Monthly Archives: February 2015

The British Embassy Set to Support Diaspora Projects

Kosovo’s Minister of Diaspora, Mr. Valon Murati, hosted an introductory meeting with the UK’s ambassador in Kosovo, Mr. Ian Cliff. During this meeting, the ambassador has been informed on the 2015 priorities and long-term objectives of the Ministry of Diaspora, specifically on projects dealing with Kosovo’s Diaspora in the UK.

Minister Murati emphasized the importance of additional Albanian language classes for Diaspora and the goal of attracting foreign investments in Kosovo. He explained that these projects are a top priority for the MoD and they require a strong institutional cooperation between the two countries. “We are interested to benefit from the experience of the UK in the establishment of cultural centers (British Council) and take a similar approach with the cultural centers of the Republic of Kosovo” emphasized Minister Murati.

The British Ambassador, Mr. Ian Cliff, expressed the support of United Kingdom towards helping the Kosovo’s Ministry of Diaspora in fulfilling its goals. “The UK is characterized by many cultural representations and various events from countries around the world. We are very flexible in this regard, therefore our support in advising the Kosovar counterparts will always be there,” said Mr. Cliff. He added that the Albanian Diaspora in the UK is well integrated, especially in professional fields such as medicine, architecture and other professions.

The British Ambassador, Mr. Ian Cliff, concluded the meeting by expressing his gratitude and  the UK support on the realization of projects regarding Diaspora.

You can click here to read the original article published in Albanian in the official page of the Ministry of Diaspora.

Ergin Oda: Reaching New York City’s Classical and Musical Scenes

Ergin Oda from Mitrovica, Kosovo, is the first Albanian soloist reaching the New York City Master Chorale. He studied for Ethnomusicology/Vocal at the Faculty of Music of the University of Prishtina and continued for Musical in Vienna Conservatorium.

Ergin’s engagement in art began in his city of birth, Mitrovica, where he was an actor of the city’s theater. He was also a moderator at a local radio in Kosovo. Since 2003, Ergin is a soloist in Kosovo’s Philharmonic. He has been part of numerous concerts within Kosovo’s Academy of Sciences and Arts, through which he has had the chance to perform in European countries such as Paris and Vienna.

His talent and commitment to continue building a professional profile has allowed him to become a soloist in the Cecilia Chorus of New York, Regina Opera, and New York City Master Chorale. Among these activities, Ergin has recorded the soundtrack for an upcoming Hollywood movie and plans a more intensive engagement in this regard.

Ergin believes that young Albanians who live and work in the Diaspora have a great responsibility upon themselves.  In an exclusive interview for Kosovo Diaspora, Oda explains that “Diaspora professionals represent not only themselves as individuals, but also their country in various fields. Kosovo’s Diaspora has a major role in building the image of Kosovo abroad. By presenting our cultural values, we lobby towards improving Kosovo’s image internationally. The only way to achieve success in this regard is by creating a strong connection and cooperation between the Diaspora members.”

One of his most successful projects in regard to the Diaspora is the establishment of “Ergin and Brevis Ensemble,” which promotes Albanian music all over America. Through this project, Ergin and his colleagues aim to present the values of Albanian music and promote its cultivation to new generations living outside Kosovo.

During December 2014, along with a cast of American singers, Ergin performed at the Carnegie Hall in New York, US. Currently, he lives in New York and is a member of NYCM Choral Cabaret. At the same time, he is the leader of “Ergin and Brevis Ensemble,” which promotes classical Albanian music. Other members of the ensemble are two internationals and a Kosovar: Lule Ballata/Flute, Alex Schenker/violin, and Daniel Laor/Piano.

Kosovar Film Wins Cinema for Peace Award for Justice

Three Windows and a Hanging film by Isa Qosja won “Cinema for Peace Award for Justice” at Berlinale2015, which started on February 5 and will last until February 15, 2015.

Produced in 2014 with a 93 minute running time, the film is about a woman that stands against the silent world of rape victims who are considered a shame on their families and societies. At the beginning of this year, Three Windows and a Hanging was awarded “Cinema Without Borders Special Jury Award”. During the Palm Springs International Film Festival, “Cinema Without Borders” awarded a certificate for an upcoming Method Acting Intensive provided by The Lee Strasberg Theater & Film Institute in West Hollywood, CA—valued at $2000 for Three Windows and a Hanging film producers from Kosovo.

