Monthly Archives: January 2015

Blerim Bunjaku Brings The SwissMaker

Blerim Bunjaku is a Swiss-Albanian residing in the city of Winterthur, Switzerland with a passion for IT, business and politics. His innovative approach in helping foreigners attain Swiss citizenship is a unique story with a valuable message.

“Schweizermacher” or the SwissMaker is an app where Mr. Bunjaku offers lectures and information on Swiss state regulations on migration and citizenship. “With this application I want to help foreigners seeking Swiss citizenship access practical information on what procedures they should follow. The app seeks to ease the process of integration for foreigners. The truth is that most politicians only talk about integration and never take any initiative” explains Bunjaku.

KOHA net reports that this application targets predominantly young people, for they comprise the great majority of migrants seeking Swiss citizenship, thus the medium chosen to spread this information is done through smart phones and other app compatible devices. One key factor Mr. Bunjaku is keen on keeping is language; the application is in German, for the language requirement is a determinant factor in the process of acquiring the Swiss citizenship. The application has been visited over 1600 users so far and averages with 20 visits per day.

The original article was published in Albanian in KOHA net.

Ambassador Ismaili Talks Digital Diplomacy

The prestigious Diplomatic Courier has recently featured an interview with Kosovo’s Ambassador to the United States, Mr. Akan Ismaili. Whilst a successful entrepreneur, Mr. Ismaili has been an active contributor to the cause of brining Kosovo closer to the global community. Co-founder of both the American University Foundation in Kosovo and IPKO (an organization credited with fostering internet as a development force in Kosova), Mr. Ismaili has a rather interesting take on the question of digital diplomacy.

The following is an excerpt from the interview; for the full article and  interview please click here.

[Diplomatic Courier:] Kosovo has earned a reputation for setting a precedent in the use of social media and digital diplomacy. How do you define digital diplomacy for your country? How did it become such a prominent feature of Kosovo’s foreign policy?

[Akan Ismaili:] It is quite obvious that in today’s world, where the competition among the countries is growing rapidly, the tiny countries receive less attention and a sort of limited space. In light of this, for a small country with limited odds, such as Kosovo, the most effective means to mark our presence worldwide and to strengthening our nation branding is digital diplomacy. That’s one side of the coin. The other side was to use social media tools in order to get your message across; to be much more present. As a matter of fact, the online presence sometimes matters as much as the physical presence, maybe even more. Technology gives us tools available to enhance traditional diplomacy, to make it easier, make it more affordable, and be more efficient and effective.

[DC:] When it comes to public diplomacy, what has changed about the toolbox?

[AI:] There is no doubt that changes are visible. We are now much more effective and efficient. Every day you find a new use and more creative use for the tools just because they are not as limited as in the traditional sense. The other thing that has changed is timing. Timing is everything. You have to be there at the debate when it happens, while it’s happening, otherwise you are too late, everybody moves on much faster than in the traditional sense of diplomacy.
[DC:] What are the dangers of that; moving that fast in real time?

[AI:] Sometimes you get a feeling that it’s very superficial, like you don’t go deep enough into the issue. But that’s why this is not the only way you do diplomacy. That’s why you continue with the other tools available to conduct diplomacy. So, it’s not just moving with a crowd, but you also have people who stay behind and continue that work on the lower levels and lower layers.

[DC:] When we’re looking at the future of diplomacy, some commentators out there are saying that face-to-face diplomacy is sort of dying.

[AI:] I disagree with that. I think that’s still an important element. I don’t think that Twitter and Facebook replace diplomacy. I believe we have a new tool set and it’s more of a tool set of communicating with the public than replacing the traditional way of communication between the countries, because I don’t think Twitter can replace six hours of negotiations when you need a treaty. You cannot do that over Facebook; it’s impossible to do that over Twitter. You still have to have experts sitting around the table and nailing down details. What this does is to uncover the wider opinion and the important elements of what’s actually taking place in real time; exposes it a little bit more and makes it more transparent. And this is where I think public pressure comes into play because people know in real time what’s going on and why things are happening. That’s why it’s becoming harder and harder for people to keep closed societies because these tools are there. If government controls media, they cannot control Twitter, they cannot control an individual tweeting or sending information from a Twitter. Everything is becoming more transparent and more open because the technology is available to everybody.

Rita Ora Makes It to the Oscars

Kosovo’s Rita Ora is nominated for an Oscar based on her performance on the “Grateful” soundtrack for the 2013 movie Beyond the Lights. The nominees for the “Original Song” category usually perform during the ceremony, which means that we will probably get to see Rita at the Oscars Academy Awards on February 22nd in Los Angeles.

“Grateful” will face competition from “Everything is Awesome”, a soundtrack of the The Lego movie. John Legend and Common are also nominated in this category for the song “Glory” on the movie Selma. The other nominees are Adam Levine with the song “Lost Stars” and Glen Campbell’s song “I’m Not Gonna Miss You”.

Bota Reaches World Film Festivals

“Bota” is a movie written and directed by Iris Elezi and Thomas Logoreci. The movie is a co-production of Kosovo, Albania and Italy, expected to appear on the 38th edition of The Goteborg Film Festival to be held between 23rd of January to 5 February, 2015 in Sweden.

