Category Archives: #KOSOVOEVERYWHERE

DokuFest offers an exclusive package for Diaspora

In its 19th edition, DokuFest is rolling out for the first time in an online format due to COVID-19. However, despite all challenges, the festival is being successfully organized virtually under the theme “Transmitting”. Same as in previous years, DokuFest has thought about the Albanian diaspora.

“Knowing that a large number of migrants could not come to Kosovo due to the pandemic and given that this year the festival will not be held physically, the organizers in cooperation with the directors of Albanian films have enabled all emigrants access to the online platform of DokuFest”, said Mr. Eroll Bilibani, one of the team, in an interview for “Albinfo”, a diaspora-based media outlet. Although virtually, our festival has created special programs which will be accessible only to our diaspora “, adds Mr. Bilibani for

A competition section with shorts and documentaries made by Albanian filmmakers from around the world, most of them premiering at DokuFest, will be exclusively available for Diaspora in Germany & Switzerland from 7-15 August. Diaspora Package can be accessed via this link, while all other packages and films are accessible at

Veton Kurteshi: Taking the love for photography to the next level

Veton Kurteshi has had a soft spot for photography since he was ten, when his father bought him a professional camera.  Now a 25-year old student in Vienna, Veton has built on his love for photography with stunning results.  Whether it is swaths of green valleys, snow capped mountains or beautiful frozen lakes, his photographs capture the essence of nature.


Veton enjoys shooting with long-exposure feature as it is great for photographing stars and the Milky Way. He uses photography to memorialize moments and share the beauty of nature with others.  He is currently working on a photographing the Semmering Railway, which is the first mountain railway in Europe constructed in the middle of the 19th century under the guidance of Carl van Ghega.  Veton reminds us that Ghega was born in Italy in an Albanian family.


Veton wants to counter negative stereotypes of his homeland in Austria by showcasing the magnificent landscapes of Kosovo.

To see more of Veton’s amazing shots, check out his Instagram.

As they continued to develop their love for nature, five young men from Kosovo recently joined forces and took their passion to another level.

Arian, Taulant, Leorent, Adi, and Kushtrim are the founders of Supercampers—a group that organizes camping and hiking trips around Kosovo. Driven by their love of nature, about five years ago, these young men started exploring the natural beauty of Kosovo’s ancient mountains. “We have mainly been inspired by the endless potential that Kosovo’s nature has to offer and by the many experiences each of us has had while travelling for work to Europe and the US”, say the founders. Each of them were able to draw lessons from the way other countries have embraced and incorporated nature in their respective cultures. Supercampers want to apply those lessons towards creating a similar culture in Kosovo.

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The idea to create something like Supercampers has been brewing for a long time, according to them. Seeing how such initiatives are rare in Kosovo, they decided that showcasing Kosovo’s beauty is the best way to give back to the country.

During the past five years, the founders have been able to hone their skills and have come across numerous beautiful and interesting places in the country. As a result, Supercampers now organize hikes and camping trips in many different locations in Kosovo. During each trip, their goal is to be able to discover something new and then to share it with others. Some of the most popular spots remain Bjeshket e Nemuna (Rugova Mountains) and Sharri Mountains. In addition, Supercampers have also started working on branching out and organizing trips to the neighboring countries, such as Albania, Montenegro, and Macedonia.

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Considering that it is in the initial stages, Supercampers’ current plans include mostly weekend camping and hiking trips. However, the founders hope to extend the length of the trips during summertime. During the summer months, Kosovo becomes a popular tourist destination for thousands of Kosovar Albanians who live abroad. Supercampers want to be able to help acquaint people with what Kosova has to offer in addition to the vibrant urban atmosphere.

Finally, Supercampers understands that proper usage of social media and technology can be very beneficial. They have embraced the social media world to the fullest as the most convenient and effective way to reach their targeted audience. “By taking advantage of technology and modern media, we think that visually documenting our activities will help us reach the goal that we have set for ourselves—promoting Kosovo and its beauty and showing the world that we are capable of organizing and creating beautiful things.”