A detailed description about the film, as reported by “Cinema without Borders”, is provided below:

Set in a traditional Kosovar village a year after the war with Serbia, this finely written and directed drama provides a critical look at a patriarchal culture threatened by the knowledge that the enemy violated their women. When a local woman anonymously reveals to an international journalist that she and others were raped, the fallout from this once-repressed secret threatens to tear apart the fabric of village life.

The action takes place in a scenic mountain enclave that is trying to rebuild after the war. When the article about the wartime rapes appears, the controlling mayor tells the local men that schoolmarm Lushe must be the source, and advises them to shun both her and her lad. While they are happy to comply because they believe Lushe has brought shame on them and their village, they can’t stop wondering about the identities of the three other raped women mentioned in the article.

Previous Awards: Cinema Without Borders Special Jury Award 2015, Connecting Cottbus 2012, Best Pitch Award; Sarjevo Film Festival 2013, Cinelink’s Work in Progress

Director: Isa Qosja
Producer: Shkumbin Istrefi, Mentor Shala
Editor: Agron Vula
Screenwriter: Zymber Kelmendi
Cinematographer: Gökhan Tiryaki
Principal Cast: Irena Cahani, Luan Jaha, Donat Qosja, Orik Morina, Aurita Agushi, Leonora Mehmetaj

Illyrians in Slovenia Bring Life to an Abandoned Building

The Albanian Cultural Association “Illyria” based in Koper, Slovenia has fully restored an abandoned facility and transformed it into a cultural center. They have been offered an abandoned old house, in order to turn it into a suitable building for conducting the activities of “Illyria” association. People of “Illyria” have been looking for an “office building” ever since 1998. When the chance occurred, they did not hesitate and restored the building in a record time of 20 days.Illyria_KoperKoper_Illyria

“The organization consisting of 100 members has shown a remarkable enthusiasm for concluding this activity successfully,” reports Kult Plus. Recently, the local media of Slovenia have broadly covered this story, since it shows how an old building shall now host different types of activities such as music, folklore, dance, recitals, and sports events.

For more information regarding the “Illyria” organization and Albanians living in Slovenia, you can follow their Facebook page.

Celebrating Kosovo’s Culture and Traditions

The American Councils for International Education is organizing the Evening of Culture and Discovery to share with you Kosovo’s culture and traditions. The event will feature a virtual tour of Kosovo through centuries and special live musical performance by Shpat Deda, a critically acclaimed Kosovar singer-song writer, current KAEF Fellow. H.E. Ambassador Akan Ismaili, Kosovo Ambassador to the U.S will be the Guest of Honor for the night.

When: Friday, March 27, 2015 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Where: Mrs. Jane Blair’s Residence
5006 Warren Street, NW
Washington, DC 20016

Ticket sales from this event will benefit the Kosovo American Education Fund (KAEF). Established in 2004, KAEF is dedicated to the economic development of Kosovo through the education of its most promising youth and professionals. To date, KAEF has provided 74 graduate degrees to Kosovo’s best and brightest.

American Councils for International Education expresses special thanks to the Host Committee and a select group of Albanian Professionals of Washington, DC in organizing this special evening.

Additional information regarding the event can be found HERE.

Diaspora Ministry Set To Further Integration of Albanians in Croatia

Diaspora Minister, Mr. Valon Murati has held a meeting with the Croatian Deputy Minister of Culture, prof. Berislav Shupiq, and discussed future initiatives in furthering cooperation between the two countries. In particular, fields such as preservation of cultural heritage, language and national identity, as well as the possibility of initiating cooperation agreement for the opening of cultural centers in Kosovo and Croatia, have been the highlights of the meeting.

Minister Murati informed Mr. Shupiq over the objectives of the Kosovar Ministry of Diaspora in the field of preservation and promotion of Diaspora’s culture and its integration in the host countries. Furthermore, this meeting has put emphasis on the need for exchange of good practices between countries and initiatives that seek to benefit the Albanian community living in Croatia. Furthermore, Minister Shupiq has also offered assistance on his behalf by engaging the Institute for Restoration of Cultural Heritage Objects towards capacity building of Kosovo’s cultural institutions.