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Feminist Spring School 2021 – First part

01-04.04.2021

With the motto “Young Woman build peace” had started this edition of Feminist Spring School gathered more than 20 girls from Kosovo and Serbia. 

For four days in a row, 1-4 April, these girls were trained and took the lectures on feminism and more by Anita Panteliq, Marijana Toma, Marijana Stojçiq, and Ajna Jushiq. 

At the beginning of each session, a safe space was created for the participants by introducing themselves in creative forms and interacting by asking questions and exchanging different experiences and ideas. The translation was also provided for them in both languages – Albanian and Serbian so that they could each express themselves in their language and hear and learn the other one.

“History of women’s position and organizing in the second half of the 20th century in the former Yugoslavia”; “Feminist Approach to Justice: UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and Women’s Court”; “Mechanisms of Transitional Justice”; “Forgotten Children of War”, were the main topics that were lectured and discussed during this edition of Feminist Spring School.

That the Western Balkans, once a hotbed of wars, have the potential to become a place of peace is shown by the statement of one of the participants of the Feminist Spring School Majlinda Behrami: “If politicians, who in most cases are men, would be inclined to work to achieve peace with the same will as we are doing in this meeting, the Western Balkans would truly be a place of dreams to live.”

Because of the COVID-19, the first part of the School took part online and was organized by partners “Alternative Girls’ Centre” from Krushevac and “Artpolis – Art and Community Center” from Prishtina.

The project “Young Women Build Peace in Kosovo and Serbia” is implemented in cooperation with Artpolis-Art and Community Center and the “Alternativni centar za devojke” while supported by the European Union in Kosovo and foundation Kvinna till Kvinna.

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FORUM FUTURE 2021 “LANGUAGE AS A BRIDGE”

A two-day conference to be held in the Civic Energy Center in North Mitrovica on the 30th and 31st of March 2021.

This time we address the issue of the language gap existing between Kosovo Albanians and Kosovo Serbs. This hinders inter-ethnic interactions and negatively affects relations, ultimately preventing members of both communities, in particular their younger segments, from engaging with one another in creating a genuinely multi-ethnic and multilingual society.

The goal of the conference will be to provide public and open discussion on dealing with the past, the present and future relations between Serbs and Albanians.

Twenty years after the conflict, Albanians and Serbs in Kosovo remain largely politically and socially segregated from one another and there no sense of a common future and goals between the two groups. Kosovo Civil Society, in pursuit of its own objectives, often neglects the reconciliation process.

Investment in the future requires investment in open and honest dialogue, with the participation of relevant experts, sociologists, ethnologists, historians, political representatives, community leaders and other individuals with sufficient credentials to impact public perception.

Agenda, 30th March

10:00 – 10:10   Registration of participants

10:10 – 10:30   Opening remarks       

10:30 – 11:30   Panel Discussion 1: Language in education system. How to get there and what steps are needed?

Lack of mutual language learning in formal education has long been identified as one the key reforms that needs to be undertaken in order to reduce the ever-growing distance between the two communities.

Panelist:

Xhavit Rexhaj, former Deputy Minister of Education and Science

Nora Bezera, lecturer at the Department of Albanology in Belgrade University

Veljko Samardžić, executive Director, Center for social initiatives. Project Voc-Up

Link for following Panel Discussion 1 through Zoom platform: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87283180966

11:30 – 12:00   Coffee break

12:00 – 13:00   Panel Discussion 2: Model of bilingual education applied in the Republic of North Macedonia.

Presentation of model for intercultural education implemented in Republic of North Macedonia as a model of education which enables successful integration of students, parents and teachers from different ethnic communities through a modern upbringing and educational process.

Panelists:

Veton Zekolli, executive Director of Nansen Dialogue Centre Skopje

Biljana Krsteska-Papić, manager of Training Centre within Nansen Dialogue Centre

Sonaj Bilal, project manager Nansen Dialogue Training Center Skopje

Sunčica Milenković, teacher from the primary school in Jasenovik, Novo Brdo. Participant of the training in Intercultural and Bilingual education.