A quick look at their Instagram feed and their Facebook page will give you the urge to pack up your bags and leave on the first possible flight.

Vienna Focus Group comlpeted successfully

Virtual Registration of Diaspora initiative has successfully completed the discussion forum. Held at the premises of the Kosovar Embassy in Vienna, the event gathered representatives of the departments of Kosovo, specifically the Ministry of the Diaspora, representatives of various Albanian organizations in Austria and numerous members from the civil society. The forum once again highlighted the importance of meeting directly with citizens and exchange of information with related institutions.2

The discussion form brought together participants from Kosovo,Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania. A question and answer session with the  Secretary of the Ministry of Diaspora, Mentor Borovci, Director of Media Department of the Ministry of Diaspora Mr. Lorik Pustina and the Consul of Kosovo in Austria, Mr. Imer Ladrovci.1

Among many question, a rather important one was raised by Mr. Abdullah Abdullahi from Prizren, who asked whether Albanians who have Austrian citizenship have the right to register and proposed that the registration process intensify during the summer months. Representatives of the Ministry of Diaspora explained that this registration will not cause legal trouble to anyone and does not create any legal complication with dual citizenship, thus it encourages diaspora community members of every legal standing to register.

Mr. Hamez Morina from the ESIKS organizations in Vienna is seeking to promote the Diaspora Registration by ease of access to public services or  reward based program. Another efficient method highlighted by Mr. Morina has been contacting members of the diaspora previously engaged in projects such as “Brain Gain”.

The discussion form has been characterized also by numerous questions regarding Albanians from Montenegro, Macedonia and Albania.  Mr. Sabri Osmani from the city of Ulqin demanded that the registry is more inclusive, alongside Mr. Osmani, a number of people demanded that the Kosovar embassy contact the Macedonian and Montenegrin counterparts in order to expand the reach of the registry.3

Swiss misconceptions over Albanians: “Wait…what, you are Albanian?”

Swiss newspaper “Tages Anzeiger” interviewed three ethnic Albanian students, to prove how inaccurate are misconceptions over ethnic Albanians in Switzerland. Denise Marquard interviewed Burim Lusha, Vjosa Ismaili and Arbnora Aliu who study at the University of Zurich and the University of Applied Sciences in Zurich.

Does Switzerland make you feel more Albanian or Swiss?

Lusha: I cannot fully answer this question. I am lucky to have been raised in both countries.


There are ongoing discussions if the football players for the Swiss national team are “decent Swiss”.

Lusha: People, in a wider sense, think that Albanians are skilled only in sports. But they don’t consider that there are many students and PhD candidates at Swiss Universities. Since there is no existing codex that defines the values that make a person a “decent Swiss”, this statement seems pointless to me.


Albanians are only football players, bodyguards or people who practice martial art. Is that true?

Ismaili: Unfortunately that’s how the majority of people perceive us. Since high school, I was continuously bullied by being asked: wait what, you are Albanian? There is this idea: if you are Albanian, you are not able to study.

Aliu: I deal with this sort of situation even today at my University. Since I do not give much credit to these comments, I ironically answer back: I was forced to get married, so I study in secret. Then no one dares do discuss it further. The truth is that both my parents studied in ex-Yugoslavia, therefore it is understandable to study in my family.


What’s the deal with Balkan machos? Do they exist or not?

Ismaili: I do not read daily news, because they do not reflect the reality.

Aliu: That what is written about Balkan machos, is still unknown for me, my relatives and my friends. We cannot allow our nation to be humiliated like this.


If a teenager swears in his/her school in Prishtina, what would happen?

 Aliu: This would not end well. This is not how Albanians behave. This derives from gangsters and rap culture that we find on youtube, instagram and twitter.

Lusha: When I read what a school mayor had said, that albanian kids are told that their mother is of no value, I questioned his seriousness. In Albanian culture women, and especially mothers, are given a big respect.


There is the irresponsible driver from the Balkans, and then the Balkan macho. Is there a stereotype for people from Balkans?

