Monthly Archives: July 2014

Show the world Kosovo is Everywhere!

The summer of 2014 will be the summer of Kosovo. People related to Kosovo will show the world that their country is everywhere. The idea is simple: go to a certain place in the world and take a picture of yourself with a symbol of Kosovo – like the flag. Post it, and Bamn!

Simply, upload the picture on the Facebook page of Kosovo Diaspora or via Twitter, Instagram or Google+ with the hashtag #KosovoEverywhere.

The team of Kosovo Diaspora will collect all the pictures and put them in a special Facebook album to show the world #KosovoEverywhere.

After the summer, a jury team will choose three best pictures and give prizes of one mini iPad to the winner, Google nexus to the runner-up and an iPod Nano to the number three contestant. But, of course the biggest goal is to show the world we are everywhere.

Check out the album HERE

Edon Molla: The rising Albanian American basketball player

Edon Molla: The rising Albanian American basketball player

By Ermira Babamusta

Edon Molla is a Division I College basketball player for St. Francis College in New York. He is striving to become the best college basketball player he can be while remaining focused on his academics. His life-long dream is to have a future professional career in the NBA or Europe and to one day represent the Albanian National Team. 

His family moved to New York when he was an infant. Playing basketball has been an early dream of his; he started playing basketball when he was 5 years old. Edon Molla won two New Jersey State Championships, two Tournaments of Champions Titles, and two U.S.A. National Championships. He also served as Team Captain senior year of high school at St Anthony High School. In 2012 Edon Molla was selected to the New Jersey All Stars Team that played against Connecticut (CT vs. NJ All Stars Game). Edon Molla and his team were honored by the Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie for their first national championship and the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium for winning their second national championship, back to back national titles.

At 8 years old, Edon joined his first team, St Columba, where he played until he was 13 years old. By the age of 10 he was playing on the 13-year-old team. When he was 13 years old he led St. Columba to the New York City championship game in which they lost. Although they lost he had gotten the attention of many high school coaches in New York and New Jersey. Edon Molla also appeared on his first newspaper article at the age of 13.

Edon has played in some of the most prestigious leagues and tournaments in the country including: Hoop Group Elite Camps, Five Star Camp, Nike IS8 League, Nike West 4th League, Rumble in the Bronx Tournament, Naismith Hall of Fame Tournament, Dan Finn Classic, Boast Mobile SNY Invitational Tournament, etc. His basketball prowess wasn’t limited to New York and New Jersey. Since the 6th grade he has traveled across the country and played in tournament, camps and games in over 30 states.

In 2009 he decided to attend St. Anthony High School in Jersey City, New Jersey. St. Anthony high school is considered the greatest high school basketball team in American history and is the most prestigious and most successful. In the past 40 years under legendary head coach Bob Hurley St. Anthony has won 27 state titles more than any other school in U.S. history, 13 tournaments of champions, and four consensus national championships and enjoyed seven undefeated seasons. In 2010 Coach Bob Hurley was inducted into the World Basketball Hall of Fame.

In 2011 Edon and his teammates were honored by The Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie for their first national championship and by the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium for winning second national championship, back to back national titles. Also the team was on several TV shows such as CBS 60 Minutes ABC 2020 and TLC Cake Boss, and a book “Chasing Perfect” by Daniel Pasner.

In 2013 Edon Molla joined St. Francis College to pursue double major in Business & Public Relations. Currently Edon Molla is a Division I College basketball player for St Francis College. Division one is the premier division for college athletics, where the best high school players are chosen to play college basketball. St. Francis has a promising team. This is his first year at St Francis they have a record of 9-5, recently beating the University of Miami.

Edon’s favorite athletes are Kobe Bryant and Lorik Cana. He enjoys watching NBA other college basketball games and Albanian sports, including the Albanian National Football team and Kosovo basketball league, especially teams such as Trepca, Peja, SigalPrishtina and Bashkimi. His dream is to become a professional basketball player in the NBA, or in Europe. Edon hopes to one day represent Albania and Kosovo on a National Basketball team.

“National pride and giving back is important to me. I look up to athletes who give back to their community or country they come from, I have tremendous respect for athletes who go back to play for their national team and represent their country. In the future I can see myself playing for the Albanian National Basketball team and trying to inspire Albanian kids to pursue a basketball dream,” said Edon Molla.

Kosova’s Philanthropists – Hand to hand

Behind the newly established NGO, Kosova’s Philantropists, is the trio Hana Shehu, Plarentina Desku and Arion Rizaj. After studying abroad and being active volunteers and interns in different humanitarian organizations they decided to bring all their knowledge and experience together in order to change Kosovo. Kosova’s Philantropists is an organization that aims to connect people and institutions and thus help the communities in Kosovo shine once again. In order to do that, Kosova’s Philantropists address and identify the problems in Kosovo’s society.

