Thursday, June 11, 2015

Blog Wednesday June 10th, 2015 – International Organization of Migration and the Academy of Diplomacy in Kosovo
By Max Jilderda
After a relatively good night sleep, Wednesday was upon us: ‘The Wednesday’. The reason why this day was so special was because of the meeting we were ‘supposed’ to have with the deputy-minister of foreign affairs in Kosovo.  The week before we went to Kosovo, Anne reminded us several times, especially the boys, to make sure that we had a nice and neat outfit with us, something that would suit an appointment with the minister of foreign affairs; in other words, not the typical Dutch blazer, jeans and sneaker combo, but professional and slick.
                However, Tuesday it became clear that this meeting with the deputy minister would not happen, and that we would have an alternative meeting instead. Even though, it was another meeting, Anne still wanted us to look representable and so we did. However, this was easier said than done, because with an average temperature above 25 degrees Celsius, Kosovo and the city center of Pristina were not the best suited place for this fancy attire. On the other hand, we promised that we would do it, so in the end we did.
                All dressed up, our group met at our standard meeting place, the Newborn sign, in the morning. We started our third full day in Kosovo with a meeting with the International Migration Office (IMO) in Kosovo. After a small taxi ride our group arrived at the very modern new building of the IOM. This meeting was opened by a very enthusiastic man from Nicaragua named Jorge, who spoke about the general functions of this organization within Kosovo and the irregular migration that has been present in this region. Jorge was very pleased to hear that we were aware of the Declaration of Human Rights, especially Article 13 which allows for freedom of movement of persons within and between nations.  According to Jorge, the most important thing was to change the terminology that defines the migration of Kosovars, namely ‘illegal’ migration; because how can a human right be a called illegal if it implies a crime. The rest of the presentation was about the present irregular migration from Kosovo, claiming that more than a 100.000 people moved out of the country due to poor socioeconomic conditions. According to the IOM the main reasons for migrating were:
- Push: (1) Unemployment, (2) Political & conflict, (3) Education, and (4) Other
- Pull: (1) Family reunification.
Apparently more than 60% of the younger generation is unemployed, and this together with misinformation of job opportunities in Europe, the ease of traveling to Schengen region, the amount of smugglers and the lack of confidence.
                This European dream that these young Kosovar migrants have reminded me about the European project called EUMAGINE, who researched the most important reasons why people wanted to go to Europe, it would be interesting to compare the case-studies used in this project with the situation in Kosovo.
                After this presentation there were 5 other presentations all focused on specific projects of this organization, for instance the Diaspora Engagement in Economic Development Program and the Beautiful Kosovo program. I personally thought it was very interesting that during these 5 other meeting, the presenters were all trying very hard to show the positive changes they had create within the country. However, when we left the IOM, I was in a taxi with Anne and some students who all expressed the concern on the outreach of these programs; so much money was put in to these projects, but only several hundreds of people were positively affected by it.

                After a quick lunch in a very nice air-conditioned restaurant (who made excellent pizzas), we headed over to the agreed location for our meeting. When we arrived at the ministry building of the ministry of foreign affairs, however, no one knew about our meeting. Apparently both parties mixed up the meeting location, so we as a group had to head back to the opposite direction. After this little delay, we had a very interesting meeting with Skender Durmishi, the Director of the Academy of Diplomacy of Kosovo. Prior to this meeting Anne and Tereza already had a brief meeting with Mr. Durmishi and they both said he was very relaxed and assertive in this meeting over coffee. However, this assertiveness and confidence to speak was unfortunately lacking when speaking for a larger audience. When presenting for our group, it seemed that Mr. Durmishi was a bit nervous; constantly adjusting his glasses and a bit shaky. Even though, the way he was talking was not really appealing, the things he was talking about were very informative and gave us a very clear understanding of the role of diplomacy for Kosovo.
                The most important aspect of this institution was the training of (aspiring) diplomats. With its main priorities being:
- The recognition of Kosovo
- Relationship with the United States
- (Future)Strategic partnership in EU & NATO
- Visa liberalization
This academy trains its diplomats to promote the new and modern state of Kosovo and its aspiration to become an EU member.
                Even though I thought it was a very informative meeting, it was very ‘diplomatically’ done. Even though some of our questions focused on several negative or less developed aspects of Kosovo, Mr. Durmishi was very equipped in turning these questions around into something positive; Constantly focusing on the progress already made and the ‘probable’ signing of the SAA agreements and visa liberalization for the Kosovars. He was also trying to establish legitimacy of Kosovo and the Academy of Diplomacy by telling us about the very important friends of Kosovo and this institute, such as the Dutch Clingendael Institute of International relations. I thought it was very interesting that he told us this, but on the other hand also understand it and think this is a natural response for a young developing country.
                After this very informative day we had an amazing dinner at an Italian restaurant in Pristina. So if you like Italian food and in Kosovo, go to SEN5ES!!!!!

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