KUSA Activities

Over the years, with the continuous volunteer work of our members, we have been in charge of implementing projects and organizing activities throughout Kosovo. Our projects include activities in the field of economic development, rule of law, regional security and anti-corruption, sustainable development and other social issues. All of these projects have the same purpose which is to bring change to the community by giving our alumni the chance to give back by sharing their experience gained in the U.S.

1 for All - All for 1
https://youtu.be/DLsrRqcr-mI

On days like these, it is very important for each of us to contribute to the betterment of our health and our community. KUSA in collaboration with other partner organizations has produced the video “1 for All - All for 1”.
The main purpose of this initiative is to urge people to stay at home and curb the spread of the virus while enjoying the benefits of this situation for our self-improvement.

We want to thank the participants of the video for helping us spread this message, our partner organizations for participating in this campaign, and a special thanks to the team GjirafaVideo for putting this video together.

American Arts Incubator - Kosovo

The National Museum of Kosova, in collaboration with ZERO1, U.S. Embassy Pristina, Kosovo, and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, is pleased to announce the open call for participants in American Arts Incubator - Kosovo.

AAI — Kosovo consists of a series of art and technology workshops taught by visiting American artist Lori Hepner focused on addressing youth empowerment, the development of collaborative team project prototypes, and an open house to share participant creations with the public. Participation in the incubator is free of charge. Participant teams will receive small grant funding to develop their collaborative project prototypes. The program will be held at the National Museum of Kosovo from March 6 - 29, 2020.

More information about the project and application, you can find on the link:
https://kosovomuseum.wixsite.com/aaikosovo?fbclid=IwAR3383rgowh3QDpRnRfs1Zk3RQ2pxivb_1fQqnT_KNO86aqXMOaV8Zp3jGU

ALUMNI TALKS

Each year, KUSA aims to create an engaging environment for our Alumni and encourage them to contribute towards civil society involvement and development with regards to Kosovo’s reform efforts in economic, social and cultural spheres. One activity that fosters this principle is Alumni Talks. 

Alumni Talks is an annual activity, held four times during the year. It is designed with the idea of providing our Alumni members a platform to voice their thoughts, opinions or concerns with the U.S. Embassy. Based on the topic, participants will meet with representatives of different sectors of the Embassy. For instance, if the topic is Education, participants will discuss with policymakers from that sector.

In 2020, KUSA talks will be organized during the months of March, June, September, and December. Each month will have a different thematic. The topics for this year are organized as follows:

Education

Depolitization and Institutionalization

Environment and Energy

Kosovo Security Sector

If you have something to say in relation to the topics mentioned above, you are welcome to join our Alumni Talks sessions. This is a great opportunity for Alumni to network with different sectors of the Embassy, as well as meet Mr. Philip S. Kosnett, the US Ambassador to Kosovo. 

HOW TO APPLY?

To become a participant of Alumni Talks, you have to fill out an application form where you state your:

Contact information

The study program

Field of interest

Short description of the issues you want to discuss related to the topic.

We host up to 10 Alumni for each session. All alumni are eligible to apply regardless of your program. Alumni will be chosen based on the quality of their idea they will present on the application form.

Education Program – ARTEEN Club

Through this grant, the National Gallery of Kosovo tried to engage the young people in productive and artistic activities. Being part of this club gave them the chance to perform a number of activities that often are not included in the school curricula in our schools. The participants were exposed to many forms of creative arts such as photography, art installations, video art, lectures, zine, and visits to art exhibitions. All of these activities gave the young artists the chance to express themselves and to get more information about the visual arts that are applied today.

At the end of the project, an exhibition with all the artwork from the young people was held. There everyone showed the enthusiasm that has followed the project on every step and the happiest were the ARTEEN Club members, whose artistic creations left everyone in awe.

Know Your Rights!

Since the approval of the “Law on the environmentally endangered zone of Obiliq and its surroundings”, it has been little discussed about the process of the implementation of the law.

In order for the inhabitants of Obiliq to know the rights this law brings to them, this small grant launched an informatory webpage called ligjiperobiliqin.info and organized round table panel discussion.

Through the establishment of the open-data webpage, the local communities and CSO can get informed in detail about all the aspects of the policies under this law and are provided with visual and simplified information on the 12 Articles deriving from the Law of Obiliq. This platform now can be used as a window where you can read or share your opinions, complain or ask any question related to the Law of Obiliq.

A round table panel discussion was also organized, where were present local decision-makers and representatives of institutions responsible for the implementation to talk about the challenges of the implementation of the articles that come out of this law.

Prishtina School Clubs

The Directorate of Education in the Municipality of Prishtina has come to a decision for Primary Schools to spend 30% of their curriculum to extracurricular school activities. Therefore, with KUSA’s experience in Primary School Clubs from the project “Alumni Engagement through Extracurricular School Activities,” the Directorate and KUSA have reached an agreement to collaborate for the implementation of this project.

