate about journalism and started working for the daily journal “Rilindja” from 1967 until 1995. He adds: “I was mainly active in my hometown of Ferizaj where I also took part in cultural activities. I founded the assembly for music and dance “Kastriotet” and the solidarity found for scholarships.”

Rifati committed only to writing once he left for Switzerland, not wanting to be a part of any political group. He thus committed himself to the cultural activities organized by the cultural clubs “Me Agim Ramadanin” and “Feniks.”

When asked about his new publication he says: “Even though it can be perceived as an album with its 1200 pictures and the title “1001 sights”, it is indeed a monograph.Every picture has a description and a quarter of the book is with text which makes it even look like an encyclopaedia according to some critics. It is a chronic of the Albanians in Switzerland. Throughout the pictures I do not want to analyse something special but only illustrate the everyday life of the hardworking Albanians here in Switzerland.

I shot those pictures during the different cultural, political and sport activities. I also visited the Albanians in their everyday life, either in Albanian schools, universities where Albanians studied, in clubs or at their work. The monograph shows only a small piece of my photo-collection which has thousands of pictures. It was a particular pleasure to immortalize the moments of the cultural activities which are sometimes even bigger then in Kosovo. I also enjoyed taking pictures of the Albanian students. I had the chance to take some pictures from the Albanian singer Vaçe Zela from her first participation at the assembly of music and dance in 1984 until she passed.”

Rifati says that he believes that the Diaspora has a crucial role, especially due to his huge economic contribution for Kosovo. He adds that he sees its financial function being, fortunately, overshadowed by the successes of the younger generations. He laments that the new state doesn’t pay enough attention to them and their talents. Rifati adds: “Despite the big accomplishments of the Diaspora the main weaknesses remain in the economic and political area. We still need to become a more modern society with a better organization and therefore renounce to split into political groups. I appreciate the love the Diaspora got for our homeland but would like to see more parents educating their children in every aspect and also in teaching the Albanian language.  The Albanian diaspora in Switzerland has its qualities and its weaknesses just like the others. It is easier for them to communicate because of the fact that Switzerland is a small country. The Albanians in Switzerland have several associations, two cultural institutes that publish scientific and cultural texts in several languages, not to mention the numerous private businesses in the gastronomic, economic or industrial sector. We currently have more than ten medicine specialist with their own private ordinances.”

In terms of how the Albanian Diaspora is perceived in Switzerland Rifati says: “A large majority of our diaspora is respected for its work and efforts to be part of the Swiss society. Currently we have more than 40 .000 Albanians who have the Swiss nationality but the main difficulty to show this image is the lack of communication with the Swiss people and media. Very often the media shows the few excesses of some individuals and that way damages the image of the majority, except when it comes to the football players who are the heart of the Helvetic football team. More need to be done in order to improve our image and therefore we should start promoting our successes instead of gossiping about the bad stories.”

If you want to order the “1001 sights” monograph please contact the following e-mail address: [email protected]

Fidan Aliti – a New Name in the Albanian National Team

As we all know, Switzerland is a country were a lot of Albanians reside. Plus, the Super League is filled with Albanian football players and there is at least one Albanian in most of the bigger teams. It is a league that has advanced players such as Xherdan Shaqiri, Granit Xhaka and many more. Most of the Albanians in Switzerland went on to represent Switzerland but there are still a couple of them that went the other way and chose their native country, Albania.

During these past couple of weeks the Albanian football crowd has gotten to know a new name, Fidan Aliti. When Gianni De Biasi presented the list of players that were going to play three friendly games, young Aliti was one of the new names that raised a couple of eyebrows. Who is he? – people wondered. Well, he is a 20 year-old defender that born in Switzerland and with roots all the way to Presheva. He currently plays in FC Luzern, a team where the Albanian National Team player Jahmir Hyka and the U21 player Hekuran Kryeziu plays in.

On May 31st, at the age of 20, Aliti got to do his first team debut for Albania. He replaced Ansi Agolli during the last minutes against Romania but it was a narrow 0-1 defeat for the red and black’s. Albania lost the second game as well with the same result, this time against Hungary but Aliti was left on the bench the entire game. However, in the last game, several of our players had to leave due to injuries or other obligations which meant that Fidan Aliti was going to debut from start. He did, and he played the entire game against San Marino and got to celebrate a 3-0 win in his first game. 2014 has been a historical year for him since he made his debut for Luzern’s first team earlier this year and has now introduced himself to Albania’s National Team.

Even though he shares the same name-day as the famous Zlatan Ibrahimovic – October 3rd they play in different positions, but Aliti might achieve the same amount of fame in a few years. We’ll just have to let the future show us if this youngster will carry on to become another role model amongst the Albanians teens.

Singer Bebe Rexha wrote song for Eminem

Bebe Rexha is the new up-and-coming artist that is taking the music industry to another level. This 24-year-old talent has set the bar high as she wrote the smash hit-song “The monster” performed by Eminem featuring Rihanna.

In 1989, Bleta Rexha also known as Bebe Rexha was born in Brooklyn, New York. The rising star is very proud of her Albanian heritage, as Rexha’s parents come from the Albanian city Dibra in Macedonia. Bebe Rexha found her passion for music as a child, being called a musical prodigy. To confirm her love for music, Rexha was part of many musicals throughout her high school years. As she spent a great amount of time focusing on her songwriting skills, her hard work paid off and she won “Best teen songwriter” award at the National Academy of Recording Arts & Science’s annual New York “Grammy Day” event. The ambitious pop star was the lead singer of a band called Black Cards created by Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz. In 2012 Bebe started her solo career and got signed by Warner Bros. As a songwriter she achieved great success writing the hit-song “The Monster” performed by Eminem and Rihanna, which reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. In an interview with Bebbe Rexha talks about the inspiration behind the song. “When I wrote “The Monster”, I had just gotten dropped from my first record deal with Universal/Island Def Jam and I was very sad. So my friends and I were working on new music for my album so that I could get a new record deal. When I went to the studio that day, I found a quote on the internet about the monsters that live inside of us, so I was inspired to write a song about the monsters in my head.” The talented singer/songwriter also wrote and is featured on Cash Cash’s “Take me home”. Her great musical influence are Coldplay, who she dreams to collaborate with. Other musical influences are Kanye West, Lauryn Hill, Queen and Ace of Base. Her plans for 2014 is to promote her new released single “I can’t stop drinking about you” and also work on her debut album. Rexha will also be performing at Lollapalooza festival in Chicago and SummerFest in Milwaukee where she will be opening up for Usher. On top of that she is working on new songs with the famous David Guetta for his album.

When asked about if she would consider having a concert in Kosovo, Albania or Macedonia, she tells “I am very proud of my heritage and I would love to perform my music there. My culture is very important to me.”