We had an exciting opportunity for STEM alumni, on Wednesday, November 8th. The ECA Office of Alumni Affairs hosted next episode of Washington Circle featuring a live web chat with Margot Lee Shetterly, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Hidden Figures and founder of the Human-Computer Project. The web chat was held at KUSA’s conference room, from 7 p.m.
As a sixth-time partner of Global Entrepreneurship Week, this year KUSA is organizing activities along with 35 other local partners, with ICK as the main organizer. During GEW Kosova, different activities will take place in various locations.
In 2017 we organized “Startups 101” which aimed to give young entrepreneurs and new startup owners the basic necessary skills that are needed to set their startup on the right path towards efficient growth in their market. During this activity, the entrepreneurs went through a “crash course” of sorts in each topic, thus getting a clearer idea of how the startup ecosystem and ‘industry’ works, and how to be prepared to take their startup to the next level.
This activity lasted for 2 days (each lasting approximately 5 hours for two topic lectures) and included 4 main topics we have identified as necessary for startups to center around:
Financial concerns as a business function
Business and Entrepreneurial Law
Marketing and Digital Marketing for Startups
The importance and challenges of modern human resource management
The conference “Education for the Future” aimed to address the missing link of cooperation between Kosovo’s Higher Education Institutions (HEI) and the economy. The main focus of the conference was on reducing the mismatch between knowledge, skills and the competence that the HEIs are providing to the graduates and the needs of the labor market.
The Conference gathered around 181 participants for two days representing: media, higher education institutions, the business community, academia, and government. On the first day of the Conference, welcome speeches were delivered by:
- Greg Delawie, U.S. Ambassador in Kosovo
- Shyqyri Bytyqi, Minister of Education, Science, and Technology
- Visar Ramajli, Business Representative
In order to Introduce Kosovo HEIs with examples from the United States of cooperation between universities, industry, and government (U.S keynote speaker) Dr. Jason Lane, The State University of New York at Albany, delivered a presentation. His presentation was about “Universities and Colleges as Economic Drivers: Learning from the Triple Helix of Higher Education, Government, and Industry”. Dr. Jason Lane was met by the Open World Alumni during the study visit hosted by MERCY College and was identified as a potential speaker.
In addition to the plenary session, there were parallel sessions (4 per day) organized on the following topics:
- Curriculum Design and Labor Market needs
- New skills for new jobs
- Intellectual Property Rights in the Academic Setting
- Fostering University – Business cooperation
- The transition of the graduates from university to the labor market
- Student-centered Learning, Teaching, and Assessment
- Integration of new technologies in the teaching and learning processes
- Continuous improvement of the study programs based on the needs of the economy
Dr. Sheila Offman Gersh, Mercy College, had an interesting presentation on “Aligning the Mercy College Curriculum with the Job Market: Locally, Globally and Glocally”. Dr. Offman Gersh participated in the Conference, financed my Mercy College as a follow-up communication with the Open World Alumni in this regard to further strengthen cooperation with Kosovar HEIs. In this regard, Mercy College and the University of Prishtina signed a Memorandum of Cooperation on April 27, 2018.
In order to further get a different point of views on the targeted topic of the Conference, there was a panel organized on “Strengthening cooperation among Kosovo higher education institutions, government and private” with the following representatives:
- Safet Gerxhaliu, President of Kosovo Chamber of Commerce
- Arian Zeka, President of the American Chamber of Commerce did not participate
- Burim Gashi, Acting Director of the Higher Education Department at MEST
- Egzon Osmani, President of Kosovo Student Union
The final report consisted of recommendations from the plenary sessions can be found in the link below.
The second phase of the project “Removing Ceiling for Equal Opportunities” provided professional development training for a selected group of professional women with different backgrounds. The training modules were within a framework of the certification program, which equipped participants with necessary skills to exercise a decision-making position, and it changed attitude and practice by reducing gender stereotyping in the workplace. It was designed to remove some of the impediments related to barriers that women face.
The majority of participants in the training sessions were KUSA Alumnae who had the opportunity to gain knowledge on how to achieve and hold decision-making positions. This project increased awareness about the glass ceiling that professional and competent women in Kosovo face when they are eligible to hold decision making positions within private and public institutions.