Link for following Panel Discussion 2 through Zoom platform: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89998216792

13:00 – 13:20   Closing remarks

13:20 – 15:00   Refreshment

Agenda 31st March

10:00 – 10:10   Registration of participants

10:10 – 10:30   Opening remarks         

10:30 – 11:30   Panel Discussion 3: “Official Bilingualism in Kosovo – Key Conditions and Challenges”

Presentation of the key findings and recommendations of the research paper “Official Bilingualism in Kosovo – Key Conditions and Challenges”. The paper investigates the main legal and institutions shortcomings for the protection of language rights in Kosovo and proposes policy suggestions for the improvement thereof.

Panelists:

Ognjen Gogić, project manager NGO AKTIV

Ivan Spasojević, jurist Basic Court Mitrovica

Ben Murgatroyd, policy researcher

Link for following Panel Discussion 3 through Zoom platform: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89805403451

11:30 – 12:00   Coffee break

12:00 – 13:00   Panel Discussion 4: Youth and language gap.

Mutual knowledge of Albanian and Serbian has been decreasing in both communities, in particular among younger generations. How this affects the younger generations?

Panelists:

Gentian Krasniqi, youth activist, Check In

Besa Bllacaku, youth activist, Youth Task Force

Anesa Čolaković, activist, Peace4Development

Petar Đorđević, youth activist, Young Gracanica

Link for following Panel Discussion 4 through Zoom platform: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81363566527

13:00 – 13:15   Closing remarks

13:15 – 15:00   Refreshment              

Translations into English, Serbian and Albanian will be provided.    

Note: The number of live viewers is limited due to the pandemic situation, if you want to be in the audience please sign up for the panel you are interested in via e-mail: applications@ngoaktiv.org

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The Forum Theater Program training brought together young people from Kosovo communities

26.02 – 01.03.2021

In beautiful Prizren, girls and boys from communities living in Kosovo gathered to participate in the four-day training “Theater-based education”. The beautiful and sunny weather pushed the training organizers to modify the exercises and flood the stage of Prizren Castle. Then, trainers Zana Hoxha and Edlir Gashi continued with the agenda, developing exercises and improvisations of theatre scenes, on socially discussed topics with a focus on multiethnic coexistence.

The special feature of this training was the masked workshop which was a relaxation but at the same time a stimulus for the development of creativity. Masks became part of the performances. The novelty of the training was the game with body movements, led by choreographer Robert Nuha, which also helped the performance of the participants.

“What distinguishes this workshop and group from the others is that I have not seen any kind of prejudice here, something I have encountered in other workshops. And what was characteristic, we all tried to understand each other, since we do not speak the same language, and this is my strongest and most positive impression of this training “- says the participant of the training from North Mitrovica, Djurdjica Kaziq.

The 4-day training “Theater Based Education” was held in Prizren, organized by members of the Kosovo Coalition for Reconciliation, Artpolis and NGO Aktiv.

The activities were carried out in accordance with the recommendations for the prevention and suppression of the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

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The Basic Court of Prishtinë/Priština has sentenced a Kosovo Serb to twelve years of imprisonment for war crimes

On December 24, 2020, a Trial Panel of the Special Department of the Basic Court of Prishtinë/Priština (presided over by Judge Albina Shabani-Rama[1]) found Nenad Arsić, a Serb from Çagllavicë/Čaglavica, guilty of two counts of War Crimes against the Civilian Population[2] and sentenced him to a term of imprisonment of six (6) years. The decision of the Court was announced after the main trial had been held in the case The Prosecutor v. Nenad Arsić as per the Indictment of the Office of the Special Prosecutor of Kosovo – SPRK (KTS. No. 01/2016 dated December 6, 2019).

