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Librat e djegura nga forcat serbe në Terstenik të Drenicës të shkrimtarit Rifat Kukaj – Nga Skënder Karaçica

By | July 28, 2020

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ALBANIAN RYDER CUP IN ITS 10th YEAR STAYS IN NEW YORK – BUT THAT’S ONLY PART OF THE STORY By Rafaela Prifti

In its 10th year, the Albanian Ryder Cup tournament contended with the Coronavirus pandemic and hurricane Isaias perhaps foreshadowing the future of community events defined by dignity, respect and pertinence in testing times. At least one team member believes that in the future, there might be a junior event or a girls’ edition for the Albanian youth. Next year’s competition will be held in August in Wisconsin, whereas an all-star team from both groups will pair together to compete against Albanians from Europe in Germany in 2021 for the Inaugural Kastrioti Cup.

 

 

Embracing the opportunity to cover the 2020 tournament edition played over three courses at Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, New York from August 2 to 5 between NY and Detroit teams, I had the chance to interview New York team captains Zef Gjelaj and Sokol Selmani, and Detroit Team Co-Captain Gjon Sinishtaj, in addition to communicating with New York Team Coordinator Mark Curanaj, and members Pashk Berisha and Mark Tushaj. In terms of golf events, through the middle of the last decade, Dielli has covered fundraising efforts to support building the Mother Theresa Cathedral in Prishtina led by members of Vatra Council like Anton Raja along with Board members like Simon Qafa and others. This compilation of conversations on this week’s four-day golf tournament presents a brief history of the event originating in 2011, some highlights of the dramatic moments of the recent competition, exemplifies ways of adapting to new challenges of social gatherings and location adjustments, but above all it shows the power of human bonds. Each one of the golfers I talked to, valued the excitement of the game and the integrity of friendship. They also expressed their wish to pass down this gift to the younger Albanian generation.

 

The captain of New York team, Zef Gjelaj, said that this is his 8th year in a tournament that runs continuously for 10 years. “This year is the first time NY team won back to back and more interesting the first time the team won cup on home course. Calling it “our NY team”, Mr. Gjelaj said that golfers’ backgrounds are from Albania, Kosova, Montenegro and vary in range from 21 to 65 years old. He was proud of their great chemistry, adding that most of them were friends before they started playing golf. In fact, over the years, they have played together for so long, the team has become ‘a golf family.” I asked how he carries out the functions of the captain for the New York team. “I don’t say much, only except to remind them to work together. To not care for individual success because we will win as a team. “Individual commitment to a group effort that is what makes a team work” is our guiding principle,” said Mr. Gjelaj. He described with excitement the clinching of the tournament by the first year player Christian Dedvukaj who made a 7 foot putt in the last hole 18 par 5 and also the team’s MVP who is none other than two-time Champion of Dancing With the Stars, Driton Dovolani known to all as Toni Dovolani.

 

For Pashk Berisha of the New York team participating in the tournament as a team compounds the pressure on the player yet it increases the intensity and thrill of the sport. “Playing as a team in an annual tournament is very rewarding because you are representing your team and in this case your community as well.  It is pressure packed and thrilling because you are playing for your team mates and community not just for yourself.  It’s a much different feeling when your team mates rely on you and vice versa so the pressure is amplified many fold,” said Mr. Berisha. When describing how different this year’s tournament was in the pandemic situation, he said that they had to change the venue from Whistling Straits to Turning Stone, where they had to abide by social distancing and mask restrictions.  “It limited the time we spent together outside smoking cigars and telling jokes because they would not allow gatherings,” commented Pashk, who explained that unlike previous years when the teams would get together in the evenings and spend hours as a group, this year the socializing was very limited due to pandemic. As far as the event, he noted that the early years had seen many controversies whereas the last few years it’s gone pretty smoothly. “The teams,” contented Mr. Berisha, “have developed friendships and bonds that will be long lasting. The competition is very serious but it has become more of an event with competitive golf than just a competition. Winning is very important but it is not the only goal; competitive golf played with integrity, dignity and respect in a gentlemanly manner that will make our community proud.”

 