With this in mind, KUSA will organize a fair where the club’s organizational structure will have the chance to meet KUSA Alumni and different companies operating in Kosovo. The organizational structure is made up of 20-25 students, i.e. the club coordinator who is a full time professor at the school, the president and the vice president who are selected from the students. KUSA alumni will share their experience and expertise, whereas, the companies will share their work as well as the expertise that their company needs and values. Moreover, the clubs that will be established or re-activated are Art, Outdoor Activities, Technology and Debate Club. Therefore, through this fair, the schools will have a chance to develop a curricula for the club which they will follow throughout the school year.

The fair will be organized in the following weeks and KUSA’s help for the schools to develop these clubs will continue throughout the year.

Know your rights!

On Monday, Keep it Green hosted a round-table discussion as part of the monitoring of the implementation of "The Law on the hazardous environmental zone of Obiliq and surrounding areas". 
The round-table consisted of discussions and debates regarding the environmental legislature in Kosovo and the steps to be taken towards proper implementation.

An online platform was also presented during the event. Citizens will be able to use Ligjiperobiliqin.info regarding their law-guaranteed rights in the upcoming info-sessions in the community.

This project was funded by KUSA as part of the Alumni Small Grants Program and aims to reduce law-breaking and encourage transparency by raising information levels of general public and CSOs in Obiliq about their rights guaranteed by the recently approved law.

Inspiring tomorrow’s engineers and scientists: Tackling girls’ academic self-perception at an early age

This project aimed to establish a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Club in one of the schools of Prishtina. By performing creative and fun activities and games, the children had the opportunity to learn and to get inspired by many women role models that were part of the club gathering through their lectures. These lectures by women who are engaged in STEM careers, brought the children closer to the idea of a woman engineer, scientist, computer programmer, astronaut etc.

The activities of the project included visits in different companies related to the STEM field and educational institutions, which gave to the children the chance to see innovative and creative environments and inspired them to approach STEM choices for their future studies and careers.

At the end of the project a science exhibition was organized within school to showcase the as the creative ideas of all the children and to get to share with everyone what they have learnt during this project.

Girls in ICT

The Girls in ICT conference was held on Friday, the 26th of April, on the campus of RIT Kosovo and gathered around 300 girls interested in the field of ICT, influential actors of the field, inspiring speakers, and seventeen companies of the field offering hiring opportunities to the girls.

The speakers told their inspiring stories about their studies and their interesting jobs. In this conference, the girls had the opportunity to network with the speakers, guests, and their peers. Workshops opened afterward and participants followed their chosen workshops. After the participants successfully completed their workshop, they were granted certificates in the respective workshops.

At the end of the day, a job-fair was held where fourteen local companies and businesses met with the young girls and discussed hiring or internship opportunities, and the open positions at their companies.

During the conference, the girls got a chance to listen to talks to change-makers and get inspired first hand to bring technological innovation to Kosovo, participate in the workshops and learn practical new skills, network with other skilled people in their field and open the doors for future collaborations, and meet the representatives of the companies working in Kosovo, giving them a chance to apply for open positions and put their skills to life.

Kosovo Slam Poetry

Kosovo Slam Poetry gathered dedicated poets to exercise and then perform their original poem in front of the audience and a professional jury. The poems most often tackle social issues in Kosovo and through this activity they were offered a chance for their creators to express their worries and dreams about the community.

The project consisted of two workshops where the applicants were able to get trained and ready for the main event of the spoken poetry. The final competition gathered around 100 people who were entertained by the performances of slam poetry.

Extracurricular School Activities
This project aims to establish or re-establish four clubs of extracurricular activities in the municipality of Kacanik, Ferizaj, and Shtërpcë. The project includes two primary schools in each municipality. The activities will be implemented by the clubs and will be assisted by KUSA members. The established/ re-established clubs will be on Arts, Debate, Information Technology, and Outdooring. Activities that will be implemented in Art Club are: Let’s paint together; Colour my school; Sculpture me; Map of Kosovo;  The Debate Club activities will be: Introduction to Debate; Guest Speaker; Watch a Documentary. Information and Technology Club activities will be: Software and Hardware; Basic programming skills; Basic of networking; Robotics; Visit to the company "Formon"; Visit the "Digital School". Also, Outdooring activities will be implemented in cooperation with Kosovo Alpine Club experts: Basic outdoor skills; Excursion to public spaces and parks; Two-day Camping. The project for extracurricular activities will have a significant impact on the schools and students, as well as our alumni. Each of these clubs includes alumni volunteers as participants and mentors to the students. The aim of the project is to provide new opportunities for alumni community service, while also providing youth with constructive and empowering activities outside the classroom. KUSA staff together with the club coordinators and KUSA members will plan a syllabus and the required materials for each school and each club. Activities will be planned so that they would fit the school syllabus, which is why some activities are different from school to school.
University Support Grants
University Support Grants support higher education institutions to better address social and economic development challenges through research, development, and extension services.  Programs include, but are not limited to, applied research, community outreach, and service delivery.  The University Support Program grants are awarded on a competitive basis.
Conference “Education for the Future”
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:
  1. Curriculum Design and Labor Market needs
  2. New skills for new jobs
  3. Intellectual Property Rights in the Academic Setting
  4. Fostering University – Business cooperation
  5. The transition of the graduates from university to the labor market
  6. Student-centered Learning, Teaching, and Assessment
  7. Integration of new technologies in the teaching and learning processes
  8. 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. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4eClbcA7co&feature=share[/embed]
Second Phase of the project "Removing Ceiling for Equal Opportunity"
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.
 
