Ambassador of Kosovo Ilir Dugolli spoke about the relationship between the University and other higher education institutes in Kosovo, a country in southeastern Europe. The event was hosted on Nov. 20 by the ASU Melikian Center in cooperation with the ASU School for the Future of Innovation in Society.
The ASU and Cintana Alliance is a partnership between the University and Universum International College (UNI), also known as the University of Prishtina, the most internationalized higher education institute in Kosovo.
David Brokaw introduced the guest speaker and the ASU-Cintana Alliance. ASU has been named the number one school for innovation for eight consecutive years, and this reputation sparked UNI’s interest in collaborating with the school, according to a press release from Cintana.
Dugolli took to the stage at the Interdisciplinary Science and Technology X building to discuss the effects that the partnership has had on education in Kosovo.
"This project has had important impacts not only in the development of the University of Prishtina ... but this series of projects has impacted the democratic life of the country as a whole," Dugolli said.
One of these projects is the Center for Learning at the University of Prishtina. ASU helped develop this center to allow students more access to government research grants.
Another project is the Center for Energy and Sustainability, which at the time was not a common area of study in Kosovo. One talking point during the speech was ASU alumni and Kosovo native Shahin Berisha, who has worked with ASU and the center at the University of Prishtina to bring solar energy to his home country.
In the earlier days of the University of Prishtina, the partnership established the Department of Political Science, in which ASU aided in creating curriculum for programs. Within the department was the Future Voters Project. This occurred over a few years and involved teaching thousands of Kosovo students about "democracy and voting and preparing them as active citizens of tomorrow," according to Dugolli.
"All of these examples really illustrate the width of engagement from ASU. I think for a country like mine that has been at the receiving end of this support, the best way to honor such support, such help, such investment is by trying to maximize the impact by continuing to nurture what has already been established and by not taking what there is for granted," said Dugolli.
As a result, tax dollars funding the University of Prishtina have significantly gone up in the last few years without changing tax policy, putting more community involvement and investment into education in Kosovo, according to Dugolli.
Innovative and free higher education does come with downsides; according to Dugolli, Kosovo has lost 10 percent of its highly educated population over the last 20 years. This is due to higher salaries in other neighboring countries that the Kosovo economy can’t keep up with. Dugolli has led a discussion at ASU before about his own struggles to receive an education in Kosovo.
READ MORE: Kosovo native appreciates U.S.
"I've learned that education is something that can't be compromised," Dugolli said in an article with The State Press in 2002.
Edited by Alysa Horton, Sadie Buggle and Caera Learmonth.