Mark Curanaj, the New York Team Coordinator indicated to me that there are 100 Albanian golf players in the Tri-State area. While I am aware that Albanians have brought to their adopted country the passion for the popular sport of soccer, I wondered about the extent of golf’s popularity with the older demographics in the community. I asked him how he got into gold and if perhaps Mark’s father or any elderly family members who came from Montenegro were into golf. I heard him laugh cheerfully admitting that none of them particularly cared for golf. Then he explained that growing up in Westchester, meant that golf is part of your life. I asked about the discipline it requires mentally as well as physically.  Mark reinforced the point of mental toughness of the sport that is a natural ability more than a trained feature. He laid out the history of the Albanian Ryder Cup, created by two longtime friends Tony Gjokaj and Luvigji Lucaj from New York and Michigan respectively. “In the first iteration in 2011, eight players gathered from each state and played 54 holes over two days at Shephards Hollow in Michigan. Curanaj, who is the New York team coordinator, recalled “the two dramatic putts on the final hole singles match between Marko Gjolaj and Martin Vulaj that galvanized the cup and the bonds that continue today’ as he put it. It ended in a tie. Since then the format has remained the same. The only adjustment has been the increased participation which has seen the number of golfers swell from 16 to 28, making 14 on each side. Each year the venue rotates between the two states and each side has added or removed players. The current teams have remained unchanged in the last five years. In the course of the five years, the best golfer on both teams with over 70% win of his matches is Shkelqim Kukaj. New York team has been led by outstanding performances by Sokol Selmani, Zef Gjelaj, Toni Dovolani and Paul Martini, who have won over 70% of their matches, whereas the Michigan team has been led by Mark Kalaj, Mark Berishaj, Gjon Sinishtaj and Anton Sinishtaj. New York has had the cup three of the last five years and was the first team to retain it after a 14-14 tie last week,” said Mr. Curanaj. He described the 2020 edition played over three courses at Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, New York from August 2 to 5 for each team. Toni Dovolani, two time MVP and Mark Tushaj were undefeated for New York team. Team members raved about rookie and last-minute replacement, Christian Dedvukaj, who won two matches. In true golf commentator fashion, NY Team Coordinator remarked “Michigan was led by three undefeated individuals Mark Kalaj, Mark Berishaj and Dennis Perkaj, also MVP for Team Michigan. Team Captains Lou Lucaj and Gjon Sinishtaj. New York held a one point lead after the first day four ball matches. Here is how the local team got the 4-3 lead: Three matches ended on the 18th hole par 5 in dramatic fashion when Christian Dedvukaj got up and down from 40 yards for birdie to seal a victory and Sokol Selmani finished the final 3 holes: birdie, par, birdie after being down 2 with 3 to play.” In day two of the tournament, he said “we decided to play the alternate shot matches during tropical storm Isiais.” Acknowledging that this year’s golf was unique considering the conditions, Mr. Curanaj remarked that New York managed to split the seven points and maintain the one point lead going into the final day of singles.  “On singles day there were 14 points on the line, NY shot out to an early lead owing to putts made by Sokol Selmani, Toni Dovolani, Tony Gjokaj and Mark Tushaj. Michigan was able to win 5 of the final 6 matches thanks to impressive performances by Zef Deda. Marko Gjolaj, Dennis Perkaj, Mark Berishaj and Mark Kalaj. The final result 14-14. As previous year’s winner, New York retained the Cup, in accordance with the rules. Christian Dedvukaj, Rookie of the Year, made a Cup clinching 7 foot putt on the 18th to win his match and retain the Cup. Each team has 4 wins, 4 losses and 2 ties, as the home team has yet to win on its own turf,” commented Mr. Curanaj. While there is much focus on the competition like at any sporting event, Mark Curanaj and his fellow golfers value the “camaraderie and respect displayed and earned” at the event as defining features of the first decade of the tournament. In response to my question about next year’s event, Mr. Curanaj said that the Cup will be contested at Whistling Straits, with future venues including some of the world’s finest gold resorts Pinehurst, Sea Island and Streamstrong. In terms of future events, the team coordinator said that though 2020 was cancelled due to Covid-related issues, an all-star team from this large group will pair together to compete against Albanians from Europe in Europe at some point in 2021 for the Inaugural Kastrioti Cup, guided by Florim Bajraktari.

 

For Mark Tushaj, such an event helps the community of golfers who love to participate and non-golfers who generate interest and are drawn to it, by reaching out to ask about it. “Aside from the 28 participants, 14 in each team, there are dozens of Albanians who would love to be part of it. It has really created a positive buzz in the community” To my question about sharing the excitement of the game now and in the future, Mr. Tushaj said that the hope is that “the event will continue into the next generation of young Albanian golfers. Perhaps we can develop a junior event or even a girl’s event for our youth.” He defined golf “as a great game that requires focus, independence and confidence, as well as athletic ability. The game of golf and this tournament would be a wonderful gift to give to our children.”

 

Gjon Sinishtaj, co-Captain of Michigan team, shared that same sentiment. I asked him to relate what he appreciates most about the game. Without hesitation, he answered ‘Friendship building!” and having a unique opportunity to meet with fellow Albanians that he would not have the chance of encountering in life. He said that he regards them as “brothers’ and is proud to be part of a unique brotherhood.

 

Noting the impact of the pandemic, Sokol Selmani, Captain of New York Team, explained that they had to make adjustments and the original location was moved from Whistling Straits to Turning Stone, where he added “the team had never won” in prior competitions. Despite the changes and the wearing of the masks indoors as required, Mr. Selmani said that the team did not allow that to affect the good mood of the event. Echoing the fellow golfers on both teams, captain Selmani underlined that when the round is over they shake hands and sit together cheering for their team in a respectful manner, and when everyone is done competing they go to dinner together where in typical fashion one tries to pay the bill before someone else gets to take care of it and, when the tournament ends they hug everyone while wishing each other good trip home. He made sure to credit Mark Curanaj, for making all the arrangements from flights to sleeping quarters, from tee time reservations to dinners, thus allowing the team to focus on golf. Indeed in the course of the interviews I observed that each one credited the other team member for their role in the event and in the team. In its tenth year, the Albanian Ryder Cup stayed in New York, but I hope the golf culture spreads throughout the community.

 

Below is the list of members: Team Michigan: Lou Lucaj, – Captain Gjon Sinishtaj, – Captain Luki Lucaj, Luvigji Lucaj, Gjon (John) Lucaj, Kujtim Sinishtaj, Mark Berishaj, Marko Gjolaj, Dennis Perkaj, Nick Palushaj, Zef Deda, Anton Sinishtaj, Frank Gjinaj, Mark Kalaj

Team NY: Sokol Selmani, – Captain Zef Gjelaj, – Captain Mark Curanaj, Martin Curanaj, Pashk Berisha, Simon Hajdaraj, Florim Bajraktari, Mark Tushaj, Tony Gjokaj, Shkelqim Kukaj, Christian Dedvukaj, Leon Gjoni, Toni (Driton) Dovolani, Paul Martini

Elizabeta Vrato, stërmbesa e Hajredin Beu Cakrani që mori pjesë në shpalljen e Pavarësisë së Shqipërisë (1912) – Nga Skënder Karaçica

 

Në Çikago ishte hapë lajmi se Elizabeta Vrato, intelektuale e botës Amerikane Univerzitare, e diplomuar ne e NYU dhe ka magjistruar në Shkencat Politiken në Universitetin LaSale në Filadelfia. Një vajzë e re dhe e shkolluar në të gjitha nivelet universitare në Amerikë (drejtësi) dhe aktiviste e dalluar në Fondacionin Bill Klinton,ka folur me gjuhën e krenarisë së është me prejardhje të gjakut shqiptar dhe mbesa e Hajredin beu Cakrani (Fier-Berat) cili në vitin (28 nëntor 1912) qëndroi në krah të Ismail Qemalit në aktin më të lartë të historisë të shpalljes se pavarësisë së Shqipërisë. 