It is important for Kosova Philanthropists that every person around the world has the right to live. They strive and work hard in order for people to wake up in the morning feeling safe, knowing they have the right to survival, development, well-being, protection and participation. “The soul of our work is to create, develop, and implement sustainable community projects that ensure that every individual has access to and is not denied their rights.

To be able to achieve this goal, Kosova Philanthropists strive to inspire others to take part in fighting for human rights and to accept and protect the people in need so that they feel as valid members of the society. Through a program that is provided by Kosova Philanthropists the organization hopes to strengthen families and individuals that find themselves in difficult situations. The result of these programs will help improve their welfare as well as their lives.

To achieve this vision they work hard, combining close-listening skills on a daily basis, and creating caring and nourishing networks. Their work helps the organization to identify the problems and needs so they can strategically address them. Even though the organization puts all its energy into its work, they need our help. The power of the people raising awareness for an important question can be tremendous.

They say that” […] all this good work for “the love of Kosova humanity” cannot be achieved alone. We rely on you – our benefactors, our donors, our friends, and our partners.”

We asked Kosova’s Philanthropists how the Diaspora can help and this is what they told us:

“As a philanthropic organization, we depend on funds collected by donations. One of our next steps is to organize fundraising events through Kosovo Diaspora, in countries where Albanians live in a higher number for instance in the United States, Turkey, Germany, Switzerland etc. One can help by either taking a part in those events (help organizing, build contacts, or act as a financial contributor), or by making a private donation to our organization. The money donated will be used to build the summer camp “Hand to Hand”.

A Family of Football Superstars: The Rise of the Ajeti Brothers

“Ajeti 1 throws the ball to Ajeti 2, who passes to Ajeti 3, and…GOOAAAL!” This is the dream that the three Ajeti football superstars hope to realize someday soon.

However, this may pose a slight problem for the FC Basel jersey makers: How to decide on the surnames displayed on the jerseys of Arlind (19) and twins Alban and Adonis (16) to tell them apart?

“How do you find my proposal: Ajeti I, Ajeti II, and Ajeti III?” laughs Arlind. As the oldest of the brothers, only Arlind has so far carried his surname on his first-team squad jersey. According to an article written by Schweiz am Sonntag, Alban and Adonis, who play for both the U18 and U21 teams, have not yet experienced this.

Their time has almost come. Recently, the twins received an invitation from none other than FC Barcelona. They would train at the famous football school La Masia, where Messi, Xavi, and Iniesta also trained. To support them, the whole family would move to Spain. However, at the moment they have chosen to stay at Basel, Swiss.

This is a reflection on how close the Ajeti family is. Every night, they gather in the kitchen and share the day’s experiences. The boys love holidays with their parents, and even Arlind can hardly imagine moving out of the family’s apartment. “I would not know what I would do alone in an apartment,” he says.

As the eldest among them, Arlind feels responsible for his two younger brothers. The twins acknowledge his role and, as Adonis put it, “Arlind is our idol. He has shown us how to achieve professionalism.”

Two years ago, then-trainer of FC Basel Thorsten Fink included Arlind in the first-team, putting a lot of trust on his shoulders. Fink’s successor, Vogel, took most of this trust away. A turnaround occurred when the team’s latest trainer, Murat Yakin, engaged him differently. Just last week, Yakin involved Arlind from the beginning in their match against FC Aarau, replacing the suspended Dragovica. Yakin had high praise for Arlind, following the 3:1 victory.

Though his contract with FC Basel expires in a year, he hopes to get an extension. The twins, Adonis and Albion, signed their first professional contracts in April, but they have not yet encountered professional difficulties that their brother has. They are excited to play on the First Team alongside their brother, where ““Ajeti 1 throws the ball to Ajeti 2, who passes to Ajeti 3, and…GOOAAAL!” is just around the corner.

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

Wall Street Journal: Kosovo Team Vies for World Cup of Plowing in Alberta, Canada

The original article was posted at the Wall Street Journal. To read the original article follow this link.

By Alistair MacDonald 

From the Olympics to soccer’s World Cup, major team sporting events refuse to recognize Kosovo as a nation. One does, though: the World Plowing Championship.

That has catapulted men like Afim Sharko and their plows to the status of sporting heroes in their Balkan homeland of Kosovo, the former province of Serbia which declared independence in 2008 but has yet to gain United Nation’s recognition as a state.