Aliu: It disgusts me when I see this generalization. Even the “yugo” notion is used for humiliating Balkan people.


But Croatians, Serbs and Albanians altogether have conflicts between each other, right?

Ismaili: Firstly, we honor each other as human beings. Ethnicity comes second.

Aliu: We are all united by one fact, that we all are immigrants in Switzerland.


Is there gender equality between Albanians?

Ismaili: My dad does the housework, so gender inequality is not an issue in my family.

Aliu: In my family, we are four women. Trust me, it’s not easy for my dad.

Lusha: I love cooking.


Albanians are conservatory rural people and they suppress women’s rights, isn’t that so?

 Aliu: Take a ride to Skopje, Prishtina or Tirana. It’s ridiculous to say that Albanian women are oppressed. On the contrary, they are open and secure about themselves.


So they do not wear burka or anything similar to it?

The three of them: In Albanian territory, we do not know anyone who wears burka.


What about equal rights?

Lusha: Speaking for myself, I have never experienced discrimination.

Aliu: Back in high school, I had a teacher who barely gave me a B. When I asked her what was the reason about it, she answered: do your parents read the Neue Zurcher Zeitung? This was absurd. Later on I had another teacher, and I had excellent grades.

Ismaili: I was one of the few immigrants who succeeded to get into high school, and I think that if we had more support, many of other immigrants could have been attending it.

Aliu: In my primary school, 80% of the kids in my class were immigrants. I was the only one who could get into high school. Every year, only two people can get through high school without attending extra courses. That is why today I teach extra courses to the kids from my neighborhood, so they can be better prepared.


How important is islam for you?

Aliu: In my family, religion is a very important part of everyday life. We practice islam in our manner.

Ismaili: Religion is something personal.

Lusha: As for me, religion is very important, not because of the tradition, but because of obedience. Based on Albanian history, I would say that Albania is less religious than Kosovo or Macedonia. There is a fact that there are no religious conflicts in Albanian society, since the religious diversity is present and embraced.


Would you marry a Swiss?

Aliu: My life partner is Albanian, I met him during my holidays. My dad always said to me that it is up to me to decide with who I want to spend my life with. But he clearly said that if I fall in love with a Swiss, I would have to deal with the education and religious issues myself.

Lusha: For me, nationality is not important at all.


How do you picture your future? Would you still live in Switzerland?

Ismaili: I don’t know. It is a great priority that we have experienced the lives in both countries.

Lusha: I will surely stay in Switzerland. We can learn so much from Italians. Today, they are integrated. I hope that Albanians will someday be part of Swiss Academia. There are many talents in different Swiss Universities.

Aliu: I cannot say If I will be staying here or not. What I can say about the future is that there will be many opportunities for the next generations. Then, they will not be talking over us, but about us.

* Arbnora Aliu (24) studies pedagogy, Vjosa Ismaili (23) economy, Burim Lusha (25) economy and engineering.


Empowered Kosovar in Germany: Elona Kastrati’s Feminist Protest

Elona Kastrati made headlines in Karlsruhe, Germany, with her awareness campaign on gender equality. She chose “International Women’s Day” to spread her word on sanitary pads, which she put on the main road signs with provocative writing superimposed on the pads.

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The twenty year-old Kosovar shares her thoughts on the campaign in an exclusive interview for KosovoDiaspora.

KD: What made you do it?

EK: I was thinking about how menstruation is a taboo theme in our world.

KD: Could you very shortly tell us about the activity and how it started?

EK: I stuck feminist quotes for GENDER equality on menstruation pads i was with my sister Nora in my city and so we started

KD: Was the reaction all positive, or, were there critiques of your activity?

EK: Of course there were critiques but mostly good ones! I dont care about bad ones because its good that poeple at least talk about it

KD: Is there anything brewing in the near future?

EK: Yeah some little street art things and a speech in TEDxPrishtinaWomen

You can follow Elona on instagram.Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 9.48.16 PMElonaK