Category Archives: LEARN

Returning home to develop a vision and mission through MIK (Made in Kosovo)

For Valon Asani– born in Switzerland to Albanian parents – summer was the only time he could get to know and connect with Kosovo. The little time he spent there was enough to convince him to pursue a career in Kosovo. Valon graduated from the Technical Business School Zurich.  During his studies, he started creating his websites and became interested in web development. After graduation, in 2011, he moved to Kosovo and started his initiative of promoting Kosovo in Switzerland by using the outsourcing-model and hiring people from Prishtina through his web and creative agency – based in Kosovo but serving clients in Switzerland. His decision to come back came as a result of growing up with parents who were always nostalgic about living in Kosovo and talked about Kosovo and its culture in daily bases. Valon claims he always felt connected to Kosovo.

https://www.mikgroup.ch/
MIK’s working environment in Prishtina Offices

In the last seven years, Valon has been testing himself in many fields and that has allowed him to get a broader knowledge in different industries such as IT Outsourcing, Call Center services, the production line of pellets in Kosovo, and he even bought a dental clinic with 10 employees in Prishtina. In addition, he has managed small projects like the dating app “Albanian Friends” which won the first place in Get in the Ring in Kosovo. He currently leads mikgroup.– a digital marketing agency with its focus in lead generation and ROI. MIK which stands for Made in Kosovo, and means ‘friend’ in Albanian is more than business. As an outsourcing destination, MIK is an amazing promotional company for Kosovo.

MIK Group is a digital marketing agency with a focus on Performance & ROI. They offer SEO, Google Ads, Social PPC & influencer marketing. They are Google Partner and are certified by Google, Facebook, and different Digital Marketing Institutes. MIK’s headquarters are at the Zurich Airport and their fulfillment team is based in Prishtina. In addition, they have a small team in Berlin for Influencer Marketing. MIK Group today is the digital partner for many national and international customers. They’ve worked for companies such as Philips, Beiersdorf, Hunkemöller, Novartis and BMW. Valon mainly works on creating a strategy and products he makes sure to be the latest marketing trends because that is key to bring ROI to their customers. Moreover, mentoring and developing his team members is a priority for the leader of MIK. “I’m inspired by the idea that one person can benefit the lives of a large number of people if they have the will to do so, ” notes Valon.

Dream Team

When asked how he manages to stay organized Valon says that what he usually tries to do is: “Keep it simple. Develop routines, implement systems. Have a place for everything, and put everything in its place.” Valon is an individual who takes control of his routine and focuses on top revenue-generating priorities rather than spending time with reactive actions such as emails, phone calls, and other interruptions. “I continually set goals which serve that to serve me as a roadmap and without them, you lose focus on where you’re going and you end up running in circles getting nowhere.”

“I continually set goals which serve that to serve me as a roadmap and without them, you lose focus on where you’re going and you end up running in circles getting nowhere.”

Seeing MIK’s clients succeed and managing a business that is growing and provides for the team is amongst the achievements of MIK what makes Valon proud of the work they are doing. A hallmark for their business is the collaboration they have with three multi-billion dollar companies Philips, BMW, and Beiersdorf. Valon highlights also their partnership with Google Partners which made MIK the first and only agency in Kosovo to achieve that. An additional milestone for MIK is the development of a team and company certified by Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, the Digital Marketing Institute and other well-known organizations.

However, doing business in Kosovo comes with many challenges. Lack of professionalism in public institutions, customs procedures, low purchasing power obtaining loans, high-interest rates, and a shortage of higher qualified staff are problems Valon faces every day. Coming from Switzerland, Kosovo was obviously a difficult environment to navigate. Overtime, Valon has learned how to be more solution-oriented in order to avoid mental breakdowns every time he lacks the Swiss infrastructure he’s used to having. Valon tells us about some of the obstacles he keeps encounters and fights, sometimes even within his own team. “I have mixed feelings and thoughts when it comes to the business environment in Kosovo. On one side we have some small business hubs making positive impacts and we have a lot of skilled young people most of who are bilingual. On the other side, unfortunately, we have no quality, no love for details and for doing the right things the right way.”

