Fear and Rumors in Kosovo

“If my grandmother knows Kosovo is a country… everyone knows Kosovo is a country”  Flekitza repeats in an attempt to help me understand what is going on in the Serbian community of Kosovo.  In her home city in Kosovo, public school teachers get pay checks from the Serbian government, which are substantially larger the the salary Kosovo pays them.  A confusing situation that you’ll hear me get lost in several times as Flekitza explains how even her university diploma is now considered worthless, as jobs do not recognize what was then officially a Serbian University. The list of obstacles would be enough to make a person quit and run off to a country where things make more sense, but instead she is dedicated to making a life in Prishtina, together with her Albanian partner. A Serbian-Albanian-Kosovar love story that many people, including family, are not willing to accept.  “Who cares what people think.. I certainly don’t”…. in this podcast I spend time getting to know Flekitza’s story, her family, her problems as an ethnic Serbian of struggling Kosovo, and her love of radio.  An extra-ordinary individual living in some mind-boggling circumstances.

The Youth of Kosovo

Victory Pose
Victory! – Photo by SWPrishtina on flickr

Gent Thaçi is a rare bird in Kosovo, even he would admit it.  At 17 years old he devotes most of his energy to making Kosovo a better place, specifically through the cause of Free Software.  He knows not everyone understands and he is interested in engaging people, regardless of age or ethnic background, about what may very well help them in the workplace and at home in the already difficult reality for this struggling nation.

While sitting in a corner of an Albanian tavern Gent and I recorded this discussion, as I asked not only about what life is like for teenagers and young adults in Kosovo but also about relations between ethnic groups.  We manage to touch on the past, present, and foreseeable future when it comes to work, family, and conflict resolution.  Even when  Gent doesn’t know the answer to my various questions, he doesn’t pretend to know, but reminds us of what surely becomes clear- he is open and listening to anyone with a good idea.

After listening, you can also follow Gent on Twitter

Brain Gain and Starting Up in Kosovo

Photo by SWPrishtina

Çelik Nimani is well aware of the difficulties his young country faces.  He is also well aware of the tremendous creativity and potential that can be found here as well as throughout the international Kosovar diaspora.  His goal is to help unleash that potential with a resounding call for everyone to get involved, take initiative, and be the change the nation needs to see.  He’s not just a business man, he’s an ideas guy who enjoys being inspired just as much as he himself inspires.

In this podcast we get into how to reach people in Kosovo, to motivate them, to wake up those who are in a depression or feeling powerless. We discuss resources and what this nation has to offer the world.  You would think being able to choose your country on a form would be a given, but thats not the case in Kosovo – we discuss this issue.  From education to entrepreneurs, this program takes the series on Kosovo to the next level, to where the mainstream media rarely invests the time and energy, and where you can hear the details of this immense challenge from the people who are living them everyday.

çelik Nimani on twitter

His LinkedIn profile

Tackling the Big Issues in Kosovo

Unrecognized by many countries, unable to secure their borders, a struggling economy in a world already in crisis- the laundry list of problems that Kosovo faces can easily be called daunting.  But in the face of so much adversity there are some exciting things happening and one source of excitement in Prishtina is the new media project called Kosovo 2.0.

I visited  some of the talented people at K2.0 a few weeks ago during a brief visit this month.  As a first time visitor, I had many questions about almost everything, from politics, to history, from education to entertainment.  It may be a small place but it left a big impression on me.

In this podcast I sit down with the editor-in-chief of Kosovo 2.0, Besa Luci, a clear thinking journalistic mind who gave me the impression that no question was out bounds.  I was also joined by deputy editor, journalist,  and global wanderer Nate Tabak.  Together as my two guests, they tackled all my sometimes elementary questions that many people around the world are also wondering – What is it like to be alternative press in such a troubled land, what is happening in Kosovo today and how does this special media outlet help make a better future?

After listening please to go and read and experience Kosovo 2.0.

bm182 From Belgrade, Focusing on Kosovo

Photo by Vlidi
Photo by Vlidi

The region of Kosovo seems to have fallen out of the international media conversation. It has lost the sexiness it had in the 90’s. Yet thousands of troops and international workers are there, not to mention the Kosovars themselves. But what can the future hold for them?

To discuss this and related themes, I went to visit Vlidi at his home in Belgrade. He has been to Kosovo several times for different reasons, and has much to say about what is going on there.

We discuss:
– His visits to Kosovo in 04 and 05
– The interviews he conducted there.
– Background, why has all this happenned in Kosovo
– The territory during Yugoslavia
– Population, politics, and quality of life
– The economic significance of Kosovo
– Dependency
– Lessons not learned
– Drawing Borders to Remove Borders
– Meaning for Serbia

Vlidi’s site
I mentioned Rex, in Belgrade. (love them!)