In a brief reasoning of their decision, the Trial Panel stated that the basis for the decision was the evidence presented during the main trial, and added that, in their testimonies, the injured parties-witnesses identified the Defendant as a person who, during the armed conflict, in concert with other unidentified persons, on May 21, 1999 had been present on their property in Emshir/Emšir, Prishtinë/Priština, that he had participated, in co-perpetration with others, in the destruction and confiscation of their property, when severe bodily injuries had been inflicted on the witnesses. The Defendant’s actions contained all the elements of the criminal offence of War Crimes against the Civilian Population. When sentencing, the Court took into account both mitigating and aggravating circumstances provided for in Article 41 of the SFRY Criminal Code.

During the main trial, the Defendant was placed in detention on remand which was ordered against him after he had been apprehended, on October 22, 2019, and which was being extended until the judgment became final.

The Humanitarian Law Centre Kosovo (HLCK) regularly monitored the trial against the Defendant Arsić, which was opened on June 22, 2020. Based on the monitoring of the trial and the analysis of publicly available court documents in this case, the HLCK finds that the injured parties-witnesses, in their testimonies given during the main trial, confirmed the presence of the Defendant Arsić on the critical day at the scene where the charged criminal offences had been committed. They also confirmed that, on that occasion, the Defendant had been hitting them with hard objects, as well as that he had participated with other unknown persons in the destruction of the property of the injured parties, as well as in the confiscation of their money and valuables.

The HLCK also notes that it is very likely that the passage of time from the moment of the commission of the criminal offence the Defendant was found guilty of to the trial, i.e. the announcement of the Court’s decision, caused certain discrepancies in the witnesses’ statements about this event given during the previous stages of the proceedings. For the time being, however, the HLCK does not want to comment on the faith given by the first instance court and how it assessed the relevance of the discrepancies in the witnesses’ observations of what had happened on the critical day. The HLCK will be able to comment on this only after reviewing and analysing the first instance judgment, when an assessment will be given of whether the sentence imposed is adequate.

Moreover, the fact that the Court imposed an aggregate sentence on the Defendant, without individual sentencing according to the actions for which he was charged with, will be the subject of analysis within the comprehensive report the HLCK is compiling for the most important trials in 2020.

In the Indictment dated December 6, 2019, the SPRK charged the Defendant Nenad Arsić with the commission of the criminal offence of War Crimes against the Civilian Population on two counts:


– that, during the armed conflict in Kosovo, on May 21, 1999, at around 8:00 AM, in Prishtinë/Priština, Emshir/Emšir, as a member of the Serbian police reserve forces, being uniformed and armed, in complicity with other unidentified members of the police, he had come to the property of the Shala family in police vehicles, and that, in order to violate their bodily integrity and physical and mental health, he had been hitting Jakup and Skender Shala with wooden objects and sticks for a long time, causing them great suffering and severe bodily harm. The Shala brothers still feel the consequences of beatings and harassment. According to the indictment, by doing so, he had committed the criminal offence of War Crime against the Civilian Population.

-that, on the same day, at the same time, in the above-mentioned place, in the same capacity, the Defendant had knowingly participated in the mass destruction and illegal appropriation of property that had not been justified by military needs. He had taken part in the search of the family houses of the four Shala brothers, during which furniture and other valuables had been damaged. In addition, auxiliary facilities were demolished, i.e. a farm owned by Jakup Shala from where 3,200 liters of oil packed in barrels were seized as well as 160,000 DM hidden in the yard of Sheriff Shala and 80,000 DM hidden in a chicken coop located in the yard of Isak Shala’s house. On the critical day, the following had been seized from the garages and yards of the Shala family: a Renault Espase, a motor cultivator and a tractor, all owned by Jakup Shala; a Volkswagen Jetta owned by Enver Shala; an Opel Vectra owned by Hakif Bajrami; a Jugo Corral 55 owned by Vahid Halili and a Mercedes MB 100 owned by Skender Shala. According to the indictment, by doing so, he had committed the criminal offence of War Crimes against the Civilian Population.