Në mesin e 83 delegatëve që morrën pjesë në Vlorën historike, Hajredin Beu Cakrani, nënshkrimi i të cilit edhe sot e kësaj dite qëndron në dokumentin më të renësishëm Shqiptarë, I shënjuar me shumë modesti me shkronjën “H”.  

Familja Cakrani ishte familja fisnike e dinastisë shqiptare,që,në kronikat e kohës thuhet se e shkriu tërë pasurinë për çështjen e Shqipërisë të atdheut të shqiptarëve në Ballkan.Stërgjyshi i Elizabetaës ishte mik i afërt me Sami Frashërin në Stamboll,njeriun shqiptar dhe intelektuali i kohës që bëri reforma në Perandorinë Osmane dhe ishte një zë i fuqishëm për çështjen shqiptare dhe për Shqipërinë,ku,përmes librave të botuara ai i dërgonte përmes Hajredin beu  Cakrani për brezat shqiptarë dhe për Shqipërinë.

 

Për historinë dhe fatin e njerëzve që ikin nga atdheu,shkrimtari shqiptar Ismail Kadare,ndër të tjera thekson se në shkrimet e shenjta,sidomos në fillimet e (Bibles e të Besëlidhjes)dëshmohet ky synim,me renditjen e emrrave e të jetëshkrimit të shkurtër të përsonazheve të kohës.Në poezitë popullore të disa vendeve,e sidomos në atë shqiptare,thotë Kadare,takohet shpesh e njëjta dëndësi emrash e fatesh të qindra njerëzve .Tutje,shkrimtari ynë thekson se në Muzeun e Holokaustit të hebrenjve në Jeruzalem,në pjesën kushtuar fëmijve,brenda një sfere të errët që mishëron hapësirën e gjithësisë,dëgjohen ditë e natë,pambarimisht emrat e dhjetëra mijëra fëmijve hebrenj të vrarë nga të gjitha vendet e nga të gjithë popujt.

 

Po kështu është fati i familjes shqiptare Cakrani nga Berati,që jeta dhe regjimet pushtuese dhe së voni edhe komunizimi në Shqipëri me veshjen  ideologjike të bolshevizimit përmes së cilit atdheun i jepnin dimenzionin me përmasën e Rusisë.Këtu familja e të parëve të Elizabetaa Vrato,trualli shqiptar Cakrani i tha orëve të liga të kohës së këtu është Shqipëria dhe nuk bëhet tjetër.E reja me gjak shqiptar në Çikago ka marrë mbi vete detyrën dhe amanetin e të parëve për ripërtritjen të vizionit për Atdheun Shqiptar dhe për Shqipërinë ashtu si e dëshiruan familja fisnike dhe e dinastisë Cakrani.Shkeputja nga atdheu,ikja pa kthim,ka patur gjithmonë,por në historinë  shqiptare,ikja e shekullit XV në prag të natës otomane ka lënë gjurmë të pashlyeshme të arbëreshët e Italisë,ndërsa në ketë rrugëtim të Elizabetaës,dëshiron që e tërë kjo të bëhet rrezatim i pasionit të saj në brigjet e këtij atdheu që e ka emrin Shqipëri.

 

Përkundër ,,ligjeve,,të pandemisë së virusit korona,një takim pune me mikun e shqiptarëve Daniel Shure,profesor Gazmend Kapllani(Katedra Albanologjike),Mahmut Skenderi dhe Skënder Karaçica(SHSHA)në Çikago,ndër të tjera biseda mori kureshtjen tonë për Elizabeta Vrato,mbesa e familjes Cakrani në Berat dhe tërë historia në krah të Shqipërisë.Dhe,në këto çaste derisa bisdohej për mbesën shqiptare,mendja me shkoi tek poeti Jeronim de Rada,i cili për diasporën përdorte fjalët ,,gjak i shprishur,,.Duke dendësuar dramacitetin e fjalës,poeti i madh tregoi se ishte ai vetë bir i diasporës dhe i dhimbjes së saj.Por mbesa shqiptare me gjakun e freskët është bërë sy e vesh të di sa më shumë për Shqipërinë e të parëve të saj dhe të familjes nderi i kombit Cakrani…!Një ditë,mbesa shqiptare do të niset për Shqipëri dhe në Berat do të marrë frymë shqip dhe të shohë nga afër tokën atërore dhe,krenare që është bartëse e krenarisë së familjes Cakrani.

 

Në dokumentet arkivore thuhet se formacionet ushtarake gjermane Nazi-fashiste i janë drejtuar qeverisë së kohës në Tiranë që të dorëzojnë hebrejtë,por ata i kanë refuzuar dhe patën vendosur që t`i mbajnë në familjet e tyre.Kjo meritë i takon Kadri Cakrani(Balli Kombëtar) cili pos tjerash për hebrejtë ua siguroj edhe pasaportat shqiptare që të depertojnë në vendet tjere në botë dhe Amerikë.

 

Nje nga burimet e informacionit: http://www.thecounselorsbook.com/about-the-author/

Albimi i piktorit të shquar Avni Delvina kushtuar Presidentit Donald Trump në duart e Donald Trump Jr.

Voal.ch – Piktori i shquar shqiptar Avni Delvina ka hapur disa ekspozita me tema shumë pikante, duke mbajtur qendrim kritik ndaj politikës shqiptare.

Avni Delvina është fans i Presidentit Donald Trump. Ai i ka dedikuar po ashtu një ekspozitë me punimet e tij titilluar “The Donald”  të cilat pastaj i ka botuar në një album që siç e shohim nga fotografia bie direkt e në dorën e Donald Trum Jr. Është Evi Kokalari, një emër i njohur nga komunitetit shqiptaro-amerikan e përfshirë në fushatën elektorale që ia ka dorëzuar në dorë si dhuratë nga artisti.