Labor Law
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.
Lead by Example
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.  
Green Home
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.
Where is my money?
The municipality budget is the product of taxpayers, which would be prepared jointly with them. Accountability of municipalities starts here and continues with a series of obligations in relation to the executive (government) where legal obligations, despite their local government autonomy, legally oblige all municipalities to account in relation to their expenditures of public money. The main goal of the project “Where is my money?” was to create responsible and accountable institutions at a local level. This was achieved by conducting a survey for the six biggest municipalities in Kosovo, in terms of how municipalities plan, spend and report their budget. The research was conducted over a period of five (5) months with a focus on the methods that municipalities apply while involving taxpayers in the budgeting process. Further, the report identifies weak and strong segments of each municipality and it concludes with specific and concrete recommendations on how to improve their performance and transparency based. The main source used for this report is The Kosovo Progress Report. The report also addresses the legal obligations municipalities have in terms of communication with citizens about their public fund expenditures. Additionally, the report describes the current situation, municipal initiatives to strengthen budget transparency, and defines the role that responsible institutions have in monitoring budget expenditure transparency procedures. Reached objectives of this project are:
  • To create responsible and accountable institutions.
  • Identify the weak and strong segments of each municipality and come up with specific and concrete recommendations on how to improve their performance and transparency.
  • Raise awareness on how citizens should be involved in the decision-making processes.
  • Rise of the public debate on budget transparency.
  • Awareness of citizens for their rights on budget spending.
  • Awareness of Government for the transparency responsibility.
Mentorship Program
The  Mentoring  Program intended to assist young women to learn from their mentors through an ongoing skill-building and problem-solving process, with a  capacity-building approach. The scope of the program was to provide career development guidance and coaching to senior female students on how to get involved in institutional life after graduation.  This project was implemented by female KUSA members in collaboration with the University of Gjilan “Kadri Zeka”, public institutions of the Republic of Kosovo and various NGOs. Reached objectives of this project are:
  • Encouraged  an experience-exchange  discussion among mentors  and mentees, who have faced  difficulties as women during their  professional careers and work experience  and sharing tips on how to balance their  professional career and private life as well  as their commitment to avoid gender discrimination  and other challenges;
  • Promoted  communication  and cooperation  among female students  and women who are in senior  and leadership positions within  the institutions of Republic of Kosovo,  political parties, private companies and NGOs;
  • Mentored  and guided  female students  on their job-hunt  after graduation, on  their approach in the  institutional and public  life, on their job interview  preparation, on their behavior skills  while working as a team member in an  organization and on their “obstacles-training” towards  reaching career success;
Through the process  "Learning by doing"  the 10 mentees were placed in 7 different institutions of the mentors where they had a chance to enhance their professional capacities on management, leadership, work methodology, communication. They also had the chance to learn on the preparation of official documents, representation of institutions, advancement of inter-institutional communication, participation in meetings and conferences etc.
Respect my Language
Kosovo’s legal framework imposes extensive obligations on central and local Institutions to ensure that there is equality of all official languages used in Kosovo. However, the Law on the Use of Languages remains only partially implemented due to insufficient human and official resources, often accompanied by an insufficient understanding of Institutional obligations. Often, the official documents are provided with a poor translation which causes reputational damage and sets a very bad example overall for Institutions. The project “Respect my Language”  focused on raising awareness on Institutional responsibilities in respecting, promoting and protecting the languages in Kosovo in accordance with the  Law on the Use of Languages. The aim of this project was to initiate a debate on a better understanding of multilingualism as an efficient mechanism to integrate non-majority communities in Kosovo. In order to achieve this, KUSA in cooperation with Language Commissioner organized a conference “Multiculturalism: value and/or obligation”, which gathered representatives of central and local institutions. The conference addressed the importance of encouraging multiculturalism within Kosovo, as to position it as a multilingual country. It assessed the current situation and challenges to the implementation of this process to promote Kosovo as an inclusive society. During the conference, the institutions complained that the lack of resources hinders that the respect for the law should not be repeated, and the use of the law for official languages must be prioritized by the leaders of the institutions. During the conference, the institutions complained that the lack of resources hinders that the respect for the law should not be repeated, and the use of the law for official languages must be prioritized by the leaders of the institutions. Reached Project Objectives:
  • Participants discussed and reflected on the overall situation and obligations of local and central government in fully implementing the Law on the Use of Languages.
  • The increase of accountability of local and central institutions towards citizens.    
  • Raising awareness on society and developing a  multi-language environment in Kosovo through a wide spectrum of Institutional actors.
Removing Ceiling for Equal Opportunities
Equal opportunities in decision-making processes for women in Kosovo society continue to remain a challenging path. There is a great need to advance women’s position in this structural level, in order to benefit the overall society.  The persistent issue of lack of equal opportunities is hindering half of the populations’ potential to take an active role in political, economic, social, cultural and other fields of social life. The project “Removing  Ceiling for  Equal Opportunities” was designed to remove some of the impediments related to these barriers. It provided professional development trainings for a selected group of women coming from the different professional background. The training modules were within a framework of 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. The majority of participants in the training sessions of the project were KUSA Alumnae who gained 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 was designed to cover key areas of corporate governance and decision making and was organized in two stages. The first stage was implemented in 2016, consisted of the following modules:  
  • Marketing and Public Relations which was lectured by Debatik Hoxha, Head of Business Development at Gjirafa.
  • Corporate Governance, a part of which was delivered by the guest speaker Edward Nolan - Chief of Party at Empower Credit Support Program and expert in the field of corporate governance.
  • Human Resource Management and People Development was lectured by Linda Shala, Managing Director at Data Project Electronics.
  • Auditing and Internal Control, Risk Management and Corporate Compliance, part of which was delivered by the guest speaker Besnik Osmani - General Auditor of Kosovo.
  • Legal Framework was lectured by Ardi Shita, Member of the Board of Governors (Sec-Gen) at American Chamber of Commerce in Kosovo.
Traffic Safety
In  Kosovo, more than a hundred people are killed in road accidents every year and around fourteen thousand  (14.000) were injured in 2015. A number of these people are handicapped for life. Many of the victims are young citizens, therefore this determines whether they will have permanent injuries or they will pass away. In order to substantially reduce accident and casualty problems in Kosovo, KUSA implemented the project “Traffic Safety”. The overall objective of the project was to raise awareness among drivers, pedestrians and traffic safety police officers regarding the topic. The project addressed the problem of Traffic Safety that citizens face every day aiming to establish sound, safe and sustainable road transport system. In honor of the World Day of Remembrance of Road Traffic Victims, KUSA in cooperation with Kosovo Police, OSCE, and Kolegji “Tempulli”, organized an awareness campaign consisted of different activities taking place each day. As part of this awareness campaign, KUSA has created three video clips of injured persons whose main purpose was to raise awareness and enhance the care of citizens in traffic. Videos were broadcasted in all local TV channels, as well as different social networks. (Please find attached the links in the bottom of this description) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ac9XOVKLrL8 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLym37oN2ys https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CB3a8O2dIdg The project “Traffic Safety” was proceeded with the following activities:
  1. On the first day of the campaign, interviews were conducted in all electronic and written media, where apart from the discussion on the history of this day, weekly activities were launched during this period.
  2. On the second day of the campaign, at Zahir Pajaziti Square, KUSA and other project partners organized a day for blood donation for persons injured in traffic accidents, where around 70 citizens donated their blood.
  3. On the third day, 96 candles were lit in front of the National Theater and recorded video clips were launched to commemorate the 96 victims who passed away in traffic accidents.
  4. On the fourth day, an International Conference was dedicated to the World Day of Remembrance of Road Traffic Victims with local, regional and international representatives, which took place at Sirius Hotel, Prishtina. After the conference, all the participants together with the Kosovo citizens marched at Main Square in Prishtina.
1 for All - All for 1
https://youtu.be/DLsrRqcr-mI

