Only day two? I feel like we have already been here for a week already! First off, let me start by introducing myself. My name is Joon Colaianni I am currently studying at Amsterdam University College, as you guys have read in the blog, and I am a following the International Relations track with a minor in Law. This is my first time in the Balkans and being able to spend it in Kosovo has been the most amazing experience in my life.
So, let me start by saying how fun it is to start the day in a radio broadcasting network. That being said, today our class had the pleasure of visiting the RTK radio station here in Prishtine while also having the pleasure of meeting Alketa Xhafa Mripa, an artist living in London from Kosovo. She was telling us about her new art exhibition here in Kosovo that is being displayed this Friday, June 12th. Her art exhibition is about the women that got raped during the Bosnian War of 1992-1995 and the Kosovar War of 1998-1999. She is hanging over 2,000 to 3,000 skirts at the football stadium to display the 20,000 women and more that got raped during those periods.
After she invited us to go help hang up the skirts for the following day, two of our enthusiastic students, Roxy and Okke, got the chance to be on the radio live. Although they only had a few hours of sleep, from partying the night before, they both shared the classes eagerness to understand Kosovo and the astounding Kosovar people. Okke was happy that he didn't pass out in front of the microphone and Roxy did a great job of being our spokesperson.
Once we said our goodbyes to the station we realized how much time we had for our next meeting so we decided to be one of the Kosovars and drink a nice cup of coffee with chocolate cream on top. People were able to eat an early lunch while others were able to write in their notebook about their experiences in Kosovo so far. About an hour later, with belly's full of coffee, we all stormed off to our next meeting. This organization was called KIPRED ( Kosovar Institute for Policy and Development) which focused on politics, economy and law. During the meeting I didn't realize how hard it is for the people in Kosovo to get access to visas and travel around Europe (or the world in general). It made me really sad knowing that people were not able to go to places that are right on the border of their country. Especially since the world is based on globalization which interconnects all states together. I mean with such an interconnected society you would think that the human rights violation of free movement would be the last violation to any human. Another thing that really struck me was how slow it takes the government to implement laws when Kosovo has a constitution that fulfills everyone's rights. If there are laws that are violated within a government's constitution then there should be charges brought to those who committed the crime.What I found amazing about the NGO was how much time and energy they put into working with political parties and local elections. By doing this, they are attempting to create democracy in Kosovo even if it will take some years time.
So once we were done with that meeting and the other meeting after KIPRED: our amazing tour guides, Bardah and Enver, decided that we should eat dinner at the big park (basically forest) in Prishtine. Once we got there it was already a bit chilly but the walk was still warm and relaxing. Finally we were able to breath fresh clean mountain air instead of fresh flat city air in Amsterdam. The food at the restaurant was delicious yet the best part was being able to all have dinner together in a beautiful park surrounded by everyone's laughter and excitement for the rest of our adventures in Kosovo to be the best ones yet. Belly' nice and full again, along with nice wine smiles, everyone expect for our responsible teacher and her husband decided to go down to the park and have some wine and beers. The night ended with lovely conversations, a little bit of dancing, and a mind set ready for the understanding of Kosovo and the post conflict region.