Category Archives: Resources for Diaspora

Harvard Diaspora Project Wants Your Say!


The CID shows that “at least one third of Albanians live outside the borders of their home countries in the Balkans. In the countries where they currently live and work many of them have achieved levels of professional and economic success that would not have been possible at home. We are driven by the image of what the impact of connecting this wealth of knowledge, connections and economic capital with the home countries would be on the Balkans.”

The objectives of CID’s Diaspora Program include:

  • It ensures that the diaspora relations have proper place on the political agenda of the countries in the Balkans.
  • It facilitates the relations between the home governments and the diaspora community organizations abroad.
  • It supports the home governments with building capacities to engage with the diaspora and develop strategies for leveraging its potential to promote economic and social development in the Balkans.

CID’s Diaspora Program starts with reinforcing the relations with the Albanians in the USA, but has the ambition to include all countries with significant Albanian population. Their action plan has three stages:

The first stage involves a series of meetings in the USA between the diaspora on the one hand, and government officials and private sector representatives on the other. The first three meetings will take place in Washington D.C., New York City and Boston in spring of 2015. In June or September of 2015, a joint delegation of Harvard and Diaspora leaders will visit the Balkans and work on establishing the foundations of a strategy for engaging the diaspora in the country’s development. The diaspora strategy should be the main outcome of the visit. The third stage involves implementation of this strategy.

For further details on eligibility and regulations to participate in the program, you can click HERE. To fill out the survey, click HERE.

London Focus Group on Diaspora Virtual Registry

London – On February 25, 2015 the new focus group on diaspora’s virtual registration (DVR) “From a Concept to Success” met in London at the Refugee Council office.

This event was part of the on-going series of focus groups meetings in several countries aiming to bring together Kosovo and Albanian business and civil society leaders to discuss and develop options for making the Diaspora Virtual Registration (DVR) platform a success. The DVR has been developed by Kosovo’s Ministry of Diaspora (MoD) with the aim of mapping out diaspora members living abroad, and strengthening diaspora’s ties and participation in the policy development process in Kosovo. The DRV can be found in the following link:

Participants included distinguished representatives of the Albanian and Kosovo diaspora organizations, Ministry of Diaspora from Kosovo, Kosovo’s Embassy in London, Albanian Embassy in London, the International Organisation of Migration (IOM), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the representatives of charities of the Albanian community in the UK. Vebi Kosumi, the chair of the roundtable discussion, opened up the meeting and gave a presentation on the online registration process for professionals, students, and other members of the Kosovo diaspora.


© 2015 Xhevat Morina. More pictures from the event can be found here.

“The event was an opportunity for the Ministry of Diaspora representatives to engage face-to-face with the Albanian community organisations and individuals to discuss the online Diaspora registration process. It also provided an open forum for the diaspora representatives to ask questions and have an interactive discussion with the government officials. The focus group meeting was successful as it brought together the Albanian community with the Kosovo government representatives. I received a lot of positive feedback from the participants afterwards regarding the useful topics covered. I would like to thank the platform for giving me the opportunity to organise and chair the meeting, and my special thanks go to the representatives from Kosovo, the Ministry of Diaspora, IOM and UNDP as well as to all participating organisations and individuals from the UK who came to the meeting,” said Vebi Kosumi.

At the London meeting special guests included: Mentor Borovci, Lorik Pustina, Flaka Braha from Kosovo’s Ministry of Diaspora; Besian Bicurri from IOM; and Ardian Spahiu as the UNDP representative. During their speeches, Mentor Borovci and Lorik Pustina explained the process of the online registration for the Kosovo diaspora.

“I invite everyone who is a member of the diaspora to register. This registration is important so the Republic of Kosovo would know how many people live abroad, as well as identify the needs of diaspora professionals,” said Mentor Borovci, a representative of the Kosovo Government.

Mr. Pustina further pointed out that, “all ethnic groups who originate from Kosovo and are living abroad qualify to register. This registry does target as well, all Albanians living abroad, as for our Ministry, the Albanian diaspora is unified and undivided, regardless where they endeavor from – Albania, Montenegro, Macedonia, Presheva…”

The Embassy of Kosovo and the Embassy of Albania were present at the meeting through Mr. Mustafë Avdiu and Ms. Migena Baholli and they spoke about the help, which they provide in furthering the online registration through face-to-face meetings with members of Diaspora in the UK.


The Q&A session followed with an open discussion by representatives of the diaspora organisations and individuals such as Luljeta Nuzi of the Shpresa Programme, Esat Braçe of the Nënë Tereza Charity, Artan Llabjani from UK Albanian Proffesionals, Indira Kartallozi from Chrysalis family Future, Beqir Shillova from the British Albanian Kosovar Council and other legal, medical and educational professionals.

Key themes of the discussion related to procedures for registration, and the eventual benefits and uses that the finalization of the database will provide. Some concerns were raised regarding the privacy of personal data shared with the MoD via the DRV. Other discussion points focused on the results of the registration process to date. It emerged that the registration process uses encryption technology to protect the data shared with the MoD, which has planned and designed the system to ensure privacy protection throughout the process of data collection, clearing and analysis.