On days like these, it is very important for each of us to contribute to the betterment of our health and our community. KUSA in collaboration with other partner organizations has produced the video “1 for All - All for 1”.
The main purpose of this initiative is to urge people to stay at home and curb the spread of the virus while enjoying the benefits of this situation for our self-improvement.

We want to thank the participants of the video for helping us spread this message, our partner organizations for participating in this campaign, and a special thanks to the team GjirafaVideo for putting this video together.

Attention! We are updating our database.

As KUSA grows with new members annually, so does the scope of our activities. As an organization, our goal is to be able to offer each member the benefits you get from being registered as Alumni in KUSA. 

For this reason, it is very important for us to have updated information on our members. We are currently working on updating our database and your contribution is appreciated. We want to kindly ask you to fill out the KUSA membership form on the link below, to update us with your current information:

The link can be found under the ABOUT section on our webpage, a button MEMBERSHIP FORM.

The application form is fairly easy, and only takes a few minutes of your time. Please keep in mind to use your email instead of your work email when applying.

Don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions!

KUSA Networking Event 2019

On December 20th, 2019, the annual “KUSA Networking Event” took place in Prishitna to gather all KUSA members and partners. Everyone that was once part of the U.S.Government – funded programs and has turned back to Kosovo can be a member of our vast community.

 At the end of every year, KUSA Networking Event serves as a networking and socializing platform for our members and partners to discuss what they have been up to during the year.  

The Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Prishtina, Nick Jacobbe, spoke at the opening of the event. He emphasized the importance U.S. Alumni engagement in their communities.

 “For some of you, this is through volunteering and direct involvement in community activities.  For others, making a difference means working to make the government institutions more transparent, and helping deliver services to citizens more efficiently.  Other alumni are developing new technology, building a better business environment, and improving the education system. Whatever alumni are doing, and wherever they are in the world, they are applying the experience they gained in the United Sates to finding creative solutions for challenges at home.” Said Chargé d’Affaires Jacobbe.

Through different KUSA activities and projects, the Alumni could get involved and apply their U.S. experience in their communities.

For showing great engagement in various KUSA projects, Nora Latifi Jashari was awarded with the KUSA Alumni of the Year Award and Erblin Hoxha with the KUSA Emerging Leader. We are happy to mark yet another successful year for KUSA!

WE'RE HIRING!

Kosovo United States Alumni is seeking for eligible and qualified applicants for the position of “Project Assistant” beginning on November 1st, 2019.

Position: Project Assistant

Opening Date: 11.10.2019

Closing Date: 21.10.2019

Work Hours: Part-time; 20 hours/week

Organization Background

KUSA is a nonprofit association, established in 2007 with the help of the U.S. Embassy in Kosovo and several committed alumni of U.S. government exchange program. KUSA is an association of more than 1400 members that had the opportunity to participate in U.S. government-funded exchanges and education programs. KUSA operates as a democracy that values its members who are making significant contributions by sharing skills and best practices acquired during their U.S. exchange experience with colleagues and communities across Kosovo. KUSA is also responsible for the administration and monitoring of numerous U.S. Government grants.  

Basic Functions

The Project Assistant will provide programmatic, communications, and administrative support to the KUSA team. S/he will be responsible for data collection, analysis, management, and interpretation for grant programs, tracking and collecting project information, and assisting in monitoring performance against budgets and indicators.

The incumbent will draft and prepare necessary project documentation for activities, apply communications expertise (e.g. conducting web-based outreach, creating program profiles, summarizing lessons learned from data/research findings, and utilizing multi-media applications, such as social media, blogs, photography, and video streaming) to assist the team in communicating successes broadly and sharing results to specific audiences.

Qualifications Required

Applicants must address each required qualification listed below:

Working experience in the related fields.

Fluency both in written and spoken English.

Highly motivated with a strong work ethic.

Outstanding organizational skills and ability to prioritize tasks.

Able to thrive in a high-volume, deadline-driven work environment.

Applying

Qualified candidates should send:

A current CV.

Scanned documents of all professional certificated and degree(s).

Contact Information for at least two professional references.

Scanned ID or Passport.

Submit ALL application materials to:

Email Address: kusacenter@gmail.com

The email subject heading must read:

Application for the position: Project Assistant, [Name and Surname]


NOTE: Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted!

"Prishtina School Clubs" Fair

On September 27, 2019, KUSA hosted students from all over Prishtina at the “Prishtina School Clubs” fair, where KUSA alumni, local companies, students and parents discussed what activities are possible at the new afterschool Technology, Debate, Art, and Outdoors clubs. The curriculum and club guideline developed by KUSA members and experts of the field was distributed to the teachers who were thrilled to start implementing it.

Makerspaces such as Bonevet and FARA Workshop were the main attraction of the fair, with young tech enthusiasts eager to learn more about AI, robots, 3D printers, and Computer Numerical Control (CNC).

Sponsored by the U.S. Embassy, the “Prishtina School Clubs” project established extracurricular school clubs in all Prishtina area primary schools, based on KUSA alumni’s own experience on exchange in the U.S., where extracurricular activities and afterschool clubs are woven into the fabric of everyday student life.

Inauguration of MediaLab!

Journalism Department of the University of Prishtina inaugurated MediaLab, which will be a space for journalism students to practice theoretical lessons and have the opportunity to use all the necessary equipment on pursuing their future carriers as professional journalists.

Representatives of the U.S. Embassy in Prishtina, The Dean of University of Prishtina, professors, students and media were all present at the establishment of MediaLab to witness the beginning of a new area for the UP, as students from now on can use this special classroom to further their education.

