Educate. Experience. Empower.
30 December 2014
Reflections from Kosovo is a book co-edited by Faton Bislimi (University of Alberta) and Dr. Eric Franco (Waldorf College) with select contributions by Balkans Peace Program 2013 participants: Danielle Gregoire, Roderick Kelly, Evan Klein, Anneka Sutton, and Ally Whittaker.
You can click here to look inside the book, read its Introduction, and learn more about it. All proceeds from this book will go to support the educational programs of the Bislimi Group Foundation.
You may order the book directly from Amazon.com. The following is the book's Epilogue which was written by Dr. Franco.
Viewing the world through the lens of isolation stymies one’s potential for socio-cultural growth. As the 21st century unfolds, possessing an awareness of the world is more important than ever as the multifaceted globalization of today’s world sets the stage for tomorrow. Cross-cultural and educational exchanges provide young people an immense opportunity for substantive and transformative experiences through which sow seeds for global citizenship through the establishment and development of eventual international partnerships. It is through individual and collective education that the shackles of disparity, conflict, and animosity can be reduced and real growth can occur. Moreover, as Europe’s newest democracy, Kosovo and the Kosovars themselves are at a crossroad – a downward spiral deeper into the abyss of cronyism, corruption, and instability where the nouveau riche prosper at the expense of the public at-large; or, as a leader in Balkans’ 21st century transformation into a major regional contributor to peace, industry, agriculture, and business development. Educational experiences for young people, such as the Bislimi Group Foundation’s Balkans Peace Program provides, in part, one such example of substantive and transformative exchange experiences for Westerners and Kosovars alike for building a new foundation for peace and stability in the Balkans sans the socio-political and economic umbilical cord of N.A.T.O. and the European Union. Education and exchange experiences are a critical element in preparing the youth to lead tomorrow’s Kosovo. For the sustenance of Kosovo is not a political, economic, or social script presented by the European Union or the United States -- but rather its youth as they move forward and continue to build and shore-up a democratic Kosovo. While Kosovo’s independence and democratic systems are an appreciated legacy of the support from the International Community and United States in particular, Kosovars must become equipped to develop and sustain their newborn democracy on their own devices. In an effort to accomplish this, educational exchange programs fostering peace, reconciliation, conflict resolution, and democratic partnerships provide fertile ground for re-establishing a sense of regional connectedness, identity, and stability by exposing Westerners to the Balkans (and vice versa).
Dr. Eric Franco
16 June 2014