Avni Delvina në rrjetin social i shpreh Evi Kokalarit mirënjohjen:

“Nje kenaqesi dhurimi i Albumit te Ekspozites time “THE DONALD”, djalit te Presidentit te USA, Donald Trump Jr. ….Nje flm nga zemra mikes time Evi Kokalari !”

 

LEKË GOJÇAJ NDËRROI JETË , KRYETARI I VATRËS NGUSHËLLON FAMILJEN

 

Me hidhërim të thellë njoftohet Komuniteti se të Martën me 4 Gusht 2020 ka pushuar së rrahuri zemra e Lekë Gojçaj, njeriut të dashur, atdhetarit të shquar, që është identifikuar me Shënjtëreshën Nënë Tereza. Ai së bashku me vëlla Pashkun (i ndjerë) sponsorizuan dhe vendosën Shtatoret e Shenjtëreshës me gjak Shqiptar NËNË TEREZA, që nga Amerika(New York-Michigan) e deri në Trojet Etnike, si Tuz, Prishtinë, Mitrovicë, Strugë etj.


Lek Gojçaj u lind në Sukruq të Malësisë me 7 Shkurt 1939, u nda nga jeta në moshën 81 vjeçare.
Njoftohet komuniteti se shërbimet funerale do të kryhen ditën e Enjte, 6 Gusht 2020, nga Ora 2 PM- 9 P.M. në Shtëpinë Mortore YORKTOWN FUNERAL HOME, që ndodhet në adresën:

945 EAST MAIN STREET, YORKOWN, NY 10588.

Mesha e DRITËS dhe Salikimet e fundit do të kremtohen ditën e Premte, me 7 Gusht 2020 ,duke filluar nga Ora 11. A.M. në Kishën Katolike Shqiptare “Zoja e Shkodrës” në Hartsdale,NY. Pas Meshës arkmorti me trupin e të ndjerit do të përcillet për në varrezat “GATE OF HEVEN”, që ndodhen në adresën:
10 West Stevens Ave, Hawthorne, NY.
Në Shtëpinë Mortore duhen respektuar rregullat që dikton Pandemia e COVID-19. Është e detyrueshme përdorimi i maskave dhe respektimi i distancës sociale.

•Kryetari i Federatës Panshqiptare të Amerikës z. Elmi Berisha në emër të Kryesisë dhe Këshillit të Vatrës i shpreh ngushëllimet më të thella familjes Gojçaj për humbjen e njeriut të tyre të dashur, mikut të Vatrës, një patriot i devotshëm që punoi pa u lodhur për çështjen Kombëtare. Pushoftë në Paqë shpirti i Tij!/Dalip Greca

 

HOW TO HONOR REGIS PHILBIN By Rafaela Prifti

 

Regis Philbin, American TV personality and media icon passed away from natural causes at 88. Shortly after the family made the announcement, a spokesperson expressed gratitude for the outpouring of love they have received and invited people to make donations to help the needy in his beloved New York.

In paying tribute to him, it behooves our community to honor the Albanian ancestry of Regis Philbin, as the son of Filomena Boscia, and grandson of Nicolamaria Boscia going all the way back to Francesco Boscia born in 1761 in Greci, Avellino, Campania, Italy.

In this article, I have reproduced his mother’s side of the family tree.  

Born on August 25, 1931, in the Bronx, Regis Francis Xavier Philbin, attended local schools and graduated from Cardinal Hayes High School. After receiving a sociology major from Notre Dame, Philbin joined the US Navy. In the 50s, Regis started working at local TV stations in California first as a stagehand then a news writer and years later a news anchor in San Diego, before gaining national exposure as a TV host. He moved to New York as a star of local morning television. In 1988 Regis teamed up with co-host Kathy Lee to have a national broadcast of the show. In 2001, Kelly Ripa was announced as the official replacement and went on to co-host the high-ranking program for another decade. Ripa paid tribute to her mentor Regis Philbin on the show by remembering Joy, his wife of 50 years and daughters J.J. and Joanna. His former wife Catherine Faylen, daughter Amy and son Daniel, who died in 2014. The crew also honored Regis as a “national treasure”. As a TV personality, Regis lived a good amount of his life in front of the camera. He was endowed with a gift of a charming storyteller. Philbin shared so much of his experiences, encounters and family stories with worldwide audiences. Most of his guests and people in his circle were aware of his Irish father roots. In fact, he was named after his father’s alma mater, Manhattan’s Regis High School.

Though Philbin had mentioned his Albanian ancestry from his mother’s side, and even pronounced a few Albanian words he learned from her as a child, he brought a complete family genealogy on the set of the show in 2010. His mother, Filomena was born in Manhattan whereas his grandmother Nicolamaria came from Greci, Italy and died in the Bronx in 1934. Holding a family tree poster on the set, an exited Regis Philbin, revealed that his mother’s side were forced to leave the home country, Albania, centuries ago and cross the Adriatic to settle in Italy in a small village called Greci. Through numerous records going back hundreds of years, it has been established that Greci was one of the settlements of the Arberesh community, early Albanian population that was forced out of Albania beginning in the last century of the Ottoman Empire. It is believed that a considerable number of the Arberesh community who have crossed the ocean and numerous families who live in the New York area originate from the same village. One documented example is the family of the former Congressman Joe DioGuardi. In fact, Philbin acknowledged the relation when he presented the genealogy diagram to his guest on the show, Kara DioGuardi, daughter of JoeDioguardi, whom he referred to as “distant cousin”. I was able to reproduce the family origins of Regis Philbin for the readers. *

 

 

Regis Philbin had a long and successful careers for decades leaving an indelieable imprint on American culture. He reached the hearts and minds of millions of Americans as host of Morning Shows and “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”. He has been honored with Emmy awards and acknowledged by his peers, and received his Hall of Fame induction in 2006.

It is upon us to honor Regis Philbin and his Albanian ancestry.