“I have mixed feelings and thoughts when it comes to the business environment in Kosovo. On one side we have some small business hubs making positive impacts and we have a lot of skilled young people most of who are bilingual. On the other side, unfortunately, we have no quality, no love for details and for doing the right things the right way.”

As a well-established entrepreneur, Valon is a fond believer that businesses in the diaspora and the ones in Kosovo should cooperate more, exchange knowledge, skills, and ideas in order to improve the image of Kosovo. For Valon, every Kosovar living abroad is an ambassador who can promote Kosovo as an outsourcing destination for IT-services, digital marketing, engineering, architecture, customer center services, and many other services.

“I think the best way to help the people in Kosovo is to help the economy. And to do that for me it is to talk about Kosovo whenever I get the chance to do so. With our customers, partners, family, and friends. This way I was able to motivate also other entrepreneurs to come to Kosovo and create businesses and jobs opportunities. Promoting Kosovo as an outsourcing destination is one of my missions and my way of making a long-term impact.”


Sokol Malushaga - Albanian Architectural Talent in New York

Sokol Malushaga – Albanian Architectural Talent in New York

Text & Photography by Ilir Rizaj 

The new wave of talented architects of Albanian origin, living and working in Western countries, is expanding each day. This is not a surprising trend, if we consider that the most influential architects in the Ottoman Empire were of Albanian ancestry, with Mimar Sinan at the helm. More latter-day examples in the 1800s Europe are Karl von Ghega, the most prominent of Austrian railway engineers and architects, and Luigi Giura, an Italian engineer and architect who built the first suspension bridge in continental Europe.

Architect Sokol Malushaga lives and works in New York, and in partnership with Eduard Malushi, owns Ari Group, an architectural-construction company specializing in ultra-luxurious projects in Manhattan.

Sokol Malushaga - Albanian Architectural Talent in New York

Sokol has studied architecture at Cooper Union, one of the most respected schools in the world. His Thesis project (1997) was selected to take part in Archive and Artifact – The Virtual and The Physical, an exhibition that celebrates the school’s pedagogy, by presenting projects completed at the school over the past 50 years.

Curated from vast materials in the school’s archive, the exhibition includes 35 chosen Thesis that includes physical hand drawings, born-digital drawings, and models. Sokol’s work conceives its inspiration from the concept of the wall and the brick and is presented among the projects by graduates of the school who have become prominent architects and educators, including Stan Allen, Peggy Dreamer, Elizabeth Diller, Diane Lewis, and Daniel Libeskind, among others.

Sokol Malushaga - Albanian Architectural Talent in New York

According to Sokol, his project is “a study that began as an exploration of boundary/threshold conditions defined by the presence of walls and their continuous rebuilding: the boundary of a room, house, street, and city was always defined by the wall…walls are alive, they have roots…in order for a new wall to be erected, a sacrifice is made”.

Sokol pays homage to his birthplace of Peja (Kosova) – known as a town of many artisans, one of them of brick makers – “the brick and the wall symbolize the dialogue between the old and the new, allowing for structures that are never finished”.

From the mason of the antiquity to the modern day designer, from Mimar to Karl to Sokol, the talent of the Albanian architect continues to enrich the world heritage.

The Future’s Syzana Kajtazaj says DSK can “create dreamers” in Malisheva and beyond

The Diaspora School in Kosovo, or DSK, hosted its first edition in October of last year. The program brought young adults from all over together to collaborate and create initiatives to better Kosovo.

Syzana Kajtazaj, a Computer Science and Engineering major at the University for Business and Technology in Kosovo, was one of those young adults. Together with her team, she created “The Future.”