The Goteborg Film Festival is ranked as one of the best festivals in the world, featuring over 500 films from 84 countries of the world, with over 40 seminars and discussions on film and production.

The Karlovy Vary international film festival, held in the Czech Republic a year ago, announced “Bota” amongst its winners in the 49th edition. After the success in the Czech Republic, France, Finland and Germany, “Bota” was shown in Kinema Millenium in Tirana,  Albania.

The actors starring in the movie are Flonja Kodheli, Artur Gorishti, Fioralba Kryemadhi, Tinka Kurti, Erand Sojli, Guljelm Radoja dhe Alban Ujkaj.

The original article was published in KOHA net:

Fatjona Maliqi Plays The Rhapsody in Blue

After receiving the “Young Pianist” award, Fatjona Maliqi (born on July 26, 1996 in  Gjilan, Kosovo) has been set on a path to success. Professor and German pianist Heribert Koch, who at the time had been the president of the jury, invited Fatjona to Germany to practice her piano. The numerous hours of learning spent with Mr. Koch, would later prove helpful in mastering the piano throughout different concerts.

Last year’s October was busy for Fatojna Maliqi, with two concerts and orchestra based on the works of American composer George Gershwin. Furthermore, Ms. Maliqi took part in “Rhapsody in Blue” held in Germany, where a warm acceptance from the audience has given the young pianist a great thrill. AACHENER-Zeitung described Fatjona Maliqi’s performance as “strongly applauded, where the audience had requested her return to the stage several times.”

The original article was published in KOHA net:

Besnik Hasi is Belgium’s Pro League Coach of The Year!

As a result of his success to make the RSC Anderlecht a champion in the Belgium’s football elite, Besnik Hasi was chosen “Coach of The Year” in Belgium. The current coach of RSC Anderlecht was so excited to receive this award, but did not forget to thank his family in Albanian as follows:

“First, I have to thank the club for giving me the opportunity and time to be promoted and become the first coach of the team. It is a great honor! A great dedication goes to my family: I love you, without you I would not be where I am today.”

Gazeta Tribuna brings exclusively the video of his speech.

You can check Hasi’s professional profile here.

Kosovo’s Rita Ora Takes a Seat at the UK Voice

UK’s  Mirror Magazine has featured an article on Rita Ora’s appearance on the Voice. Apart from her singing, the magazine also highlights Ora’s past, the path to success and what has made Rita Ora the artist that she is today.

Born Rita Sahatçiu in 1990, her first name was in tribute to classic film star Rita Hayworth and her surname was the hereditary profession of her family – Sahatçiu (in Albanian: watchmaker). In a nod to the profession, her father gave her the surname Ora meaning ‘hour’ because it rolled off the tongue easier.

Rita’s family  fled from Yugoslavia when she was a year old and she grew up near Portobello Road, London. Her grandmother Besa, who still lives there, told the Sun: “There were riots, uprisings and suppression by the Government of the former Yugoslavia. Kosovars wanted rights like other Yugoslav republics.”

Rita began singing in open mic sessions in London and performed in her dad’s pub. She had her first taste of fame in 2007 when she appeared on Craig David’s Awkward. She caught the attention of DJ Fresh, who was looking for a female singer for his song Hot Right Now, and the rest, as they say is history.

Check out the rest of the article by following the link here.

Columbia University Highlights Rina Lila’s SIPA Interview

The KosovoDiaspora staff member, Rina Lila, has been featured in the newsletter of the prestigious Columbia University in NY, United States. Her interview with SIPA, Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs Magazine has been highlighted among top newsworthy articles.

Please click here to read Rina Lila’s Interview for Columbia’s SIPA Magazine.

Brahimi Excelling in Soccer Coaching

Shemsi Brahimi from Mitrovica, Kosovo is a successful soccer coach for about 300 children in the municipality of Kalmar, Sweden. He trains children of all nationalities and this is what he values the most regarding his work.

Brahimi’s contribution to building a genuine culture of sports for children is highly appreciated and supported by the authorities of Kalmar municiplality, including the Mayor, Johan Persson.

He moved from Kosovo to Sweden in 1997 and since then has worked on enhancing the good reputation of Kosovar community in Sweden.

The original article in Albanian regarding his activity can be found here.


Arbër Bullakaj to Wiler City Council

Arbër Bullakaj from Kosovo is elected Vice-President of the Social Democratic Party in the Canton of St. Gallen, Switzerland. He was officially entitled in the position of SP Vice-President on January 10th 2015. Bullakaj has joined the SP eight years ago and since January 2013, he is a member of the city council of Wil.

As a finance and accounting specialist, his area of interest includes, but is not limited to, equal opportunities in education, expansion of public services, the promotion of renewable energy and environmental protection.

Bullakaj was born on 05.04.1986 in Prizren, Kosovo. At the age of 8, his family moved from the beautiful village of Sallagrazhde (Prizren) to Switzerland. As a child of immigrants, Bullakaj believes that he can help all Swiss citizens, including migrants, to better understand each other. According to him, “a successful migration always reflects social integration, because it needs the goodwill of all parties involved in the process.”

To learn more about his recent political activities, visit or