Regis Philbin – Walk of Fame in the Home Borough of the Bronx

The Bronx Borough President, Ruben Diaz Jr., who has hosted Albania Independence Day last November and has persistently honored the Albanian-American community as well as our historical and cultural personalities at varous events, frequently refers to the Bronx native, Regis Philbin.

“Regis Philbin was not only one the most recognizable media personalities of our time, but he never forgot his roots and was in the first class of inductees honored on the Bronx Walk of Fame in 1997,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. for DIELLI. “Regis Philbin was a class act who brought warmth, humor and wit to audiences for decades, and was a fine representation of both The Bronx residents and the Albanian community.”

Regis Philbin Walk of Fame sign is located on the corner of 153st and Grand Concourse, right by his alma mater Cardinal Hayes High School in his home borough of the Bronx.

 

 

BIBERAJ FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES FIRST SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM WITH RIT KOSOVO (AUK) FALL 2021 By Rafaela Prifti

 

INTERVIEW WITH MR. VISAR JASIQI, CHIEF DEVELOPMENT OFFICER AT RIT KOSOVO (AUK)

-As Chief Officer of the Unit of Institutional Advancement at RIT (AUK), what aspect of your job is most important to you?

The Institutional Advancement Unit has four areas of Development to support the university: Supporting Outstanding Talent and Student Experience; Supporting Research, New Program Development and Professorships; Campus Transformation; and Endowment Fund.

Supporting Outstanding Talent and Student Experience is most important for me. I belong to a generation that has been denied access to education in my native Albanian language in Kosovo. Part of my High School classes were conducted in a private house that was converted to a school as the parallel system of education during the 90’s. “Sami Frasheri” High School building was burned down in the war and is now a private museum. The House Schools (Shtepi – Shkolla) across Kosovo were made available by good will people while the parallel system of education was supported thanks to donations by the people of Kosovo and our diaspora.

Today, access to good education is constrained by financial means in Kosovo, which is the least economically developed county in Europe. Helping to provide the means for the talented and financially underprivileged youth is, in my view, the most noble part of my job and the most rewarding one for the society. Investment in these four years of study determines their success for the next 40 years of their life. And not just theirs, but the whole family and the society. I believe that investment in the human capital in the region is of vital importance to build a prosperous society.

-The Biberaj Foundation was established in 2018 on the 50th Anniversary of the Biberaj family’s arrival in the United States. Members of the Biberaj family have pursued careers ranging from education, media, law, arts, public service, retail, real estate, finance and philanthropy and have become valuable and contributing individuals of society. As strong believers in the benefits of higher education and in supporting their communities, the Biberaj Foundation dedicated $ 2.5 million to Albanian professionals in pursuit of graduate studies in the US through the Albanian American Development Foundation (MIP) in July 2018. In a Press Release issued last Sunday the Biberaj Foundation announced a $1.1 million Scholarship Program at RIT (AUK). Is this the first of its kind and how much of a relief does it bring at the time when colleges are faced with increased financial challenges?

Yes, this is the first Scholarship Program at RIT Kosovo (AUK) with the Biberaj Foundation.
The pandemic has caused an unprecedented human and health crisis. The measures necessary to contain the virus have triggered an economic crisis decimating our students’ financial ability to complete their studies. Some students struggled to complete their spring semester online without the technology they need at home. Others who rely on their part-time jobs to support their living expenses, have seen their employment put on hold. And, worst of all, due to personal or family loss of employment, some are uncertain if they will return to RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) next semester. The pandemic prevention measures also caused RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) to cancel its largest Scholarship Fundraising Gala Event in Prishtina, which was planned to take place this May. Many talented and financially underprivileged freshmen students that were hoping and preparing to join RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) through such scholarship funds are now seeing their academic hopes and dreams derailed. For this reason, we have established the COVID-19 Student Relief Fund to help struggling students and families.

The Biberaj Foundation Scholarship Program goes beyond the current pandemic crisis as it strategically tries to serve marginalized groups with preference given to women and students coming from rural areas; thus creating a necessary human capital that can help increase the prosperity of the region they are coming from. As BF noble mission is aligned with our mission, RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) has proudly joined this endeavor by committing to partake in costs associated to living expenses in Kosovo and New York campus.


-What are the plans of reopening in the fall following a shutdown as was the case in the US. Have you decided on a learning program online or in-person or a blend of both?

We have not paused our educational delivery for a single day. We were somewhat prepared and as soon as the virus emerged in Europe (Italy) we started preparation to execute our Emergency Response and immediately transferred to alternative modes of delivery (online). Now of course the events such as Forum Speaker Events, Career Fair, Gala Fundraising Dinner, etc that included social gatherings have halted while some moved online. We currently have four plans ready for the fall semester: 1. On-site
2. Online 3. Blended on-line lecture, On-site lab and exams 4. Blended synchronous On-site and On-line lectures, with half of students on site and half online, in rotation. We are monitoring closely the situation and we remain agile to adapt to the recommendation by the health institution and the state and execute one of the plans.

– Biberaj Foundation Press Release states the list of requirements for the applicants and it also puts emphasis on encouraging women and minorities in the field of science. Can you talk more about it?

It is the desire of the Biberaj Family that the scholarship supports marginalized groups, young talented individuals (with 75% to 50% women) that have not have had access to good education nor have the financial means for college studies. At RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) we have other programs that support financially underprivileged students from specific regions or ethnicities (i.e. Ulqin, Dibra, Kosovo Regional scholarships, Minority Scholarships, etc) and we have worked with Biberaj Foundation to synergize and target both underrepresented students coming from regions such as Tropoja, Presheva, Plave and Guci, etc. and Minorities such as Roma, Bosniaks, Gorani, etc. This helps to further diversify our student body which aids to the learning process.

-When does the application process begin? Do you have indications of how the community there feels about it?

The first scholarship will be awarded to students starting in Fall of 2021. Our plans are to open the application process for the Biberaj Foundation Scholarship by end of September 2020. We have issued the announcement on July 20 and we already started receiving inquiries from potential beneficiaries of this scholarship. The community has accepted this announcement with great joy and expressed gratitude to the family.

