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The Balkans Peace Program (BPP) Summer 2013: International Development, Politics, and Post-Conflict Societies - Kosovo and the Balkans is an educational program that will provide students enrolled in a university outside of Kosovo and the region with the opportunity to spend about three weeks in Kosovo studying and learning about development in practice in a post-conflict area right in the middle of Europe. Participants of the program will also visit three other Balkans countries, Albania, Macedonia, and Montenegro.
This is the second annual Balkans Peace Program. The first annual Balkans Peace Program took place in May-June 2012. Click here to learn more about BPP 2012.
The program consists of three key components:
The program takes place from 12 May to 2 June 2013. Participants will be staying with local host families in Gjilan, the fourth largest city in Kosovo, with a population of about 120,000, located on the southeast corner of Kosovo, some 45 km southeast of Prishtina, the capital.
There are still places and grants available for the program (as of February 27).
For University of Alberta students: All U of A participants in the BPP-Summer 2013 (regardless of their major) will be awarded 3 credits as POL S 468: International Development, Politics, and Post-Conflict Societies, upon successful completion of the program.
Participants from other Universities: You will receive 7 ECTS credits. An official transcript will be issued by the Gjilani University College. A copy of the transcript will also be sent directly to your University's registrar office for credit transfer.
Successful completion of the program means that you participate in all program activities and daily lectures and that you submit a written essay / paper in accordance with the guidelines set by the principal program instructor.
Cost: 1,550.00 EUR per person
Included: program costs, living with a host family, full room and board, all program activities, tours, accommodation and meals while on program tours. Not included: transportation cost from your country of origin to Kosovo.
Grants/Scholarships: The Bislimi Group Foundation has a small amount of funds available for this program that will be used to offset, at least partially (up to 500.00 EUR), the program cost for a select number of participants on a need-basis. Please note your request/need to be considered for a grant in your application letter.
How to apply:
Submit your complete BPP Summer 2013
Program Application via email to
To be eligible for the program, you must:
Mr. Petrit Shkodra, BBA
For many years in the last two decades the Western Balkans countries have inspired headlines in papers, journals, magazines, tv shows, news, etc. The international attention this region has earned has mainly come from the unrest, wars, and conflicts that have engulfed it for years.
Today, however, as the last piece of puzzle of the break-up process of former Yugoslavia has been resolved, namely the international recognition of Kosovo (albeit partial), this region has turned into a calm and developing area. Countries of the region have now similar ambitions - all targeting eventual accession to the European Union and NATO. Indeed, several of the region's countries have made important progress in their Euro-Atlantic integration process. Croatia and Albania for instance have already joined NATO, while Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Albania have already benefited from the visa liberalization process with the EU.
Among all these countries, Kosovo is the most special. It provoked NATO's first ever military intervention in 1999, was placed under UN administration until 2008, and became the newest country in Europe on February 17, 2008.
Despite its troubled past, Kosovo's present and future are quite promising. Kosovo has the youngest population in Europe. It has a geography that beautifully combines mountains and valleys, rivers and lakes, summer and winter attractions. Kosovo continues to be a hot political issue in many international decision-making circles. Its relations with Serbia continue to pose challenges to Kosovo's future and the future of the entire region. The EU's involvement in Kosovo has grown rapidly after the declaration of independence. The largest EU mission ever has now been deployed to Kosovo – EULEX, the EU Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo.
Both in terms of economic development and politics, Kosovo poses both an opportunity and a challenge for EU's performance as an international actor. In Kosovo, the EU has the opportunity to shape and ensure a European future for this new country and make it an example of modern statebuilding. By the same token, EU's failure to do so ensures the shrinking of its international importance as a global actor.
Therefore, in an effort to provide foreign students with a unique opportunity to learn more about Kosovo and the Balkans, experience the region in person, and enjoy the beauties it has to offer, the Gjlani College and The Bislimi Group Foundation have joined together in brining to you the second annual Balkans Peace Program, Summer 2013: Post-Conflict Development in Kosovo.
The Balkans Peace Program, Summer 2013: Post-Conflict Development in Kosovo consists of three key components:
- education / academics: participants will be offered a college course on the Politics and Development of the Balkans with Focus on Kosovo at the Gjilani College in Gjilan, Kosovo. Upon successful completion of the course, each participant will be given an official transcript from the Gjilani College to show that they have earned 7 ECTS credits (equivalent to 0.5 Canadian credits or 3.0 American credits). The course will be taught in English by well qualified instructor. During this course, participants will also be addressed by important guest speakers, such as the President of Kosovo, for example and other dignitaries.
- culture / networking: participants will be hosted by Kosovar families who have students of similar ages with participants. Participants will live with these host families during the entire program; enjoy the traditional Kosovo foods; the traditional Albanian hospitality; create friendships with their Kosovo peers, etc.
- sight-seeing / tours: participants will be taken on an organized tour of historic sites throughout Kosovo, Albania, Montenegro, and Macedonia. They will spend 2 days at the beautiful beaches of Albania, visit Macedonia, and Montenegro.
Participants will be staying in Gjilan, Kosovo. This will give them the opportunity of experiencing Kosovo beyond its capital of Prishtina. The following is a detailed agenda of all activities. Any changes in the agenda will be communicated to participants in time.
Sunday: May 12
Arrival and check-in of all participants. We will pick up all participants at the Prishtina International Airport and Prishtina Bus Terminal. Participants will be placed with their host families.
Monday, May 13 – Thursday, May 23
Daily lectures, International Development, Politics, and Post-Conflict Societies: Kosovo and the Balkans (one morning / one afternoon session daily). This is an academic course. Official transcripts will be issued by the Gjilan College for each attending participant. The course will be taught in English.