This weekend, Mr. Sharko and his team of two farmers will be in the fields of Alberta, Canada, hoping to bring home the Golden Plow — the plowing world’s equivalent of the World Cup – and burnish the national credentials of a state starved of major sporting events.

“Why shouldn’t we plow as Kosovars?” Mr. Sharko said. “This competition is very important for Kosovo,” he said.

Last year’s Kosovar entry into the World Plowing Championship was its first in any international competition, according to Mr. Sharko. They finished last on a leader board of 30, a loss Mr. Sharko, team coach, put down to lack of experience.

Despite the low placing, the team was feted back home, with a round of television appearances, newspaper interviews and a government-held reception for the returning heroes.

This week, Mr. Sharko arrived in the central Alberta town of Olds, and immediately dropped to his knees to touch soil he had long revered.

“For a plowman, this is a dream,” said Mr. Sharko, currently studying for a PhD in soil science. Almost two thirds of the soil in Kosovo is composed of clay, but in Alberta’s black soil, it’s only 20%, he said.

For the past three days Mr. Sharko’s two competitors, farmers Esad Shehu and Lulzim Shehu, have been practicing for the two-day event in which tractors are used to plow furrows in different types of field. They are judged on criteria such as speed and how straight and deep their furrows are. It’s a competition typically dominated by Irish and British teams, whose fans arrive in big groups with faces painted in their national colors.

Host nation Canada was among the first to recognize Kosovo, whose wider recognition is being stymied by Serbia. (The U.S. also recognizes Kosovo and led the air bombardment that helped clear Serbian troops from their former province in 1999.)“We welcome all Kosovars to plow in Canada as Kosovars,” said a spokesman for Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development.”

A Mitrovican: an embodiment of Albanian culture in Finland

A Mitrovican: an embodiment of Albanian culture in Finland

We are social animals. Therefore, it is people who drive us forward. Whether it be through charm, wisdom, pressure or song, it is (always) people who give us the capacity to flow, to enhance.  As a recent development in the progress of human history, people have found the means to group into smaller and smaller pools, until we finally arrive at an ultimate micro-reality termed “family.” But let’s step back for a moment, to the intermediate step between collective chaos and family. This ‘step’ we have named “the nation.” Our nation-state, our country, our hive. The two are not mutually exclusive. Our family may be our hive, or our hive, our family.

Dr. Edmond Nushi, born in 1958 in Mitrovica, is a family man. His family is his life, and his family takes on many shapes and forms. On the one hand there is the Nushi legacy, which is an achievement all on its own, and of course his Mitrovican heritage, which is a pride like no other, and yet, Dr. Nushi’s identity makes room for more. Kosovo, but better yet, Albania, play an establishing role in Edmond Nushi’s engaging history of events.

Based in Finland, Dr. Nushi became the first licensed Albanian to have started his work in Finland as a full-fledged doctor. Specializing in pathology, Dr. Nushi took firm steps in establishing himself as an authority on medicine and, to a degree, an embodiment of Albanian culture in Finnish society. This hard-earned position granted Dr. Nushi the ability to reach out and help his family, through various means and contributions.

Currently, his ongoing project allows young Kosovar doctors to travel to Vasaa (where he is located) to participate in medicinal training financed by the Finnish hospital. This project has been successful in granting more than eight Kosovo doctors training in different fields of specialization. Dr. Nushi has also established the first music school of the Diaspora in the native Albanian language, financed by the city of Vasaa. As a musician, he understands the need for music and language as irrefutable tools of cooperation and progress in the Diaspora. Dr. Nushi also presides over the Vasaa-based Albanian society “Nëna Tereza.”  He is a consultant for the Pathological department in Prishtina, and other medicinal centers and clinics, where he has held notable lectures and training. Perhaps worth mentioning as well is the fact that Dr. Nushi organized the official dinner event for Martti Ahtisaari (UN Special Envoy for Kosova, and Nobel Peace prize laureate), thanking him for his contribution to the Kosovar cause. Last but not least, Dr. Nushi is a founding board member for the Salih & Isa Nushi Foundation in Kosovo, which grants merit and need-based scholarships to students at the University of Prishtina each year.

Volunteerism also takes on a whole different meaning when observing Edmond Nushi’s indefatigable altruism. Relentless in the quest for greater good, Dr. Nushi lays the foundation and model for the Diaspora man, an archetype not observed since the early days of the Albanian intellectual.