 -The Albanian American community is familiar with RIT Kosovo (AUK). Dielli covered the orientation presented at Kosova Consulate in New York last November. Do you expect enrollments from the diaspora? What does the data suggest? 

Around 18% of students at RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) are not from Kosovo and we do get enrollments from the diaspora as well. In this fall, due to the pandemic travel restrictions and the uncertainties that come with it, we expect the diaspora enrollment to be affected a little bit.
-What would you want to say to the community organizations and specifically VATRA, a 108 year-old Federation still operating in America about studying at RIT Kosovo (AUK)?

To the youth: 

RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) is a good opportunity for the students of the Albanian-American Diaspora, who add to the fabric and network of our community and arrive at our campus with a diversity of interests and backgrounds in addition to the intellectual passion to graduate and succeed with a US Degree.  The benefit of getting the RIT Degree in Kosovo is the cost that amounts to a fraction of the price that one pays in the US. Studying at RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) gives the comfort of being next to your extended family members in this part of the world, while enjoying the culture of your ancestors, and still being able to receive an accredited US degree. This degree is the same one awarded to students at the main RIT campus in Rochester, New York. Kosovo is a new country with the youngest population in Europe. Every second person is under 25 years of age, which makes this place with a population of 1.8 million a very joyful environment. At our Kosovo campus, student-centeredness is one of our core values.

To the community organizations: 

​RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) was founded to support Kosova and its neighboring countries to develop their economies, societies and democratic institutions, by providing an outstanding American education in Kosova and the region. We are proud to witness how our institution has positively impacted Kosovar and regional society throughout the years. Our Success Stories are best represented by our Alumni achievement: 95% of our Alumni employed; 68% hold management positions; whereas 53% are mid and senior managers; 10% working in government, agencies or municipalities, including a Minister of Economy in Northern Macedonia and 4 Alumni elected to serve for the Parliament of Kosova; 11% of our Alumni are entrepreneurs and employ more than 3,000 Kosovars; of alumni who pursued master’s degrees, 65% received some form of scholarship, and 47% were awarded full scholarships to study abroad. Almost all returned to give back to Kosova or the neighboring country.

While we have great cases of success to share with you, we must acknowledge that the recent pandemic and the measure necessary to contain the virus have triggered an economic crisis adversely impacting our students’ financial ability to complete their studies. At the same time, many talented and financially underprivileged freshmen students that were hoping and preparing to join RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) are now seeing their academic hopes and dreams derailed. Each year, we award more than $500,000 in student scholarships through the supporting U.S. Organization, “The American University in Kosovo Foundation Inc,” a New York 501(c)(3) charitable organization and other people of good will that support RIT Kosovo (A.U.K). It appears that this year, that amount will not be sufficient.  The support from the Albanian American community organization enable generations of future leaders in Kosovo, the region and further abroad to receive a quality American education and to become active and integrated members in our societies. I hope that you can join us in supporting the youth in Kosovo and the region.

Librat e djegura nga forcat serbe në Terstenik të Drenicës të shkrimtarit Rifat Kukaj – Nga Skënder Karaçica

Librat e djegura nga forcat serbe në Terstenik të Drenicës të shkrimtarit Rifat Kukaj, ishte bërë një metër (pluhur e hi) në bibliotekë

Në Drenicë,gjatë luftës dhe të regjimit fashit të Serbisë,u vranë shumë drenicasë,gra,fëmijë e pleqë si dhe u dogjën shtëpitë dhe u vodh pasuria e tyre.Kjo që ndodhi në Drenicë,ishte përsertija e skenarëve të Nikolla Pashiqit në vitet e rënda në këtë anë,kur forcat serbe vrisnin e digjnin çdo gjë shqiptare(1913-1945).

Dora vrastare me shënjen e gjenocidit ndaj shqiptarëve dhe tokën e djegur të Kosovës,dy shkrimtarët e njohur të letërsisë Ymer Elshani (u vra dhe u dogj me tërë familjen në masakrën e Paklekut),ndërsa Rifat Kukaj forcat serba ia dogjën shtëpinë në Terstenik(Drenicë)bashkë me qindra libra në bibliotektekë,
që për krijuesit letrarë është pasuria e veçantë në jetë.

Kur është kthyer shkrimtari Rifat Kukaj në Terstenik për të parë nga afër se çfarë kishte ndodhur pas aksionit fashist të forcave serbe,kështu rrëfen inxh.Islam Xhemajli,shkrimtari ynë Rifat Kukaj pati thënë se e gjeta shtëpinë e djegur bashkë me qindra libra në bibliotekë,që,sipas kujtimeve të shkrimarit, kishte mbetur (pluhur e hi)një metër lartë mbi dyshemenë e shtëpisë në Terstenik të Drenicës.

Bashkë me shqiptarët,Serbia fashiste vriste e digjte edhe librin shqip…!

Çikago,korrik të motit 2020

SHKOLLIMI ESHTE FORCE SHUMEFISHUESE, THOTE KEN BIBERAJ, ZEDHENES I FONDACIONIT BIBERAJ Bisedoi: Rafaela Prifti

 

Fondacioni Biberaj u ngrit në 2017 dhe një vit më vonë shpalli projektin e parë të bashkë-sponsorimit të programit për Kanditat të Shkencave nga Fondacioni për Zhvillim Shqiptar-Amerikan. Buxheti prej 2.5 milionë dollarë i kushtohej profesionistëve shqiptarë që do ndiqnin studimet pasuniversitare në Amerikë. Si shkoi partneritet me këtë Fondacion?

Ken Biberaj: Krijimi i Fondacionit Biberaj në vitin 2017 ka qenë ngazëllim për familjen tonë. Nga partneriteti i parë me Fondacionin për Zhvillim Shqiptar-Amerikan deri te programi i bursave që u shpall këtë javë, jemi të vendosur të japim kontributin tonë për të dhënë më shumë qasje tek mundësitë për shkollim.