Diaspora representatives present at the focus group provided positive feedback, and committed to promoting the DRV among their circles as well as ensuring to find ways to make it a succes.

This was the first focus group meeting held in London, preceded by others in New York, United States, and Stockholm, Sweden. Two additional focus groups will take place in Vienna, Austria and Zurich, Switzerland, where large numbers of Kosovo’s diaspora reside.

The organizer of the focus group is NGO Germin in partnership with the International Organization of Migration (IOM), the United Nations Development Office (UNDP) and the Kosovo Ministry of Diaspora (MoD).

Germin is an organization that uses technology to connect and support the Albanian Diaspora communities with their home countries. Germin has founded and manages the, a crowdsourcing digital engagement platform for Diaspora.

The IOM and UNDP are implementing partners of the Diaspora Engagement in Economic Development (DEED) in Kosovo, funded by the Finish Government –

From A Concept To Success: Diaspora Focus Group In London

As part of the Diaspora Registration initiative, alongside DEED and the Kosovar Ministry of Diaspora are holding the third Diaspora Focus Group Discussion. The event will gather representatives of the Kosovar and Albanian embassies in the United Kingdom, as well as opening speeches by representatives of UNDP, Ministry of Diaspora and IOM. The London Diaspora Focus group is expected to have greater attendance (with already 30 confirmed participants) due to the coverage of the Kosovodiaspora platform and the Kosovar community living in London.

The discussion will be held on 25th of February at 16:00 Hrs on Gredley House, 1-11 Broadway Stratfford London. Refugee Council, Meeting Room F.

After the discussion, the Kosovodiaspora team would like to invite the participants for an informal gathering at the The Langthorne, Stratford, 12-14 The Broadway, Stratford,London.


Kosovo Develops the Road Map for the Diaspora Registry

The first week of February 2015 has marked the finalization of the Road Map for the Diaspora Registry. On February 6 to 8, Representatives of the DEED project, along with the commission that was appointed by the Kosovo’s Minister of Diaspora, Mr. Valon Murati, held a workshop in Boge, Kosovo, to review, draft, and finalize the Road Map for the Diaspora Registry. This commission consisted of officials from the MoD, the Kosovo Agency of Statistics, as well as academics from the field of statistics.

The Diaspora Engagement for Economic Development reports that the workshop began with an initial review of the process that is already in place for registration of the diaspora. At this phase, what has been accomplished thus far as a result of the diaspora register was discussed, and future steps, including possible initiatives, were taken into consideration. This phase also included planning for future activities as well as budget scheduling and planning for the remainder of the process for the diaspora registry.

On the following day, the plan for awareness and public information in regards to the registry were discussed and drafted. The final draft included a plan for public awareness campaigning, as well as other activities which will work towards making the diaspora registry more prevalent in public media.

On the final day of the workshop, February 8, the draft concept document for the diaspora registry was reviewed, and the plan for public awareness was revised, thereby bringing the workshop to a conclusion.

*The Diaspora Registry process is developed by the Ministry of Diaspora with the aim of strengthening Diaspora’s ties and participation in policy development processes in Kosovo. The platform has partnered with the MoD and Diaspora Engagement for Economic Development (DEED) to promote the registry among our widespread diaspora communities across five continents.

If you are a Diaspora member and would like to register, please click HERE.

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.

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.

Ministry of Diaspora Establishing New Partnerships

Ministry of Diaspora welcomed a delegation of the Post of Kosovo, led by Chief Executive Officer, Sejdi Hoxha.

On January 21, in a meeting held with representatives of the Post of Kosovo, Minister Murati discussed possible areas of cooperation between the two institutions in the interest of Kosovo’s diaspora and all citizens of Kosovo.

They agreed that the Ministry of Diaspora will use the postal service of the Post of Kosovo for delivery of books and textbooks in the Diaspora, as well as Post’s non-banking financial service.

Mr. Hoxha notified Minister Murati regarding the Post’s initiative to dedicate a future postage stamp series to the Albanian diaspora, which has continuously shown an outstanding contribution for the people and state of Kosovo.

Here you can read the official news in Albanian.

Learn Albanian The Fun Way


ODA Lab is  excited to announce the release of its first product HIRUSHJA, an interactive learning app for children of Albanian descent. HIRUSHJA will become available to Android and IOS users on Feb 15, 2015. Hirushja will be one of the fairy-tails released under Lepuroshi Learning Center which is a collection of interactive activities that allows your kids to play and learn at the same time while enjoying classic stories and games

About ODA Lab

ODA Labs is an international digital services company with touch points in United States, Switzerland and Kosova, where we house our main production facilities since 2013. We specialize in web and mobile application development, product design and digital strategy – delivering end-to-end solutions to our clients and consumers globally.