“The Future” set out to better Kosovo’s future by working directly with the youth. The initiative took form as a club at Lasgush Poradeci high school in Kjevë, a village in the municipality of Malisheva. Through various activities, “The Future” connected with the students and helped them with health education, self-confidence, schoolwork, and more.

We interviewed Kajtazaj on her experience with the Diaspora School in Kosovo and her initiative.

KD: What was your experience as the leader of The Future initiative? Was it valuable or not?

SK: The Future initiative, for me as a leader, was one of the most beautiful projects I have ever participated. During the project, we successfully achieved to instill hope and motivation in our participants. As a leader, my job was to grow new leaders and not say “I” but “we.” In our project, our staff held the leader’s role. The experience was very valuable and inspiring. We not only worked for the problems of the youth but also to include the youth to solve the community problems and go further together.

KD: What did you gain from the process of the implementation?

SK: From the implementation process we learned more of how to manage time, students, lecture lessons, and other little things that sometimes are very important for a project to work. I gained more thoughtfulness for my surroundings, learned how to manage difficult situations, and I can say that I am now more prepared to lead any other projects. I can find smarter ways to help students, especially how to remember the lectures they will learn.

KD: Do you think your work has had an impact on the target group and community?

SK: We analyzed the results of our surveys and found that 95% of the students answered that they gained benefits that they will need and use in their future journey with education and life in general.

By the end of the program, everyone had become friends with each other and they were free to speak their mind without the fear that someone will judge them or think badly of them. They learned to use their freedom to express themselves by asking questions and sharing their opinions.

KD: Do you think that these kinds of initiatives should continue in the future?

SK: We strongly support the idea that these kinds of projects should continue for our youth. These projects will help our youth to become more open-minded, open doors that they did not know of before, expand their horizons and create big dreamers out there. No one achieved something big by dreaming small.

As the saying goes “Dream big but start small.” The students will start small by participating in projects like this and work hard towards their goals.

The Future team working together at the Diaspora School in Kosovo. Photo provided by DSK.

Arta Ramadani: Journalist and Author reflects on past, present and future

Arta Ramadani is an award-winning German TV journalist and author of Kosovar descent. Ramadani spent her childhood in Prishtina and later grew up in Germany. She has now found herself in Mainz, currently working at Europe’s largest TV station ZDF. It doesn’t stop there. Ramadani is also the author of the young adult book, “The journey to the first kiss: a Kosovar in Kreuzberg.”

The following is an exclusive interview with Ms. Ramadani for KosovoDiaspora:

KD: Tell us a bit about your background and the work you do.

AR: I grew up in Mannheim, a city with a large immigrant population. This means that you live with Italians, Portuguese, Turks, Greeks, and Germans. My childhood friends are from countries all over the world. I’ve always loved that. This way I learned to respect other religions and cultures from a young age. My family is open minded and loving.

Education was always important to my parents. Being independent. Getting ahead. Having dreams and fighting for them in an honest way. This is what my parents taught me at home. I’m very grateful for this, as it can’t be taken for granted. I love my parents, my brother, and sister. I owe them so much.

I always wanted to tell stories. When I was a teenager, I acted in a lot of plays because I was thinking of becoming an actress. But when I was 17 I became interested in radio journalism. I had my own radio shows for two years. In that way, I have improved my pocket money. When I was a student, I became more and more interested in serious journalism. I wanted to tell true stories about the people we live with. I did a lot of internships in television and independent production companies to gain experience. I moved often and lived in different cities. With all this and my academic degree under my belt, I applied to the ZDF, where I am still working today.

I’ve worked at ZDF for 9 years now. I mainly am a reporter for our morning-show “Volle Kanne.” I love our TV-Show. We are a creative band, very close to the spectators. We report on everything, our show is very popular in Germany. I love my job. It is exciting every day.  

I get to meet many interesting and important people when I film my pieces, from whom I learn a lot. The topics vary quite a bit. Sometimes it will be on discrimination, sometimes mental illness or sometimes I’ll meet girls from traditional patriarchal societies, controlled and oppressed by their parents. Unfortunately, the topics can be tough to deal with. Some topics affect me deeply — make me sad, but objective and honest coverage is always my job. That’s what they pay me to do.