Fondacioni Biberaj njoftoi për 1.1 milionë dollarë bursa përmes Institutit të Teknologjisë Roçester në Kosovë – Rochester Institute of Technology, RIT (Kosovo) AUK – për vitet 2021 deri në 2024. Ky është bashkëpunimi i parë me këtë universitet. A mund të na thoni se çfarë ju tërhoqi tek ky institucion?

Ken Biberaj: Për një projekt të tillë ka shumë rëndësi të lidhesh me partnerin e duhur dhe ne i jemi mirënjohës Institutit të Teknologjisë Roçester – RIT (Kosovo) AUK për përkrahjen e tyre në krijimin dhe ngritjen e programit.

Programi i Bursave për vitet shkollore 2021-2024 rithekson pjesëmarrjen e femrave dhe pakicave. A mund të flisni më shumë për këtë?

Ken Biberaj: Bursat synojnë të arrijnë pjesëmarrje nga gjinia femërore nga 50-75% dhe ne e kemi për nder ta theksojmë këtë. Synimi është të përfshihen sa më shumë kategori dhe sa më shumë nga moshat e reja si edhe nga rajone dhe grup-mosha të ndryshme demografike.

Si matet suksesi i projekteve të Fondacionit? Si e vlerësoni rrezikun që përfshin një program?

Ken Biberaj: Rëndësia qëndron tek mbledhja e formularëve për t’iu dhënë kanditatëve të mundshëm mjetet për shkollimin e lartë, dhe ata nga ana e vet të ndihmojnë komunitetet nga vijnë, t’i japim përparësi studimeve në shkencë, teknologji, inxhineri, matematikë dhe gazetari. Mbetemi me shpresë se kjo nismë do t’i jap zemër edhe donatorëve të tjerë në botë të përkrahin programe të ngjashme.

Unë kam patur fatin të marr bursë të qeverisë amerikane për studime pasuniversitare dhe mund të them se kjo e ka formësuar jetën time. Si ndihen bursistët e Fondacionit Biberaj?

Ken Biberaj: Familja jonë është në gjendje të japë bursa për shkak të mundësive të pashoqe që na janë dhanë në Shtetet e Bashkuara. Prandaj ndiejmë ngazëllim jo vetëm për të mbështetur programin për shtimin e mundësive të arsimimit por edhe për aspektin e lidhjes së tij me kërkesën që bursistët të studiojnë për një kohë të caktuar në Amerikë. Shkollimi është forcë shumëfishuese dhe këta të rinj kur të kthehen në vendet e tyre do të kenë përvojën dhe bagazhin për ta kthyer mundësinë e dhënë tek komunitetet nga vijnë.

Sa shumë u mendova se çfarë do të ndodhë nesër me mua….. Nga Aleksandra Papa

 

Nuk i kisha mbushur akoma 30 dhe më duhej të lija familjen, karierën, vëndin ku u linda dhe u rrita për një vend tjetër fqinj që t’ju jepja femijëve të mij të vegjël 3 dhe 6 vjeç një fëmijëri dhe jetë më të mirë.

Sa mbërrita në vendin e ri jo vetëm që nuk ju dhashë ditë më të bukura fëmijve të mij por shumë gjëra ju munguan.

Mua kjo më plagoste më shumë se çdo gjë.

Por vendosa t’ju jepja atë që më kish mbetur e vetme.

Dashurinë time dhe përkëdheljet. Ata ngopeshin vetëm me këto se nuk dinin gjë tjetër më tepër, përveç dashurise tonë.

Shpejt jeta jone në vendin e ri ndryshoi dhe atyre nuk ju mungonte më asgjë.

Por unë shpejt fillova të mendoja për të ardhmen time, për pensionin tim.

Si do na vejë pensioni me gjithë këto vite pune të regjistruara në shtete të ndryshme.

Pa mbushur unë akoma 40 vendosëm të vinim në USA përsëri për një jetë edhe më të mirë për neve dhe fëmijët tanë.

Filluan vështirësitë përsëri nga e para. Në fillim shumë gjëra na mungonin por përshtatja ishte më e shpejtë dhe e thjeshtë, falë eksperiencës së emigracionit të parë dhe lehtësirave që të ofroheshin në USA.

Vite pune të reja. Shkolla, kurse dhe seminare të ndryshme. Pozicione pune të ndryshme simbas asaj që ti ke dëshirë të bësh.

Kënaqësia ishte e paparë nga plotësimi i dëshirave dhe ëndrrave.

Unë gjithmonë mendoja për vlerën e pensionit, atëhere kur vitet e mija do të iknin.

Tani shoh se koha dhe vitet kanë rrjedhur shpejt.

Kur mendoj se 30 vjet rresht kam menduar për vitet e pensionit them me vete “çfarë shperdorim i kohës dhe i mendimeve”

Covid-19 pllakosi. Ka paralizuar mendjet e tërë rruzullit tokësor. Kaos gjithandej. Njerëzit janë dhe do jenë me gojë akoma më të “mbyllura”.

Mendova me vete: “Të nesërmen tonë askush nuk e di”.

Dimë vetëm një gjë, që e nesërmja është një ditë e re, por gjithmonë një ditë më pak.

A ia vlen vallë kaq shumë të menduarit kur jemi tepër të komanduar nga faktorë të jashtëm…..

Alex-Sandra

(Video) Pellumb Lamaj, Fytyra e Lirise Përgatiti TV AlbaLife,NYC

NJë dokumentar i përgatitur  nga  TV AlbaLife,NYC me drejtuese Kozeta Këze Zylo, për krijuesin dhe të përndjekurin politik, i burgosur në Spaç, në moshën 19 vjeçare , të titulluar Pellumb Lamaj,  Fytyra e Lirise./ 26.12.2015. Pëllum Lamaj tregon ferrin e burgut të Spaçit dhe kërkon drejtësi. Jo hakmarrje, por drejtësi!