A mechanical analogy, though lacking in the necessary depth to fully honor Dr. Nushi’s achievements, helps us to understand his role better.  Consider two cars on the road.  The headlights of a car shine from the front, though a second car follows from the back. Using the first car’s headlights and navigation, the second is able to traverse the road with ease, accurately observing the turns and twists that lay ahead. However, in a drastic move, if the driver in front were to turn off her lights, she would leave the second driver confused, bewildered and left to improvise as the journey becomes more dangerous for both drivers. A second later the lights come back on, and to the relief of the second driver, the road is once again bathed in photons guiding both cars with more certainty. The first set of lights steady our aim, strengthen our cause, and drive away unnecessary concern. Dr. Nushi is our first set of lights.

In his own words he says,

“I am of the commitment to help all those who are on a straight path, those who wish to advance the positive case of Kosova, and who are in need of consultation and professional advice.”

The headlights of Dr. Nushi shine on in front. The road is made easier for us to travel.

Xherdan Shaqiri scored a spectacular hat-trick against Honduras to help Switzerland advance to the second round in the FIFA World Cup 2014. Shaqiri’s hat-trick was also the 50th in the World Cup history, and only second in this year’s tournament. His stunning performance has been praised all over the social media. According to, a social analytics website , Shaqiri’s name was mentioned over 125,000 today.

Shaqiri’s stunning performances for Switzerland during the qualifying rounds and today in the World Cup have deservedly earned him the epithet of a hero for the country he represents. In Kosovo, his birthplace, Shaqiri is also considered a hero, an ambassador, and a role model.

The President of Kosovo has honored him with the title of the Honorary Ambassador of Kosovo. Shaqiri has the Kosovo, Albanian, and the Swiss flag embedded on his shoe. He also carried the Swiss and Kosovo flags while celebrating the Champions League 2012/2013 title he won with FC Bayern.

Valon Behrami, Admir Mehmedi, Granit Xhaka and Blerim Xhemaili are four other Albanians from Kosovo and Macedonia featuring for Switzerland. Their success with the Switzerland team has lead many in Kosovo and Albania to support Switzerland in the World Cup.

Below, there are some Tweets from or about Kosovo sparked by Shaqiri’s superb performance tonight.  Tweets come from senior Kosovo politicians, including the country’s President and Foreign Minister.
Shaqiri thanking his fans in three languages, including Albanian.


Kosovo President saying “Thank you for granting such great memories to Kosovo.

BBC: Switzerland’s unlikely World Cup heroes

Source :

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The Guardian: Xherdan Shaqiri takes on Argentina for Switzerland (and Kosovo)



Nike Academy signed Ermal Hajdari, and now he won’t stop scoring

Nike Academy signed Ermal Hajdari, and now he won’t stop scoring!

Earlier this year a Swedish TV Channel started a new show called “Proffsdrömmen,” translated as “the Pro Dream.” The concept is similar to American Idol, but has the contestants play football instead of sing.  Just like Idol, a jury traveling across Sweden views hundreds of talents as they show off their skills. During the auditions, I saw several Albanians try their luck; one of these talents was Ermal Hajdari, who underwent his audition in Kristiandstad.

Swedish born Hajdari, who happens to have his roots in Kosovo, was among the final 22 players that spent two weeks in the city of Borås, where the champion would win a pro contract with the city’s team IF Elfsborg. Hajdari did great during the final trial; in one game he was even given the team captain role when former Elfsborg player Emir Bajrami joined the team.

Midfielder Hajdari actually made it all the way to the finals, but ended up losing with only one point less than the winner. However, this was only the starting point for Hajdari. The second division team Örgryte called Hajdari in for an audition, right as his contract with Kristiandstad’s FF was about to end.

Though the tryout went well, Hajdari also auditioned for the Nike Academy afterward.  For those of you that haven’t heard of the Nike Academy, it’s basically a team based in England that doesn’t play in a league but travels around Europe playing several friendly games. The players must be under a certain age and not be playing in a team.

At the beginning, Nike gathered hundreds of talents from all over Paris. Hypervenom Knockout was the first round’s name. Everyone was really impressed by Hajdari, and he was named Player of the Tournament. He moved along to the Netherlands and continued to do well. The 21-year-old kept the staff impressed even when they traveled to the final auditions in England.  The Nike Academy decided to only sign six players, and Hajdari was one of them.

“My job as a striker is to score, so I will do everything I can to put the ball into the net in every game. ” – Ermal Hajdari to Nike Football Sweden.

When he made his first appearance last month, Hajdari only got to play the last half hour. Now he’s been a part of the Nike Academy for a couple of weeks and has shown his gratitude by scoring numerous goals. In the past three games alone, Hajdari has scored five of the goals. If he keeps up this pace, it’s only a matter of time before a big league team decides to bring him in.