This project is part of the University Support Grant Program funded by the U.S. Embassy in Pristina and administered by KUSA.

Tour at the National Gallery of Kosovo!

Members of Art Club had a special visit at the National Gallery of Kosovo. They were able to see two exhibitions that are currently being exhibited in the National Gallery. The pupils from different schools of Ferizaj, Kaçanik and Shtërpcë were curious and showed great interest in the Bauhaus Imaginista exhibition as they popped many questions regarding the artwork.

This activity is part of the “Alumni Engagement through Extracurricular School Activities” project.

KUSA thanks the National Gallery of Kosovo for its willingness to contribute on this activity.

Prishtina School Club Fair 2019

The preparations for the Prishtina School Club Fair have begun!

Today KUSA met with the management staff and professors of all Primary Schools in Prishtina, who have shown keen interest in finding out more about “Prishtina School Clubs.” Through this meeting, KUSA representatives shared their experience and strategy with established or re-activated school clubs in four schools in Prishtina, Ferizaj, Shterpce and Kacanik. Moreover, KUSA also had the chance to share its plan for the fair including the clubs, as well as their organizational structure.

All schools agreed to allow KUSA to act as a consultant throughout the establishment or re-activation of the following clubs: Art, Debate, Technology and Outdoor Activities Club.

IBSE Training Serving the Science Teachers - University Support Grant Program

Yesterday, Faculty of Education, University of Prishtina, held an award ceremony for the teachers who attended the “Training of Inquiry Based Science Education Trainers serving the Science Teachers”.

The IBSE training was offered to FE science staff by professors from the Indiana University with the purpose to improve the education system in Kosovo.
This project was part of the University Support Grant Program.

Know your rights!

On Monday, Keep it Green hosted a round-table discussion as part of the monitoring of the implementation of "The Law on the hazardous environmental zone of Obiliq and surrounding areas". 
The round-table consisted of discussions and debates regarding the environmental legislature in Kosovo and the steps to be taken towards proper implementation.

An online platform was also presented during the event. Citizens will be able to use Ligjiperobiliqin.info regarding their law-guaranteed rights in the upcoming info-sessions in the community.

This project was funded by KUSA as part of the Alumni Small Grants Program and aims to reduce law-breaking and encourage transparency by raising information levels of general public and CSOs in Obiliq about their rights guaranteed by the recently approved law.

University Support activities

Developing and implementing common course evaluation instrument for all CES (Center for Energy and Sustainability) and having Professor Jonathan Fink as a speaker, were the activities of the project “Building Institutional Capacity in the New UP Center for Energy and Sustainability” which is part of University Support Grant Program funded by U.S. Embassy in Prishtina.

 Professor Fink, having an impressive carrier as a researcher in various well-known universities in the United States, currently is a leading scientist and practitioner of sustainability and he offered a seminar on “The Science and Practice of Sustainability”.

This activity gathered over 70 participants including management of the UP, members of Center for Energy and Sustainability, professors, students etc.

Debate Club continues its activities

Members of Debate Club from Ferizaj welcomed Ms. Teuta Jaha as a guest speaker in this week's debate club gathering. Ms. Jaha coming from an architecture background, shared her journey of becoming one. Kids were thrilled to listen to her as she advised them about their future careers as an architect.

After an exciting debate with guest speaker, pupils continued with usual activities of the Debate Club. They were introduced to a new topic and taught by their coach Mr. Erblin Hoxha on how to form a constructive argument no matter their personal beliefs.

MoU with Municipality of Prishtina

Today, KUSA representative Ms. Riza has signed a memorandum of understanding with Directorate of Education, Municipality of Prishtina. The purpose of this agreement is to implement the project "Prishtina School Clubs", funded by the U.S. Embassy in Prishtina.

The project "Prishtina School Clubs" aims to establish extracurricular school clubs in all primary schools in Prishtina area. The clubs will revolve around the theme of art, debate, outdoor activities and technology that tend to persuasively spur creativity, critical thinking, discussion proficiency, environmental awareness, technological influences, and so forth. The core objective in influencing the development of education through technology and innovative systematic approaches will intensively be addressed through the inclusion of alumnus and various workshops.

Debate Clubs

Debate Club had a guest speaker on this week’s gathering. Ms Vjosa Spahiu Gola talked to the pupils of Kaçanik about her experience as a journalist. Her interesting job awakened the curiosity of the young students who popped many questions to Ms Spahiu about her everyday job as a radio journalist, her various interviews of well-known personalities and the programs she conducts live on radio.

Students that are part of this club also continued the activities that aim to improve their argument forming abilities and other skills that help them become better debaters. The Debate Club Coordinator Mr Erblin Hoxha lectured them on developing their confidence in presenting positions and arguments.