Following the indictment assessment procedure, as prescribed by the law, the main trial was opened on June 22, 2020 before the Basic Court of Prishtinë/Priština in the course of which the Trial Panel was in session for eleven (11) days. The trial was opened by reading the indictment to which the Defendant pleaded not guilty. Nine (9) witnesses proposed by the Prosecution and three (3) witnesses proposed by the Defendant and his Defence were heard before the Trial Panel. The Defendant testified before the Trial Panel. During the trial, material evidence proposed by the parties to the proceedings was presented, after which Prosecutor Drita Hajdari amended the enacting clause of the indictment in relation to the legal classification of the criminal offence the Defendant was charged with. The parties to the proceedings presented their closing statements.

Pursuant to the decision of the Kosovo Judicial Council dated May 29, 2020, in order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the main trial was open to monitors and the media, but not to the public.

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Young people from Kosovo communities together in the training “Theater-based education”

22 – 24 January 2021

What happens when young people from different communities in Kosovo meet interested in mastering acting skills, performance and theater techniques? The Forum Theater happens!

From January 22 to 24, the participants of the Theater Based Education training had the opportunity to enjoy the preparation and performance of theater stages and creative work. They learned about theater techniques, Forum Theater and at the same time through games and acting addressed various social topics with a focus on multiethnic coexistence.

The Theater Based Education was held in Prizren, organized by members of Kosovo Coalition for Reconciliation, Artpolis and NGO Aktiv.

The activities were carried out in accordance with the recommendations for the prevention and suppression of the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

#artpolis#aktiv#kcr#thbe

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Femart 8-të publikon raportin “Drejt Solidaritetit dhe Bashkëpunimit” – me një konferencë ndërkombëtare shpalosi të arriturat e grave dhe atë se çka duhet bërë tutje

Insajderi / 19.10.2020

Përmes publikimit të raportit me titull  “Drejt Solidaritetit dhe Bashkëpunimit” dhe konferencës ndërkombëtare, Festivali Femart, i cili ka nisur rrugëtimin e tij të tetë me moton “Solidaritet dhe Qëndrueshmëri”, solli ditën e dytë të tij (16 tetor) me një diskutim të thellë për barazinë gjinore, me theks të veçantë nëpër institucione të kulturës por jo vetëm.

Përveç publikimit të raportit, kjo konferencë ndërkombëtare u përbë nga dy panele të ndryshme të me gra të fuqishme të Kosovës dhe jashtë saj. Ndwrsa e gjithë kjo erdhi nën modelimin e shkëlqyer të Donika Eminit.

Në publikimin e raportit, pjesëmarrëse ishin  ministrja e Kulturës, Rinisë dhe Sportit – Vlora Dumoshi, Nasrin Pourghazian – Zëvendëse e Shefit të Misionit, Shefe e Bashkëpunimit për Zhvillim dhe Gresa Rrahmani – autore e raportit.

Raporti i publikuar nga Femart, sjellë në pah edhe njëherë neglizhencën e institucioneve karshi zbatimit të ligjit për barazi gjinore.

Në lidhje me këtë, ministrja e Kulturës, Rinisë dhe Sportit, Vlora Dumoshi, e cila edhe bëri hapjen e këtij publikimi, tregoi se e ka lexuar me vëmendje këtë raport dhe e ka shikuar me kujdes analizën që është dhënë. Ajo tha se ky raport është i mirëseardhur dhe pritet të merret parasysh në aspektin e përmirësimit, teksa tregoi përvojën e saj dhe punën disa vjeçare në shkollimin e grave.

“Nëse e shohim historikisht, roli i gruas në vend, lë për të dëshiruar, por këtë duhet ta qesim në dy rrafshe, rrafshi i parë është sa janë gratë të gatshme të marrin vende udhëheqëse. E pash që në raport ka dalë që në ligjet e institucioneve tona nuk shkruhet që edhe gruaja duhet të marrë pjesë, mendoj që është ligji për barazi gjinore dhe kushtetuta dhe besoj që në ligje të mos ceket as mashkulli as femra, pra të jemi të barabartë”, ka theksuar Dumoshi.