Photo provided by Arta Ramadani.

KD: What has been your favorite experience as a journalist?

AR: I interview many interesting and important people. But I have to say, my meeting with Dua Lipa was a very special one for me. I immediately took her into my heart.

She had a concert in Frankfort in 2016, at the very beginning of her career. I had heard her song “Be The One” on the radio and was absolutely taken by her voice. So I arranged to meet her for our morning show.

I knew nothing about her until I started researching. I found that she has Albanian parents and that she lived in Prishtina for a few years. I was so surprised and happy, that I greeted her in Albanian during the interview. She was my first interview partner in Germany to have Albanian parents. For me, that was something special because I rarely meet people with Albanian background in my job.

Now, Dua Lipa is a star. When I hear her songs on the radio today, I smile every time because I know how cute, smart, funny, charming and warm Dua is. I wish her the absolute best.  

KD: What projects are you working on now?

AR: At the moment I am preparing the shooting on the topic: “Double Life.” It’s about a girl from Kosovo who was born and raised in Germany. She is 22 years old and must lie to her parents to live the life as she wants. For example, she cannot have a German boyfriend or sex before marriage, nor can she move out without being married. So many girls in Germany have a life exactly like hers. Girls from Iran, Iraq, Greece, and Russia have parents that come from traditional patriarchal societies.

It is very sad that there are still many girls from Kosovo who are not allowed to lead a self-determined life. Only clarification helps. We need to talk about it. Taboos need to be broken not only in Kosovo but also in the diaspora communities around the world.  

KD: You made the leap into a new media genre! In March 2018 you released your first young adult novel. The book is called “The journey to the first kiss. A Kosovar in Kreuzberg.” What is this book about? How did you come to the decision to process this story as a novel and not as a television report or documentary?

Credit: Drava Verlag

AR: I have already made reports about Kosovo. I kept an eye on it from a journalistic perspective and as a Kosovar, I am interested in the social and political developments there. But as much as I love my work in television, I wanted to create something very special with the novel. Writing, inventing stories… that’s something that is easy for me. I don’t need much for that… there is only me, my PC, my thoughts and a cup of tea. No cameras, no long train rides, no hotel rooms, no time pressure. There are no borders. I can give free rein to my imagination. I think that’s great because I have a lot of ideas in my head.

So I started writing about Era, a girl who lives in Prishtina in the 90s who really wants to go to a Madonna concert. The 90s were a difficult time for the Albanians in Kosovo. They were discriminated against and oppressed everywhere. They lost their jobs and were even persecuted and killed. Era’s parents are political activists who campaign for the freedom of the Albanians. They love their daughter very much, so they protect her by only telling her half-truths.

Era is awake, so to speak. She suspects a lot but does not really know what’s going on. So she flees her world with Madonna’s songs. Madonna’s music saves her. One day the family has to flee to Berlin. There, a Madonna concert is not so far away…

My book is a declaration of love to my parents, but also to Madonna and Germany.  This is a book for all Albanian parents who raised their daughters freely and lovingly.  

KD: Do you process your own story in the novel?

AR: “The journey to the first kiss” is a novel – a fictitious story. But of course, it also has a lot of my own experiences. I spent my childhood in Prishtina too. My father was also in political detention for campaigning for democracy and human rights in Kosovo. In my youth Madonna, Michael Jackson, Take That, New Kids on the Block and the Spice Girls played a big role. Music shaped my life as a teen very much. So, my protagonist Era and I already have some basic data in common. Nonetheless, the book is not an autobiography.  

KD: Germany is considered a rich country in Kosovo. Your protagonist is learning in Kosovo that there were also wars in Germany and that people were persecuted there as well. Why did you make life so difficult for Era?