Saturday, May 18 – Sunday, May 19
Tour of Kosovo – visiting historical and religious sites across the country, including medieval monasteries and mosques, sites of the recent Kosovo War, while possibly spending the night at tourist complex of Rugova Gorge.
Friday, May 24
Visit at the Parliament of Kosovo, Office of the President, Government of Kosovo, and Kosovo Museum in Prishtina.
Saturday, May 25
Depart for Albania. Visit and lunch at the Castle of Shkodra. Visit and dinner at the Castle of Ulqin at the shores of Montenegro. Spend the night in Montenegro.
Sunday, May 26 – Tuesday, May 28
Check-in at a beach hotel in Durres, Albania. Beach activities during the day, visit to the city of Durres and its Roman time amphitheatre at night. Visit Tirana, Albania on Tuesday, May 28. Depart for Oher, Macedonia in the evening of May 28, check in at a Pogradec Lake Hotel for the night.
Wednesday, May 29
Spend the morning at the Pogradec/Oher Lake, at the Albania-Macedonia border. Visit Skopje, the capital of Macedonia, its Castle, and the Mother Teresa birthplace house in Skopje. Leave for Gjilan, Kosovo in the evening.
Thursday, May 30
Host Family Day – activities / visits of participants with their host families.
Friday, May 31
Closing ceremony: participants are handed out their Program Certificates and their official transcripts farewell dinner with all participants and host families as well as program staff
Saturday, June 1 – Sunday, June 2
Program Staff will take participants to the Prishtina Airport or Bus Terminal for departures.
Program Staff are working intensively to make sure that important political figures of Kosovo will address the participants, such as the President of Kosovo and other Government and Parliament Officials. Tentatively, the participants will also be greeted and met by Government officials both in Kosovo and Albania during their visits at the offices of Governments in these two countries.
Participants are encouraged to write an essay about their experience in this program. All essays are to be written in English and once they undergo a copy editing process, they will be published in a special Program Book.
Selected essays from the BPP 2012 participants will be published in an edited book titled "My Kosovo Experience: Perspectives on Europe's Newest State". The book is expected to come out in Spring 2013 through an academic published based in the US and Canada.
At the end of the program, participants will be awarded a Certificate of Completion issued jointly by TBG Foundation and the Gjilani University College along with an official transcript for academic credit purposes.
Once you are offered a place in the program, you will be asked to pay your full program cost. You will be given details as to the best way to make the payment – such as sending it through a bank wire or electronic transfer, for instance.
If you decide to not participate in the program after you have made your program cost payment, you will be refunded according to the following rules:
- you will receive a refund of 100% if you cancel your participation more than fifteen working days in advance of the program start date;
- you will receive a refund of 75% if you cancel your participation between 15 and 10 working days in advance of the program start date;
- you will receive a refund of 50% if you cancel your participation between 9 and 7 working days in advance of the program start date;
- No refund if you cancel less than 7 working days in advance of the program start date or once the program has commenced.
The Prishtina International Airport “Adem Jashari” (IATA code: PRN) is Kosovo’s gateway to the world. Major European and regional airlines (such as Austrian Airlines, British Airways, Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa, Adria Airways, Swiss Airlines, Germanwings, AirBerlin, Albanian Airlines, Croatian Airlines, etc.) as well as a number of charter airlines serve Prishtina on a regular basis. There are also several regular bus routes that connect Prishtina, Kosovo to many neighbouring destinations (Tirana, Podgorica, Skopje, Istanbul, Belgrade, Athens, etc.)
If you need any help with booking your travel to Kosovo, you may always contact us and we will be glad to assist (email@example.com).
The Gjilani College is an institution of higher learning based in Gjilan, Kosovo. It was founded in 2006 and offers bachelor degrees in Economics, Law, and Education. The College is licensed by the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology of Kosovo and accredited by the Kosovo Accreditation Agency. It offers its students an academically enriching environment with top quality academic programs and faculty.
The Bislimi Group Foundation
The Bislimi Group Foundation is a not-for-profit organization, headquartered in Prishtina, Kosovo, which strives to help build a peaceful and prosperous future for Kosovo through quality education. Founded in 2006, TBG Foundation implements and administers the Education for Peace Scholarship Program, which aims at providing deserving Kosovo students an opportunity to earn a quality higher education abroad. Through its Kosovo Educational Exchange Center, the foundation administers the Education for Peace Internship Program, which offers the students of foreign partner universities that host Kosovo EFP students an opportunity to do internships in Kosovo.
You will be visiting and seeing some of the most interesting and historical places of South Eastern Europe while on this program.
Kosovars are considered the most optimistic people in Europe. Despite their harsh past, they look forward to a better future. About half of Kosovo’s people are under the age of 25 and Gjilan, Kosovo is a model of interethnic tolerance and coexistence for the entire country. By living with an Albanian host family in Gjilan, you will be able to learn a lot about the “young Europeans” as Kosovars are referred to.
Think of the Law of Gravity and then try to make sense of Kosovo’s famous Gadime Cave where this basic law of physics seems not to apply. The Gadime Cave is home to some crystals that seem to break the law of gravity by growing upwards. The cave is considered to about 80,000 years old.
Now, if you have heard of Mother Teresa, think about being able to stand right on the grounds of her birth house. Her life story has served and continuous to serve as a helpful guide for many. An Albanian by origin, she was born in the city of Skopje, Macedonia.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
The Bislimi Group Foundation
MY KOSOVO EXPERIENCE: Perspectives on Europe's
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