The certification program is designed to cover key areas of corporate governance and decision making and is organized in two stages. The first stage was implemented in 2017, consisted of the following modules:
- “Ethics, Integrity and Transparency” presented by Afrim Atashi, who elaborated how companies’ ethical and moral behavior can change a companies’ course, and how to look forward to a fully transparent company future;
- “Strategic Planning – Developing and Implementing Organizational Strategy” presented by Merita Gjyshinca Peja who talked about how an organization defines its strategy and how it allocated its resources to peruse this strategy;
- “Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)” presented by Arjeta Spahiu who talked about the ethical principle that an organization should be responsible for how its behavior might affect society and the environment. We were also honored to welcome Robert Wright, CEO of Raiffeisen Bank Kosovo, as a keynote speaker during this module.
- “Financial Management” presented by Hajdar Hoxha.
The project “Labor Law” has achieved to enforce labor law, reduce the level of law violation, and improve employee-employer relationships. This was achieved by conducting the research and compiling the report based on research findings. The report consists only data communication and not further or in-depth analyses. The results of this report will further serve as a baseline for further analyses i.e. focus groups and market analyses. Hence, the questioner was conducted to serve as a baseline of analyses on key elements derived from the Labour Law i.e. contract, working hours, gender equality, probation period, work insurance annual/weekly leaves and support for further development. The report contains recommendations to these companies on how they can change their structure, which helps in the restructuring of their company as well as improve their working conditions.
Through this project, we are aiming to improve the working conditions in Kosovo, reduce the level of violation on the law, protect employees from discrimination pertaining to gender stereotypes, nationality and religion in public and private institutions who agreed to collaborate with us about working rights.
The project “Lead by example” aims to fight and reduce corruption in public institutions by tackling this issue from a different point of view. The “lead by example” online platform presents efforts and excellent behaviors of public officials in fulfilling their working mandate within public institutions as a recognition and public support for outstanding courage and public service. Through this project, KUSA actively promotes how these individuals have shown determination and high integrity in terms of public interest as well as how their actions have contributed to improving citizen’s lives. This project has made a great impact on the attitude of all participants, which includes public officials who shared their success stories, as well as the audience who reads and follows the website.
Due to the fact that Kosovo has a high rate of corruption, our organization is encouraged to take action through creative initiatives and campaigns with the aim of fighting corruption instead of taking offensive actions. Therefore, we strongly believe that by introducing real examples of public officials and how they have impacted our lives by fighting corruption will affect the credibility of institutions, raise awareness among citizens, and increase public accountability towards Kosovo’s citizens.
Here you can visit the webpage: http://leadbyexample-ks.org/
On 10th of December, during “Anti-corruption week”, we launched this platform as an open space for officials to share their positive examples of fighting corruption. Rozafa Ukimeraj, Project Coordinator and Head of Rule of Law Committee, presented the platform and its purpose, followed with a speech by Erin M. Mains, U.S. Embassy Kosovo Representative, and Frasher Murtezaj, Head of the Division for Prevention of Conflict of Interest at the Anti-Corruption Agency.
The project “Green Home” has introduced a new construction concept and served as a leading example of the adoption of this concept in Kosovo. This was achieved by developing house-building plans that are environmentally friendly. The main purpose of these house-building plans is to increase the efficiency with which buildings and their sites use energy, water, and materials, which reduce their impacts on human health and surrounding environment during the entire lifecycle of a building.
These plans are classified into two categories on the basis of square meters which are adapted based on the current parcels. Plans are freely accessible for all Prishtina citizens, who are interested to build environmental buildings.
Furthermore, plans have been developed by interns who were four students from Architecture, Construction Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Hydro-technical Engineering under the supervision of Krenare Shkodra, KUSA Member.
Through this project, we aimed to raise awareness among citizens regarding the fact that usage of sustainable and renewable materials, energy-efficient building techniques, water conservation, indoor environmental air quality, and self-generation of energy will contribute to a non-harmful environment and reduce construction.