24 Dec UF in Kosovo Day 7: Perspective, starstruckness and nostalgia
Hi there and Happy Holidays!
Saturday 15th was our first, and only full, day in Pristina, Kosovo. It started off amazingly as our hostel for some fantastic reason had decided to give us free breakfast – so to our surprise we all woke up to a warm croissant each. After once again collecting ourselves we rushed off to the first meeting of the day – Iniciativa Kosovare per Stabilitet (IKS). We got lost and found our way and then finally met up with the kind Florina, who broadened our perspectives on Kosovo. IKS is a kosovare NGO working with research and information for good governance and social justice in Kosovo, and is currently funded by amongst others Olof Palme International Center. Florina answered all our questions about the current situation in Kosovo with her view and contrasted many of the images about the country that we had gained earlier in the trip.
Getting all christimassy at Kosovare Initiativa per Stabilitet’s office.
After the meeting the we all did some sightseeing. The main tourist attractions of Pristina are all in walking distance and equally interesting; the futuristic National Library, the Mother Theresa Cathedral, Bill Clinton Avenue with matching statue and the Newborn-statue. Kosovo is celebrating 10 years of independence, which you can see at the picture below. Another strong impression was the Heroine Statue just opposite the Newborn Statue – a picture of a female face constructed by 20 000 needles – one for every woman raped during the conflict.
John, Ebba, Rebecka and Prandies illustrating their high hopes for the kosovan society?
Coming home from our sightseeing some of us met up with Oskar Wallner, political science student from Lund and currently an intern at the Swedish Embassy in Kosovo. It was nice to chat with someone a bit closer to us on their walk in life and hear all about how Pristina is for young people. I also have to admit that I think we all were a bit jealous.
From our café date with Oskar we rushed on to meet Ulrika Richardson-Golinski – head of UNDP in Kosovo (and a fellow swede). Fighting our starstruckness we managed to get many answers to the questions lingering in our minds – was there a humanitarian crisis in northern Kosovo? (No, not by UN standards) Should Kosovo be granted VISA liberalisation? (Yes, it is a right, and denying them it is not a way to fight organized crime) What is most needed to bring a solution to the situation between Serbia and Kosovo? (Reconciliation and trust) Inspired and grateful we thanked Ulrika and left the meeting with a lot of inspiration.
Ulrika admiring the UF mug we gifted her with after our meeting and the travel group posing.
Finally, the time had come for our last night together. The whole group met up with three amazing medicine students from KOMS and our new friend Oskar to eat a nice dinner together. Travel coordinator Fredrika (me) and travel assistant Embla held a speech to our amazing group, thanking each and every one for their positivity, interest and amazing dance moves that we had the pleasure to take part of during the trip. With all the nostalgia taken care of the group finished our last night up with some jazz tunes vs latino vibes.
Fredrika Andersson, Travel Coordinator 2018/2019.