Sitting in a friend’s studio apartment, listening to traffic pass on the busy Washington, D.C. street outside, Kosovo feels very far away. It feels even farther when I think of how much has changed in the newborn country since my last – and only – visit in 2006. The 2008 declaration of independence completed the split the Albanian majority began in 1990; the “young Europeans” now have a constitution, a new flag, even a female president.
When I was last in Kosovo, I was just beginning to learn about development and human rights. My visit helped spark an interest in conflict resolution and civic empowerment that has led me to study these issues at Columbia. I’m excited to finally be getting hands-on experience in a grassroots organization abroad; I’m honored to have the opportunity to support the women of the Kosova Women’s Network and Romane Romnja as they work for Roma women’s rights. I’m a bit nervous at the challenge ahead, but I’m looking forward to tackling it.
Today, the first day of AP orientation in D.C., was the day that my fellowship began to feel real. But it is still hard to imagine what will be waiting for me when I step through the doors of Prishtina International in less than a week.
Posted By Samantha Hammer
Posted May 23rd, 2011