Ajo tutje ka folur për institucionin që e drejton dhe në lidhje me numrin e grave që punojnë aty.

“Në MKRS diku prej 579 punonjësve ne kemi 252 gra, kemi tri drejtoresha dhe kemi udhëheqëse të divizioneve të ndryshme. Në institucione kemi pas dy gra udhëheqëse, tash kemi një pasi që, njërës i ka kaluar mandati”, pohoi ministrja.

Ndërsa si një pjesë të rëndësishme që ajo e ceku, është që problemi përveç të tjerash qëndron edhe te gratë, pasi që, sipas saj, gratë nuk mbështesin gratë.

“Si pjesë e stafit të ish-qeverisë, kam parë që në pjesë të ndryshme të ndërmarrjeve publike ka pas shumë pak gra që kanë konkurruar në pozita të larta, dhe sfida që e shohë është që gratë nuk i mbështesin gratë. Nisim nga votimet e tutje, pra ne duhet ta mbështesim njëra tjetrën. Kudo që menaxhojnë gratë institucioni është më i mirë, pasi që, e marrin punën me seriozitet”, u shpreh ajo.

Duke theksuar kënaqësinë që është pjesë e këtij edicioni të Femart, Nasrin Pourghazian – Zëvendëse e Shefit të Misionit, Shefe e Bashkëpunimit për Zhvillim, u shpreh e lumtur për këtë raport derisa ajo foli në përgjithësi për energjinë pozitive dhe të rinjtë kreativ që i ka takuar në këtë festival.

“Jam e lumtur që solidariteti dhe bashkëpunimi janë kryefjalët e këtij eventi. Personalisht jam fanse e madhe e artit por mendoj që solidariteti është shumë i rëndësishëm kur dëshiron të ndryshosh qasjen në shoqëri”, theksoi ajo.

Pas kësaj hyrje, i erdhi radha edhe pjesës kryesore të ngjarjes. Publikimi i raportit, erdhi me një prezantim fantastik nga autorja Gresa Rrahmani.

Rrahmani sqaroi në detaje të gjitha pikat e përmbledhura në këtë hulumtim dhe sfidat nëpër të cilat kaloi ajo me bashkëpunëtorët, duke pas parasysh këtu edhe kufizimet që erdhën si pasojë e parandalimit të pandemisë COVID-19.

Autorja fillimisht tha se ky është një produkt i komunitetit e jo vetëm i saj.

“Qëllimi i hulumtimit fillimisht ka qenë kur jam takuar me Zanën kemi dashtë me e pa kur gratë arrijnë në pozita të pushtetit dhe vendimmarrëse, atëherë çfarë ndikimi ka kjo për shoqërinë, a ndikon kjo në përmirësimin e grave tjera, personave me aftësi të kufizuara, komunitetit LGBTI, e kështu me radhë. Rrjedhimisht me këtë jemi nis dhe gjatë hulumtimit e kemi parë që situata nuk është ashtu siç kemi mendu, dhe e kemi parë që gratë janë shumë pak në pozita drejtuese”, theksoi ajo.

Ajo tregoi se për arsye se fusha e kulturës është shumë e gjerë, atëherë janë fokusuar vetëm në institucionet brenda Ministrisë së Kulturës, që janë: Teatri Kombëtar i Kosovës, Galera Kombëtare e Kosovës, Galeria Qafa,  Ansambli Shota, Filarmonia e Kosovës, Qendra Kinematografike e Kosovës…

“Kritika feministe ka vënë në pah dy ndarje shumë të rëndësishme të cilat janë përdorur gjatë hulumtimit, ndarja publike dhe private”, pohoi ajo, derisa theks të veçantë i dha edhe ligjit për barazi gjinore.

“Ligji për barazi gjinore paraqet barazinë prej 50% në të gjitha institucionet, do të thotë, coftë në ministri coftë në institucione të kulturës, gratë pritet të jenë 50%, dhe obligohen që të gjitha institucionet të punojnë në këtë drejtim”, u shpreh Rrahmani.