Extracurricular School Activity with Debate Club

Debate Club gathers students from grades 6 to 9 to learn more about the rules and styles of debating.

Through Debate Club, we aim to enhance the students' critical thinking skills. This is achieved by choosing different topics which are of interest to their age; therefore, encouraging them to challenge each other with questions and opinions.

For this phase of the project, the Debate Club Coordinator is our Alumni, Erblin Hoxha, who has been working with different debate teams for 10 years. Mr. Hoxha has experience in teaching the methods of debating to high school students; thus, he volunteered his time to modify these lectures for middle school students. The lectures include lessons on critical thinking skills, debating skills, researching, different forms of debating etc.

Extracurricular School Activity with Technology Club

Part of the Extracurricular School Activities is the Technology Club, which is developed in cooperation with our alumni coordinators and school coordinators. This club provides students with hands-on learning, which puts into practice what they study in class.

For this club, we select our best and most experienced alumni to lecture the students on the field of Technology. With their help, we have formed a lecture, "Software and Hardware Essentials," which extends their knowledge on the basis of IT. Moreover, our alumni share their experience gained in the U.S., and show students the wide array of professions that Technology provides.

Last week, this lecture was taught to the middle school students in Shterpce, Kaqanik and Ferizaj!

MDAO Phase II - Art Club

Our activity for Art Club in all three municipalities, Shterpce, Kacanik and Ferizaj included around 70 students from 6th grade to 9th grade.

For this activity each school had different set of projects in mind, and KUSA coordinators complied with their requests.

One school in particular, "Nazmi Osmani" in Ferizaj, Elezaj have included five students from the special class in the Art Club. Through this activity, the club marked the World Down Syndrome Day.

The final projects are now part of the schools’ gallery.

This activity came to be as part of "Alumni Engagement through Extracurricular School Activities."

Certification Award Ceremony "Acknowledge my CV"

Various KUSA projects have the purpose and goal of raising awareness, changing public attitudes and behaviors to drive positive social change while encouraging action towards a particular phenomenon or issue within our society. They are predominantly designated to educate our society through generating awareness and positively influencing the public opinion to drive societal transformation and change attitudes towards a particular anomaly. One particular issue KUSA wants to bring to the limelight is the neglected role of women in our society as the critical social support structures. It is crucial to emphasize the significant role of women in our society and reflect upon their influential capabilities and the roots of their meteoric rise through encouraging them to voice their thoughts, ideas and opinions. As a result, Shkendije Himaj, KUSA Member, initiated the project “Removing Ceiling for Equal Opportunities” with the focus on removing some of the impediments related to various barriers regarding gender diversity in Kosovo as well as promoting equal opportunities for women in numerous decision-making processes within the society.

The project was lastly celebrated through a Certification Award Ceremony with regards to the professional development training programs conducted for a selected group of women coming from various professional backgrounds. Therefore, on March 18th, KUSA together with Ms. Shkendije Himaj hosted the certification ceremony “Acknowledge my CV” for the closing of the project as a sign of revering the women who participated and celebrating the completion of a successful project. Attendees had the chance to recognize all the women who participated in such a training program, whose aim was to facilitate a pathway for women in leading positions and/or management roles.

The imperative role of women in our society was also amplified by the United States Ambassador Mr. Philip Kosnett, whose presence honored the entire event. Through a powerful speech, the US Ambassador talked about women empowerment in the workplace as well as the necessary actions and activities Kosovo should undertake to further promote equal opportunities.

Recognizing the importance of this project as a critical advocate for equipping women with leadership skills and training programs that hereinafter motivate women to flourish in the society as equally as men, the Founder and Chair of the Board of Directors Ms. Atifete Jahjage also joined us on our celebration of the achievement of these women. Through a captivating language of speech, Ms. Jahjaga inspired our women to continue thriving and contributing to our society while facing and overcoming any barrier that comes along the way.

Online Registry of all certified trainees, can be found here:

AEIF 2019 is now open!

Applications for Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund 2019 are now open. For more information about AEIF 2019, and application procedures click here: http://bit.ly/AEIF2019.