 

 

KONGRESISTI PATRICK MALONEY FTOI KRYETARIN E VATRËS NË WASHINGTON D.C.

-Kryetari i Vatrës tha për gazetën DIELLI se Kongresisti Maloney premtoi se do të qëndroi fuqishëm në anën e shqiptarëve të Kosovës-

-Kongresisti Patrick Maloney e ftoi kryetarin e Vatrës në Washington për të diskutuar rreth problemeve të Kosovës-

Kongresisti Patrick Maloney(NY-18) të premten me 17 korrik 2020 vizitoi bizneset e vogla në Wappingers Falls. Ai u ndal dhe bisedoi me biznesmenët e zonës së tij elektorale nr 18. Kjo vizitë në Wappingers Falls ishte ndalesa e katërt në turneun e tij në rrethet historike të Luginës Hudson. Ai shoqërohej nga kryetari i bashkisë Wappingers Falls, Matt Alexander. Qëllimi i turneut ishte diskutimi i sfidave për rihapjen e bizneseve që ishin të mbyllura për shkak të Pandemisë së koronavirusit. New Yorku, tha ai, ka marrë goditjen më të madhe gjatë pandemisë dhe bizneset e vogla janë goditur shumë rëndë. U diskutua për daljen nga kriza që ka shkaktuar Pandemia dhe për rrugët e ndihmës me fonde federale.

Rep. Maloney bëri një vizitë edhe në Patsy’s Pizzeria, pronë e z. Berisha, e cila u hap me 17 korrik. Gazeta lokale”Southern Dutchess News” në numrin e 22 korrikut i kushtoi dy shkrime vizitës të Rep. Maloney. Në faqene parë të saj publikohej fotografia ku kongresisti,i shoqeruar nga kryetari i bashkise, bisedonte me Elmi Berishën dhe Anton Rajën, si dhe një fotografi ku paraqitet familja Berisha.

Një artikull më vete i kushtohej historikut të restorantit Patsy’s Pizzeria, pronë e z. Berisha. Gazeta përshkruan historikun e restorantit dhe tregon se si familja Berisha investoi pasi bleu ndërtesën dhe bëri rinovime.Pizzeria e Patsy është dinastia kryesore e padiskutueshme e picave të Nju Jork-ut.E nisur nga legjenda Pasquale Lancieri, Patsy’s Pizzeria ndjek origjinën e saj prej më shumë se një shekull.

Kongresistit Maloney i tërhoqën vëmendjen fotografitë e ekspozuara në restorantin Patsy’s Pizzeria ,ku Berisha ishte në fotografi me ish presidentin Bill Klinton. Maloney tregoi se ka qenë pranë Presidentit Bill Klinton, kur u morën vendime të rëndësishme për Kosovën dhe vazhdon të jetë në krahun e Kosovës.

Biseda rreth Kosovës ishtë me interes për kongresistin dhe për kryetarin e Vatrës.U fol gjatë rreth situatës së tanishme në Kosovë dhe qëndrimet e Washingtonit rreth dialogur Kosovë-Serbi.

Kryetari i Vatrës tha për gazetën DIELLI se Kongresisti Maloney premtoi se do të qëndroi fuqishëm në anën e shqiptarëve të Kosovës sepse kjo është ajo çfarë ai beson personalisht. Kryetari i Vatrës dhe kongresisti

Maloney u pajtuan se Amerika nuk ka asnjë aleat më të mirë se Shqiptarët në rajon dhe se gjithëmonë do të jemi në miqësi të përhershme me njeri-tjetrin.

Kongresisti premtoi se së shpejti do të takohej me kryetarin e Vatrës në Washington për t’i diskutuar nga afër problemet e Kosovës dhe qëndrimet e Vatrës./Dielli

 

EDUCATION IS A FORCE MULTIPLIER, SAYS KEN BIBERAJ, SPOKESPERSON OF BIBERAJ FOUNDATION By Rafaela Prifti

 

The Biberaj Foundation started in 2017 and announced its first project of co-funding the Albanian-American Development Foundation Master’s Degree Fellowship Program in July 2018. It was a support of $2.5 million dedicated to Albanian Professionals in pursuit of graduate studies in the US. How did the partnership go? 

Ken Biberaj: Our family was excited to create the Biberaj Foundation in 2017. From our first partnership with AADF to the scholarship program with RIT Kosovo (AUK), we announced this week, we have sought to give back through increased access to educational opportunity.

 

Yes, the recent announcement of the Biberaj Foundation of a $1.1 million Scholarship Program at RIT Kosovo (AUK) starting in 2021 through 2024 is a first time partnership. Can you share what attracted you to this particular institution? 

Ken Biberaj: It is always important to have the right partner when implementing a program like this, and we are grateful to RIT Kosovo (AUK) for their support in creativity in developing this program.

 

The 2021-2024 Scholarship Program puts emphasis on women and minorities. Can you talk about that? 

Ken Biberaj: This scholarship aims to ensure that between 50-75% of recipients are women, something that we take great pride in emphasizing. The goal is to cast a wide net and reach as many young people as possible, from various regions and demographics.

 

How does your Foundation measure the success of the program? How do you weigh the risks?  

Ken Biberaj: It will be important to reach as many applicants as possible, provide them with the resources to pursue higher education, give back to their communities, prioritize learning in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and journalism. Hopefully this initiative will encourage other donors from around the world to also support similar efforts.

 

-I am a recipient of a US government scholarship for graduate studies and I can say from first-hand experience that it has changed my life. What are some of the stories you hear from the Biberaj Foundation recipients? 

Ken Biberaj: Our family is in a position to provide this scholarship because of the incredible opportunities we received by being in the United States. That is why we are so excited to not only support this scholarship for enhanced access to educational opportunity, but to also tie it to a requirement that recipients also spend time studying in the United States. Education is a force multiplier, and when these young people return home, they will have the experience and background to truly give back to their community.