Pas këtij prezantimi, diskutimi u hap edhe për publikun ku aty patën rastin të paraqesin mendimet dhe kritikat e veta të gjithë pjesëmarrësit.

Me shumë pak minuta pauze, Në Teatrin Oda, ku u mbajt krejt kjo ngjarje, filloi edhe konferenca ndërkombëtare me dy panele.

“Përfaqësimi i grave në shoqëri civile, media dhe institucione të kulturës” – Perspektiva ndërkombëtare dhe vendore

Paneli i parë u përbë nga Tenzin Dolke – Aktiviste dhe Feministe, Blerta Basholli – Drejtoreshë e drejtorisë së kulturës në komunën e Prishtinës, Nermina Mahmuti- Drejtoreshë Ekzekutive, Fondi për zhvillim komunitar dhe Lian Bell – Artiste.

Fillimisht përmes Zoom, u lidhen Tenzin Dolke – Aktiviste dhe Feministe dhe Tijana Simić LaValley – Drejtore e programit në OJQ “Të drejtat e grave” dhe aktiviste për të drejtat e grave, të cilat paraqitën perspektivat e tyre në aspekt me temën në fjalë.

Teksa Nermina Mahmuti dhe Blerta Basholli, derisa komentuan raportin e publikuar, ato treguan edhe përvojat e tyre, dhe projektet të cilat janë në ndihmë të grave.

“Përfaqësimi i grave në shoqëri civile, media dhe institucione të kulturës në Kosovë”

Ishte paneli i dytë i cili përbëhej nga: Saranda Bogujevci – Anëtare e Parlamentit të Republikës së Kosovës, Valdete Idrizi – Anëtare e Parlamentit të Republikës së Kosovës, Ivane Petronic Vanovac – Radio KM, Luljeta Demolli – Drejtoreshë Ekzekutive – Qendra Kosovare për Studime Gjinore dhe Tijana Simić LaValley – Drejtore e programit në OJQ “Të drejtat e grave” dhe aktiviste për të drejtat e grave.

Ky diskutim nisi me dy deputetet në Kuvendin e Kosovë, Valdete Idrizin dhe Saranda Bogujevci, të cilat përmes zbërthimit të raportit, edhe njëherë dhanë gjithë energjinë e tyre në ndihmë ndaj grave dhe në promovimin e tyre.

“Unë personalisht gjithmonë do të jem dhe jam në përkrahjen e grave, atë minutë që nuk do të jem, nuk do ta bëjë asnjë punë të mirë në këtë shoqërinë tonë”, tha Idrizi.

Ndërsa deputetja Bogujevci, pati një kërkesë sa i përket shpërndarjes së raportit.

“Ky raport duhet të dërgohet edhe në komisionin për barazi gjinore që kemi në parlament, por njëjtë edhe në grupin e grave dhe të shpërndahet të te gjithë deputetët. Mendoj që ka elemente të rëndësishme brenda raportit që duhet me i pa edhe në nivel parlamentar”, tha ajo, duke aluduar se kjo hap rrugë edhe për diskutim përbrenda parlamentit.

Ky raport, ishte prurje e re në vend, teksa Femart, vazhdon të sjellë edhe ditët në vijim gjëra interesante e të reja, gjithmonë në të mirën e komunitetit këtë edicion të tetë, ashtu sic ka bërë edhe edicionet e kaluara.

Kujtojmë se edicioni i tetë i FemArt përkrahet nga:

Donatorët: Bashkimi Europian, Koalicioni i Kosovës për Pajtim, Ambasada e Suedisë në Kosovë/Agjencia Suedeze për Zhvillim Ndërkombëtar – Sida, Fondi për Zhvillim Komunitar – CDF, Kvinna till Kvinna, UNFPA, Ministria e Kulturës, Rinisë dhe Sportit, Komuna e Prishtinës, Cfd, Ambasada Amerikane në Kosovë, Koalicioni K10.