Global Entrepreneurship Week Kosovo
For six years now Kosovo has been part of Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), where many opportunities were given and many stories were shared for people who were willing to join the labour of Kosovo. In 2018, KUSA together with IPKO Foundation organized Barcamps in Mitrovica, Peja, Gjilan, Gjakova, and Ferizaj. Guest speakers shared personal experiences in entrepreneurship and engaged with participants and made this event very inspirational for many people. This year, GEW was hosted by Innovation Center Kosovo and was organized together with 46 partner organizations and companies. The aim of GEW is to promote entrepreneurship, startup businesses and sustainable development of ecosystems. It is great to see that Kosovo is going on the right path by making many efforts to contribute to the community, and we are happy that KUSA is one of the stakeholders in this direction.
THANKSGIVING Bake Sale Fundraising
This year, on 22 and 23 November New Age School in partnership with KUSA is organizing a Fundraising Activity for Thanksgiving, in order to donate for the Abandoned Babies of SOS Children's Villages Kosova. Students will bring sweets and food and sell them to different schools and institutions to collect money for charity. The price of an item will be only 50 cents. During the last two years, students with the unsparing support of parents, through this activity have collected around 500 € with which they bought clothing, blankets, and other accessories for the Special Entity in Shtime. It is never too much to say that we are giving something too small, but for innocent babies, it means more than that. If you have more questions, please do not hesitate to contact us or New Age School.  
A Decade with KUSA
KUSA was established as an association in 2007, in honor of its 10th anniversary we organized a big networking event. The event gathered more than 300 participants, aimed to help alumnus connect professionally by building constructive relationships between them and bring about social, economic, and political change. The event served as an opportunity for our alumni to meet people with which they share the same community and/or interests.  The event included speeches from keynote speakers, the U.S Ambassador in Kosovo, Greg Delawie, and the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Ramush Haradinaj. In order to mark the 10th anniversary, we distributed significant awards to our alumni who have shown great work and commitment to our society. The winners were selected through online voting, where all alumni had a chance to nominate and vote. Below is the list of our alumni who earned the vote of their fellows: Bedri Drini - Alumni of the Decade Award Rozafa Ukimeraj - Alumni of the Year Award ASG Call for Proposal Qendresa Hoti- Emerging Leadership Award
Call for Project Proposal- ASG
ALUMNI SMALL GRANTS PROGRAM 2018 - CALL FOR PROJECT PROPOSAL We are officially announcing the 2018 Alumni Small Grants Program funded by the U.S. Embassy in Kosovo. Subject to availability of funds, we will award small grants up to €4,000.00 to alumni of U.S. Government-funded exchanges and training programs. With funding support from the Alumni Small Grants Program, the U.S. government seeks to support alumni initiatives. We invite all KUSA members to apply for project grants! Deadline for application is November 16, 2018, 4 p.m. local time. 
*for your reference, please see projects that were implemented in previous years. http://kusalumni.org/projects-events/
Extracurricular School Activities
The first phase of the project for extracurricular activities has had a significant impact on the schools and students, as well as our alumni. Through this project, we have formed or reactivated four school clubs in four schools, with the help of our alumni who have volunteered to become coordinators for some of the clubs. Through this project, we have achieved to change the culture of schools, including both students and professors. This is so since both parties have shown great interest in staying after school hours to participate in these clubs. Moreover, KUSA Members have shown interest in volunteering in club activities by holding lectures for the students or helping in the development of new ideas for future activities. For the second phase of this project, we have reached an agreement with all six selected schools in Kacanik, Ferizaj and Shtërpcë, to either establish or re-establish school clubs. These school clubs will include Art, Outdoor Activities, Technology and Debate Club. Each club will consist of 20 – 25 students of different backgrounds, which will be holding activities at least two times per month. The purpose of these clubs is to enable students to develop their creative side by implementing knowledge on very diverse fields. Through these clubs, we are aiming to highlight the skills of children by developing self-confidence in various aspects and critical thinking skills.
University Support Grants
University Support Grants support higher education institutions to better address social and economic development challenges through research, development, and extension services.  Programs include, but are not limited to, applied research, community outreach, and service delivery.  The University Support Program grants are awarded on a competitive basis.
AEIF 2018 Second Information Session
The second and last session of AEIF 2018 was held at KUSA's conference room, joined by our Alumni, U.S. Embassy representative Enis Rexhepi and Alumna Shkendije Himaj. This was an informative and interactive session for our alumni who have utilized this opportunity to implement an innovative project. In this session, our alumni had a chance to ask questions regarding their innovative ideas, and Mrs. Himaj, whose project was the winner of AEIF 2015, shared her experience with our aspiring alumni.
AEIF 2018 First Information Session
The first session of AEIF 2018 was held at KUSA's conference room, joined by our Alumni, and U.S. Embassy representative, Enis Rexhepi. This was an informative and interactive session for our alumni who want to use this opportunity to apply for an innovative project. Participants in this session had a chance to ask questions with regards to their ideas.
Hidden no more with Margot Lee Shetterly
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.
Global Entrepreneurship Week 2017
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  
Conference “Education for the Future”
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:
  1. Curriculum Design and Labor Market needs
  2. New skills for new jobs
  3. Intellectual Property Rights in the Academic Setting
  4. Fostering University – Business cooperation
  5. The transition of the graduates from university to the labor market
  6. Student-centered Learning, Teaching, and Assessment
  7. Integration of new technologies in the teaching and learning processes
  8. 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. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4eClbcA7co&feature=share[/embed]

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