Our multidisciplinary team consists of computer scientists, graphic designers, marketing specialists, business strategists and human factors researchers. Having a diverse team enables us to form a deeper understanding of industry pain-points and formulate comprehensive, transformational ideas.

We strive to be a holistic, socially conscious enterprise, which means that the products and business solutions we put out into the world must align with our core values – generating profits while enhancing the lives of individuals and strengthening communities.

A Message From Our Founders

We founded ODA Labs with a mission to give back to our community by utilizing the skills and knowledge we have obtained while studying and living abroad.

We are group of globetrotters, with origin from Kosova. Since we left the country of our origins we have established ourselves as professionals around the glove, thanks to the great opportunities awarded to us through higher education and stable economy. Several of us have recently returned home to continue our lives and professional development in Kosova.

With most of our family and friends residing in Albania we still feel a deep connection to our native community. Throughout our many visits home, and to surrounding territories, we have uncovered that economic barriers prevent people from participating in newer technologies. This exposes them to the dangers associated with the digital divide, which perpetuates socio-economic inequality between the rich and poor countries.

Our mission is to help alleviate the technological gap by creating digital resources with purpose of increasing interactive way through use of latest technology and by working with government officials to solve obstacles around access, connectivity and content availability. We established ODA Lab because we believe that our mission is achievable if we apply creativity and innovation to incorporate digital solutions.

Technology is a powerful tool that has the capacity to change the way people communicate, learn and operate their daily lives. Our long-term vision is to work across cultures and industries to build tech products that improve the lives of the people and strengthen communities.

We begin this journey through our first offering HIRUSHJA, a digital learning tool that allows kids to play and learn at the same time in Albanian.


A fun way for children to learn and interact with technology, while enjoying classic stories and games in Albanian.


HIRUSHJA is an Albanian app for learning recommended to children age three to eight. It offers a collection of fun activities that are designed to improve literacy through interactive games around classic children’s literature and familiar puzzle challenges such as the Rubik’s cube.


The idea for this product originated out of a real, personal need. I am one of the founders of ODA Labs and a father to a seven-year-old girl. Every summer I send her to my parents’ house in Kosova to make sure that she is exposed to Albanian culture and language. I noticed that shortly after she returns from the trip, she begins to loose everything she has learned over the summer months, because the young mind needs to stay active in order to retain the vocabulary.

Like most modern kids my daughter loves to spend time on her tablet. It has been a great challenge, as a parent, to find meaningful activities for her to engage in during the screen time. As I searched for apps to help her stay connected to the Albanian language, I realized that while there are plenty available to the English-speaking children, there isn’t the same pool of resources for Albanian children to learn interactively. My partners and I decided to put our head together and create a tool that would allow kids to learn in a fun way in Albanian.

We didn’t want to cut into a child’s play time, in fact, our goal was to make kids feel like they are playing rather than learning and this is why we purposefully created a non-academic interactive tool that is free of drill-based exercises.

Out team dedicated the past year to researching and testing various learning techniques with focus to build out a technology that is effective, visually engaging and easy to use.

During our research we realized that learning to use technology itself is an essential skill for children growing up in today’s tech driven world. This is why, in the coming years, we plan to expand this product by developing a collection of resources for teachers that will enable them to implement technology as part of the school curriculum.

Connecting Diaspora Virtually With Kosovo

“Diaspora, register online!” – is the newest initiative of the Government of Kosovo in building better ways to communicate and present Diaspora interests in the home country.

The Kosovo Ministry of Diaspora has developed an online database where the diaspora can register. The goal of the registry is to ensure that the Diaspora gets connected with the home state institutions and have a way to more adequately channel its needs and interests. The Registry will enumerate and gather information regarding Kosovo’s diaspora, which will then allow institutions to build  policies that better reflect the needs and interests of the country’s Diaspora, which amounts over a third its population.

To register online, you can click on the picture below or in the following link.

Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 10.54.23 AMIt is the first time in Kosovo’s history that its diaspora is getting registered online. With  with support from the UNDP and IOM DEED project. A Ministry official said “this project took several months of intensive preparations, hard work, and dedication.” The Ministry expects the Registry to be completed in a period of several months, if not a year. The DEED project has announced it will remain engaged in supporting the finalization of the Registry project until it is fully completed.

Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 10.54.35 AMThe Prime Minister of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci, recently endorsed the Diaspora Registry on his personal Facebook page. He spoke of the significant role the Albanian Diaspora played in the history of Kosovo, and plead to everyone living abroad to register and be involved.

Here is a video ad about the Registry recently published by the Ministry of Diaspora and Asha Graphics.

The Kosovo Diaspora platform has also partnered with the Ministry of Diaspora and the DEED Project in promoting the Registry. The platform has dedicated a specific page within its website, and will provide up-to-date information on the results of the virtual registration, as well as communicate the benefits of the initiative.

Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 10.26.51 AMMore about the announcement for the registration of Diaspora online, you may see the following interview with a Diaspora Ministry official, Mentor Borovci at the KTV Matinee show (in Albanian).