Përkrahësit Institucional dhe medial: Teatri Oda, Biblioteka Kombëtare e Kosovës, Fakulteti i Arteve – Universiteti i Prishtinës, Etno Fest, Hapu – Festivali i Artit në Hapësirë Publike, KultPlus, Selman Netëorks, Rikon, Frutomania, Dukagjini, mik-mik, T-shirt collective, Blue Taxi, Ymalko.

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Feminist Spring School 2020 – Virtually in the second part

01 – 03.12.2020
From 01 – 03 December 2020 the second part of the spring feminist school was held for Kosovo and Serbia. Unlike previous years when Kosovo girls traveled to Serbia, as a result of Covid-19 this part was only held online, remotely, as a protective measure due to the deteriorating pandemic situation in the region.

For three days in a row, the girls from Kosovo and Serbia, virtually came together to listen to the lectures of wonderful speakers, which managed to keep the interest of the participants until the last minutes of the sessions. Although from a distance the young women – participants were quite interactive looking for information, working in groups and asking very essential questions for the lecturers.

Anita Pantelić, Marijana Stojčić, Marijana Toma and Ajna Jusić were the lecturers who discussed topics such as: “History of women’s position and organizing in the second half of the 20th century in the former Yugoslavia”; “Feminist Approach to Justice: UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and Women’s Court”; “Mechanisms of Transitional Justice”; “Forgotten Children of War” dedicated to children born after their mothers survived sexual violence during the last wars in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The third day session closed with a summarizing impressions, evaluation by the participants who were extremely satisfied with the information exchanged during these 3 days and with the hope that soon this group will meet physically, as promised by the organizers of FSS from Serbia.

A special thanks to the organizers from Alternative Girls’ Centre from Serbia, for their professional work that this meeting went well and the technical obstacles were easily overcome.

The project “Young Women Build Peace in Kosovo and Serbia” is implemented in cooperation with Artpolis-Art and Community Center and the “Alternativni centar za devojke“ while supported by the European Union in Kosovo and foundation Kvinna till Kvinna.

#FSS#FeministSpringSchool#ShkollaPranveroreFeministe#FeminističkaProlećnaškola#YoungWomenBuildPeace2020#EU#KCR#Artpolis
#AlternativniCentarZaDevojke

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The more languages you speak, the more you are worth

Nora Bezera

This sentence followed me all my life as a bilingual child. It did not stalk me, it followed my pace of life between two cities and two peoples.

Let me introduce myself to you; I am Nora, an Albanian who was born and who spent 27 years of her life in Belgrade. And now, at the age of 32, I am trying to build destroyed bridges between two peoples who live so close, and yet so far away!

Wondering how this can be done in a situation of general collective madness in the Balkans? Well, I’ll start from the beginning…

It was exactly 13 years ago. At that time, I was a graduate of the 12th Belgrade Gymnasium. I was wondering what to enroll in, which faculty, what next?? And so, a little at the urging of my mother, and much more by accident, I decided to enroll in the Albanian language studies, not even imagining that this very choice would turn my life by 180 degrees. Who would’ve thought! I enrolled studies of my mother tongue, what could change so much !?

After 4 years of studying, through work, I met my best friend Jelena! We met in private Albanian language classes, we slowly started cooperating on other important projects and became so close that we became best friends! One of the best and largest surveys we have conducted is on language rights in Kosovo. Why did my life change with Jelena?! Jelena actually taught me to think critically and objectively, and still preserve my feelings and subjective side through the stories she heard in Kosovo, from Serbs and Albanians, and which she told me after each of her trips to Kosovo. These were stories of the daily common torments of all of us.

Then in 2015 I got a job in Pristina. I started working as a translator. Working as a translator, I met a lot of different people from different communities, religions and cultures. This is where my life got rich. I spent a lot of time talking to members of non-majority communities in Kosovo about their customs and traditions. I listened about their celebrations, but also about the problems that plague us all on a daily basis. With them, I learned to listen to their problems, pains, joys, but also to be heard. To talk about everything humanely and in good faith. To offer a chance to get to know and understand each other better. So we started to build our little paradise of all communities in Kosovo and we were looking forward to every trip together. We are actually so different, and at the same time so similar.