“Rrota” in New York City

Albanian audiences everywhere are receiving a much needed comedy after decades of mournful or pensive films. Directed by Fisnik Muji, Rrota (Wheel) tells the story of Uka, who, when he is not repairing washing machines, sexually satisfies women all over the city. After Uka meets the love of his life, Sara, he decides to abandon his old habits. With the goal of getting her attention, Uka enrolls in the same university as she.

Rrota challenges and invigorates the standard style of Albanian cinematography. It features an everyday human experience in a humorous fashion. The Albanian Film Week in New York featured Rrota on its last day, at the Producers’ Club Theaters. It was received with laughter and positive feedback. It stood out for its creativity, theme, and distinguished humor. The production, which is very different from the mainstream American or Albanian ones, is very appealing to the Albanian and the foreign audience.  Rrota shows a new stream of creativity in the Kosovar Cinematography, moving away from the traditional style of writing, producing and even casting.


From India to Kosovo: A Bond Beyond Barriers

As the UEFA EURO 2012 championship was underway across the border in Poland, we met for the first time over a continental breakfast in a sunny café on the eastern border of Germany. Convened with the common objective of studying the phenomenon of identity and football, around 20 of us hailed from all corners of the globe. As I made the rounds of introductions, I met people from Armenia, Macedonia, Poland, the USA, Tajikistan, UK, etc. before finally interlocking hands with the last one – a young man from Kosovo.

“Kosovo.” Somewhere it rang a bell.  I recognized the name but couldn’t place it.  My body language transmitted the train of thought that my mouth hesitated to articulate, and the Kosovar helpfully offered, ” Remember 1999? The conflict between the Serbian government and Albanian people?…”

Vague images of the conflict from my old tv set at home in India flashed through my mind as they had been portrayed over a decade ago. Over the next few days, as conversations flowed over coffee and wine, I silently absorbed the retelling events of the the Serbs and the Albanians, of refugee camps in Pristina, of fear, intimidation, identity, ethnicity, brutality and kindness; of kalashnikovs and rocket launchers and NATO and the UN; of power, and struggle. It was an unlikely bond in those three weeks; often the narratives of loss and pain sailed through my mind and I tried relating them to the countless similar narratives across several corners of my country…

Of course, these conversations were interwoven with our discussions of football. I learned how a game can be so intrinsic to identity formation, and the Balkan countries were quite the case study. Kosovo for example, has no national football team. It is not recognized by the United Nations as a country, therefore neither the UEFA or FIFA embrace it in the football family.  As a result, players originating from Kosovo such as Xherdan Shaqiri (Bayern Munich), Lorik Cana (Lazio), and Valon Behrami (Napoli), are scattered across the football scene, representing the national teams of Albania, Switzerland, Finland, and Sweden.

Watching Croatia vs. Italy during EURO2012 in Poznan, Poland

Watching Croatia vs. Italy during EURO2012 in Poznan, Poland

While my new friend from Kosovo and I came from disparate backgrounds, our mutual interests and comfortable conversations formed a quick and easy bond.  Through our study, we watched films and documentaries, and of course the Euro championship, shouting when a goal was cancelled by the referee. We partied til the wee hours of the morning and shared small excitements about a beautiful woman in the adjoining guest house. My friend spoke of his visit and work in Dhaka a year before, and the typical Bengali wedding that he attended. He spoke of the fields and rivers, the boat rides and the heavy traffic that were a part of his life while he was there.

Together we walked silently through the holocaust memorial in Berlin, ran through the town-square of Warsaw cheering, and tackled each other during our own football matches. We chose gifts for our friends back home and he invited me to the United States where he currently lives, and to Kosovo. Whereas we had met over a tranquil breakfast nearly a month before, our farewell convening took place against quite the opposite backdrop: we all rallied together in a tiny pub that was all but full, with “drinks-on-the-house” and a late Turkish dinner.

Since then I am always on the lookout for Kosovo, from Google news to Guardian articles, from football to foreign policy. A year has passed since and I have not been able to invite my friend to India, as my country still doesn’t recognize Kosovo as a sovereign nation and thus doesn’t grant a visa to any of its citizens. But I know we will meet soon and will relive a bonding beyond barriers. Until then we can channel Milan Kundera who said, ” The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.”

35259_138041682885460_3401392_nArindam Banerjee works as a Prime Minister’s Fellow with the Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India..He works in the erstwhile Maoist insurgency-affected district of West Medinipur in the eastern state of West Bengal, supporting the District administration in micro planning, innovation and livelihood opportunities.While not working , he continues procrastinating about the numerous places he will visit someday…Banerjee loves writing about people, and places and hopes to play football with his international friends someday soon.