AR: Eras’s family, who are Sunni Muslim, saved Jews during the Second World War. This is historically proven, which many in Germany don’t know. Many Albanians in Kosovo, but also in Albania –Christians and Muslims– have saved Jews. This has nothing to do with Islam, but with the code of honor of Albanians. 

Era learns about it from her grandmother. So Era develops an idea of Germany as a country that does not welcome all people. She flees Kosovo with many prejudices in her mind about Berlin. Her mother had to laboriously convince her to flee in the first place.

I did not want to make Era’s life difficult but I wanted to show her that people in Kosovo are not the only ones that have experienced suffering, misfortune, and death. Many others have experienced much worse things. What happens in Kosovo is not an isolated case and Era learns that relatively early.

KD: What would advise would you like to give young women, especially those from Kosovo?

AR:  I can only advise every young woman to have a solid education and to be financially independent. Financial independence, for me, is the key to a self-determined and free life. So girls, stay faithful, earn your own money, believe in yourself, never let yourself down, don’t spend time with idiots, go through life curiously and openly and meet all people on equal terms. This is something that really matters in a woman’s life.

From Prishtina to London: Visar Statovci’s First Office Was In A Hallway

Creativity works in mysterious ways. It can be found in the most conventional of places, but also in the most unusual of places. Visar Statovci, born and raised in Prishtina, was merely 13 years old when he first became interested in the field of design. It’s news to none that, because of the war, the 90s in Kosovo were not particularly friendly towards the creative world. Visar built a dream that was far bigger than his reality permitted, but one that paid off in the end.

A co-founder of Waster Creative, Visar Statovci is our persona of the day, and his story is one filled with dreams, risks, and success.

Growing up in Prishtina, Visar was first introduced to design through his older brother Arber. Only a year after he moved to London in 1998, Visar landed his first job as a junior designer for Perception DM, a local design company. He attributes his initial success to friends who guided him. Through the new experience, he expanded his skills by working in the digital field, which he hadn’t done before. For a short while, Visar worked as a freelance designer leading different projects and further exploring the field of design. It was during this time that he took his talents back to Kosova and worked as a designer and consultant for Ipko.net for over a year. 

He later returned to London and attended Chelsea College of Art and Design while simultaneously working for New Media Maze, a digital creative agency specializing in the entertainment sector. From there, Visar and two friends joined forces to build their own company, which they named Waste Creative.

This company is an offspring of hard work and dedication from three young men with big dreams. The company’s first office was the hallway of their flat in Camden Town, but that did not pose a problem. They had made a good impression on New Media Maze which led the company to begin deferring to the powerful trio for help with different projects. Waste Creative became their overflow agency.  Soon after this, more and more brands started approaching Waste, attracted by the quality of the work they were doing, and the speed with which they took it to market.

The next challenge for Visar and his team was to work on something they had not explored before—the gaming industry. One of their first projects included collaborating with the gaming industry giant, Sega, who continue to be one of their clients 12 years later. Waste Creative was able to transition from a small makeshift office in the hallways of a converted church to a large office in Clerkenwell, the design and creative hub of London, attracting many world-renowned companies such as Supercell, Sega, British Gas, Camelot, Warner Brothers etc.

So, what drives their success? Visar claims that learning and growing together as a team is the key to moving and growing. He is a firm believer in his team who are not only capable but also positive and dedicated. His team is also his greatest joy and proudest accomplishment. It’s these long-lasting relationships with their clients and the team bonding that have given Visar and Waste Creative the strength and skill to compete with the giants of the industry and have made them a household name.

While Visar continues pursuing his business dreams, Kosova, as he knew it almost two decades ago, has changed a lot. The positive energy and the talent of the youth of Kosova give Visar hope that the country’s future is bright.  In fact, there are a number of talented young Kosovans now working at Waste Creative.

However, he wishes that the local government would do more to put that energy to good use and establish institutional support for foreign investments.

“If we want to help Kosova, we need to do our bit and contribute to the countries and communities we live in… we need to try to become influential in our individual fields and use any opportunity to showcase what we have to offer to the world as people and as a country”, he explains.

Visar believes that the world needs to hear more success stories coming from Kosovo, as it is, according to him, the best way to create a positive image in the world. Moving forward, Visar thinks communities abroad should be more structured and engage in PR strategies that combat negative press about the country. 

Suzanna Shkreli gives a voice to the voiceless with her motivation and success

The daughter of Albanian immigrants from Montenegro, Suzanna Shkreli is the embodiment of the American Dream thanks to her hard work and dedication.  After finishing law school at the age of 24, she became a lawyer in Macomb County, Michigan prosecuting homicide, drug crimes, assaults, and domestic violence. Her determination propelled her in the national limelight when she ran for the U.S. Congress in 2016.

The congressional race for Michigan’s 8th district was important, not only for Suzanna but also the community that she sought to represent in Washington.  When asked about the main points of her campaign, she said:

“I fought for Michigan’s middle class families by focusing on the issues that affected them. I wanted to help grow the economy, by supporting small businesses that would create good-paying jobs, and strengthen our middle class. I spent my childhood helping my family’s diner grow and I know that small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities.

I fought for the full development of our renewable energy sources, and sought to move us closer to full energy independence. By utilizing new technology and reconfiguring our energy sources, we can create new good jobs and serve as an example on combating climate change without sacrificing economic growth.

Another major issue that was foundational to my platform was fighting to build a strong public education system that will provide students with the skills they need to compete in the 21st century global economy. Improving schools and ensuring the best education possible for Michigan families starts with investing in our schools from pre-kindergarten to high school graduation and beyond. Access to quality educational opportunities is key, but affordability issues must also be addressed to ensure every child in Michigan can succeed. As a product of Michigan’s public schools and universities, I believes we must make college and higher education more affordable for everyone who wants to earn a college degree.

I fought for women. In Congress, I wanted to vote to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which protects domestic abuse survivors. I wanted to pass legislation like the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, which further prevents discrimination in the workplace. Most importantly, I believe women are able to make their own health care decisions and am dedicated to fighting back against politicians who want to outlaw a woman’s right to choose.

Suzanna has since returned to her job to give a voice to the defenseless by prosecuting crimes against children in the Child Protection Unit. When asked about her job, she says this with full confidence: It is a difficult job and heavy on my heart, but I find a great sense of fulfilment in being able to advocate for children in the courtroom. I am in a position to defend the defenseless, to give a voice to those who might not otherwise have it, and to give those children a piece of mind that their perpetrator won’t be able to hurt them again. That work has been the honor of my life.”

Suzanna is thankful for her parents who worked hard to ensure that their children could pursue in a high-quality education that would open doors to a bright future. As an Albanian-American, she is conscious and proud of her heritage.  Her background shaped her political identity from an early age. As a child, she watched President Clinton’s statement and commitment to end the ethnic cleansing and humanitarian crisis in Kosovo. This solidified in her the values and principles of what it means to be American – that a democratic, free and independent nation would stand to protect those in need.  

During her congressional campaign, Suzanna was endorsed by President Obama, who understood and appreciated the history of friendship between Albanians and Americans. She also introduced President Clinton at a rally in Michigan during Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.  

Many young Albanians, especially girls, reached out to Suzanna to tell her the positive impact she had made on their lives by emboldening them to fight for what they believe in.  “Losing is hard, but moments like that fill me with pride and remind me of how vital it is to keep going,” she said. “The fight for justice and a better tomorrow is an honorable fight, and an achievable reality no matter where you live, and that we owe it to one another to pursue it together.”

Albanian Diaspora in America

Suzanna believes that the role of the diaspora in America and abroad should be to create organizational support for Albanians across the world to advance in all areas of life such as growing businesses or running for public office.

“The diaspora should be unified as first and foremost, we are all Albanians, regardless whether we are originally Malesia Madhe, Macedonia, Albania, or Kosovo,” she said.

She remembers how the diaspora came together to help during the war in Kosovo and calls for similar mobilizations for other causes. “The diaspora has not coalesced around a cause of that magnitude since, and it is time to do so again. There are many causes for Albanians to fight for, whether it be integration into the EU or access to medical treatment in Albanian lands. These issues need the attention and dedication of the diaspora, and we cannot wait until there is a tragedy to spring into action. There is a new and vibrant generation that is eager for change and opportunity, and with the commitment of the diaspora, a better tomorrow exists for Albanians worldwide.”

She suggests that Albanians should strengthen their own networks by providing opportunities to the younger generation, their communities and abroad. For example, business owners can provide the chance for young Albanians to work at their facilities and have them learn their trade and hone their skills.

It is evident that Suzanna is committed to contributing to making the world a better place. She has the will to fight for what is right and the fire to carry on.

Dr. Kadriu’s Successful Landing at the Forefront of Science

Within the corpus of inspiring articles about successful professionals from Kosovo, the story of Dr. Kadriu is a must. Born and raised in Kosova, Dr. Kadriu attended the University of Prishtina where he received his doctoral degree from the Faculty of Medicine in 2004. Witnessing the horrible ravages of war and its psychological impact on people’s minds, he noticed that each individual’s experience of the same trauma was fundamentally different. Intrigued by questions related to the neurobiological substrate of mental illnesses, Dr. Kadriu decided to pursue his career in the United States.

From 2004-2011, Dr. Kadriu worked under the exceptional mentorship of Drs. Erminio Costa and Guidotti at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), where he examined the dysfunction of cellular brain changes in psychosis and mood disorders.  His time as a Postdoctoral and Research Scientist at UIC was highly productive and results in Dr. Kadriu publishing several works in high impact peer review journals. He then moved to New York City, where he worked for two years at the Kennedy Center in the Department Of Neuroscience at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.  

In 2013, Dr. Kadriu started his residency in neuropsychiatry, completing his first three years of his training at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine while working with some of the most challenging patients and gaining a strong, comprehensive foundation in clinical training.  During his residency, Dr. Kadriu won several awards, including Resident of the Year Award, Resident Teacher of the Year Award as well as the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Outstanding Resident Award Program. The last ultimately landed him in his current position as the Clinical Fellow at the National Institute of Health,  the world’s most specialized research center for medicine.

At the  NIMH, Dr. Kadriu and his colleagues are gathering pilot data to identify putative biomarkers for depression and suicidality. He believes that this work is at the forefront of global public health research. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 16 million Americans suffer at least one major depressive episode annually and about 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In fact, depression is the leading cause of disability and suicide in the US and worldwide. His ultimate career goal is to identify the most efficacious acute interventions for depressed patients. In close collaboration with Dr. Carlos Zarate (a world-leading expert) and his colleagues at the NIMH, he is actively working to develop new drugs that have rapid antidepressant actions such as ketamine. The final goal of the research is to identify the exact mechanism by which ketamine and its metabolites relieve depressive symptoms, thereby helping to develop the next generation of fast-acting (within hours) antidepressant medications.

Dr. Kadriu’s passion for science is palpable and steadfast. He wishes to pursue a career in academic psychiatry, combining basic and clinical research with practical work and teaching. In recognition of his accomplishments, this year alone Dr. Kadriu received several important awards, including a 2017 Career Development Institute for Psychiatry Award, a 2017 ASCP New Investigator Award and an APA research colloquium award. 

Dr. Kadriu has also already achieved two awards this year, the SOBP 2018 Domestic Travel Fellowship Award and the ADAA 2018 Alies Muskin Career Leadership Program (CDLP).  He will be speaking at the International College of Neuropsychopharmacology (CINP) in Vienna on the 19th of June. Busy, to say the least, Dr. Kadriu is currently a licensed physician in the State of Maryland, where he lives with his family.