I have translated meetings with high-ranking officials, but it was not those meetings that were the most difficult ones. The destinies of ordinary people were those that simply took my breath away, made my words disappear, and my “translation brain” simply went out. Translating someone’s pain, sadness, suffering, longing for someone, is the hardest and the most responsible part of my job.

Many times I have been in situations when I simply could not translate the stories of ordinary people, which were so shocking for me, that my throat tightened and my eyes filled with tears. It may seem unprofessional to someone, but it was simply stronger than me. When I hear and understand, I sympathize with the other side, I can’t remain completely insensitive.

One of them is the confession of a raped woman read by Igbale Rogova at one of the meetings. Confession was so painful, especially since I am also a woman. In those moments, I simply did not have the strength to continue translating, I could not control the emotion that overcame me. Tears streamed down my face, my hands trembled, and thank God, Igbale finished the terrifying reading. It was the first time that I was directly confronted with the terrible fates of the people in Kosovo.

The second time, I wasn’t in the role of translator, and it’s good that I wasn’t. At Jelena’s invitation, I attended a conference organized on the topic of journalists killed and abducted during and after the war in Kosovo. Families of Albanian and Serbian journalists, who are no more, are sitting in the same room. None of them know exactly what happened to their loved ones and they share the same suffering and sorrow. Their eyes, full of hope that they will find out something about them after all this time. “I am a Serb” or “an Albanian” was not written on their faces; on their faces are only sad eyes that remember their husbands, fathers, brothers… Their pain is the same! Dignified in their pain, they seek the long-lost truth. When Jelena started talking, the weight of her words fell on me, especially since Jelena is my “older sister”. I saw and felt with what pain and compassion she speaks on that topic. I know how much effort she put into talking about both sides equally, and I know that, no matter how professional she is in the work she does, she was overwhelmed by emotions due to terrible and difficult destinies. It was hard for me, and I know it’s even harder for her as she speaks. She was looking straight at me and no matter how much I was on the verge of crying, I had to stay strong, because Jelena asked me to. It ended!

They say that if you talk to a man in a language he understands, it goes to his head. If you talk to a man in his language, it goes to his heart. I strongly believe that my greatest value and advantage is that today I can have a dialogue with both Serbs and Albanians, to understand and be understood. Growing up “in the middle of the bridge” taught me to observe, listen, try to understand all those people who pass through it. Knowing both languages has opened many doors for me, brought me closer to many good people with whom I hang out and cooperate.

Knowledge of a language allows us to get to know different views, to progress, and not to stand in the same place, to make friends everywhere with it. To better understand each other, in difficult and joyful moments.

Nora Bezera was born on October 9, 1987, in Belgrade. She finished the twelfth Belgrade Gymnasium in 2007 and in the same year enrolled at the Faculty of Philology, University of Belgrade, Department of Albanian Language. She graduated in 2011. In the same year, she enrolled in master studies, majoring in language, literature, culture, at the Faculty of Philology, which he completed in 2012 with an average grade of 10.00.

She enrolled in doctoral studies at the Faculty of Philology in 2012, but did not pursue them. She has been working as a lecturer at the Department of Albanology since 2017. She has been actively involved in translation since 2010 and collaborates with many agencies and NGOs in Kosovo and the region.

Peer to Peer ENG-0000

PEER-TO-PEER – Cultural events

Based on the straightforward logic of People-to-People approach (P2P) programming that strives for the creation of opportunities for a series of interactions between conflicting groups in order to promote mutual understanding, trust, empathy, and resilient societal ties.

Activities are designed to follow the linear logic of P2P programming: understand-appreciate-collaborate, thereby establishing causative relations between beneficiary interests and objectives of the intervention.

For more information about the activities, click on this link: