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International Development, Politics, and Post-Conflict Societies - Kosovo and the Balkans

An Unforgettable Experience in Europe's Newest Country





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A Feature Story by the University of Alberta International:
Exploring the Beauty of Post-Conflict Kosovo through the Balkans Peace Program

Reflections from Kosovo - an edited book with contributions by Balkans Peace Program 2013 participants is now available for sale... Order your copy!
My Kosovo Experience 
- an edited book with contributions by the Balkans Peace Program 2012 participants is  available for sale...Order your copy! Another edited book with contributions by BPP 2014 participants will be coming out soon.

Some Pictures and Testimonials from BPP 2015

Some Pictures and Testimonials from BPP 2014

Some Pictures and Testimonials from BPP 2013

A Brief Report (with pictures and testimonials) from the Balkans Peace Program 2012

The Balkans Peace Program (BPP) Summer 2016: International Development, Politics, and Post-Conflict Societies - Kosovo and the Balkans is an educational program that provides students enrolled in a university outside of Kosovo and the region with the opportunity to spend three weeks in Kosovo studying and learning about development in practice in a post-conflict area right in the middle of Europe. Participants of the program will also visit three other Balkans countries, Albania (listed no. 4 in the New York Times' list of places to go in 2014), Macedonia, and Montenegro. This is the fourth annual Balkans Peace Program.

The program consists of three key components:

  1. one academic course (of 7 ECTS credits or its equivalent in Canadian/American credits, i.e. 3 credits) on International Development, Politics, and Post-Conflict Societies: Kosovo and the Balkans and meetings with government officials in Kosovo;

  2. a tour of historic and tourist sites of Kosovo, Montenegro, Albania, and Macedonia;

  3. cultural immersion  - students will be paired with local host brothers and sisters and get to spend time with their families so as to learn about the Albanian culture, traditions, and hospitality in Kosovo;

  4. publication opportunity - provided you submit your BPP paper (essay) in time and as per given guidelines, you may be included in the BPP 2016 edited book scheduled to be published in the fall of 2016. 

BPP Summer 2016 takes place from 6 to 27 August 2016. Participants will be accommodated in Gjilan, the fourth largest city in Kosovo, with a population of about 95,000, located on the southeast corner of Kosovo, some 45 km southeast of Prishtina, the capital.

Application deadline:                  Extended to 1 May 2016

For University of Alberta students: All U of A participants in the BPP-Summer 2016 (regardless of their major) will be awarded 3 credits as POL S 486:International Development, Politics, and Post-Conflict Societies, upon successful completion of the program.

Participants from other Universities: You will receive 7 ECTS credits. An official transcript will be issued by the Gjilani University College. A copy of the transcript will also be sent directly to your University's registrar office for credit transfer. Previous BPP participants from many universities across the world have successfully gotten their BPP credit recognized by their home institutions (such as University of Calgary, Mount Saint Vincent University, Cape Breton University, McGill University, Sir Wilfrid Laurier University, Royal Military College of Canada, University of Saskatchewan, Lile University (France), Dublin University College (Ireland), Charles University (Czech Republic), University College London (UK), University of Surrey (UK), etc.)

Successful completion of the program means that you participate in all program activities and daily lectures and that you submit a written essay / paper in accordance with the guidelines set by the principal program instructor.

Cost:                                        1,650.00 EUR per person

Included: program costs, living with a host family (incl. room and board), all program activities, tours, accommodation and meals while on program tours. Not included: transportation costs from your country of origin to Kosovo.

Grants/Scholarships:                 The Bislimi Group Foundation has a small amount of funds available for this program that will be used to offset, at least partially (up to 600.00 EUR), the program cost for a select number of participants on a need-basis. Please note your request/need to be considered for a grant in your application letter.

How to apply:                           Submit your complete BPP Summer 2016 Application using our ONLINE APPLICATION FORM.    
A complete application consists of:
- a CV / Resume;
- a cover letter explaining your interest in the program and/or the area / field of study;
- a copy of your college / university transcript (only if you are requesting financial support). Unofficial transcripts issued to the student are acceptable;
- a certificate of enrolment / student status (only if you are not submitting a transcript).  
You can upload each of these documents onto our Online Application Form as long as they are in either DOC or PDF format.

Eligibility:                                  To be eligible for the program, you must:
 be a currently enrolled student in good standing (at the undergrad or grad level) at a recognized institution in your home country; 
 be at least 18 years old;
 possess a valid passport for travel to Kosovo and the area;
 possess valid health insurance for the duration of your stay in Kosovo and the region.

Contact person:                         Mr. Rinor Shkodra
Balkans Peace Program Coordinator 


For many years in the last two decades the Western Balkans countries have inspired headlines in papers, journals, magazines, tv shows, news, etc. The international attention this region has earned has mainly come from the unrest, wars, and conflicts that have engulfed it for years.

Today, however, as the last piece of puzzle of the break-up process of former Yugoslavia has been resolved, namely the international recognition of Kosovo (albeit partial), this region has turned into a calm and developing area. Countries of the region have now similar ambitions - all targeting eventual accession to the European Union and NATO. Indeed, several of the region's countries have made important progress in their Euro-Atlantic integration process. Croatia and Albania for instance have already joined NATO, while Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Albania have already benefited from the visa liberalization process with the EU.

Among all these countries, Kosovo is the most special. It provoked NATO's first ever military intervention in 1999, was placed under UN administration until 2008, and became the newest country in Europe on February 17, 2008. 

Despite its troubled past, Kosovo's present and future are quite promising. Kosovo has the youngest population in Europe. It has a geography that beautifully combines mountains and valleys, rivers and lakes, summer and winter attractions. Kosovo continues to be a hot political issue in many international decision-making circles. Its relations with Serbia continue to pose challenges to Kosovo's future and the future of the entire region. The EU's involvement in Kosovo has grown rapidly after the declaration of independence. The largest EU mission ever has now been deployed to Kosovo – EULEX, the EU Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo.

Both in terms of economic development and politics, Kosovo poses both an opportunity and a challenge for EU's performance as an international actor. In Kosovo, the EU has the opportunity to shape and ensure a European future for this new country and make it an example of modern statebuilding. By the same token, EU's failure to do so ensures the shrinking of its international importance as a global actor.

Therefore, in an effort to provide foreign students with a unique opportunity to learn more about Kosovo and the Balkans, experience the region in person, and enjoy the beauties it has to offer, the University of Gjilan "Kadri Zeka" and The Bislimi Group Foundation have joined together in brining to you the fifth annual Balkans Peace Program, Summer 2016: Post-Conflict Development in Kosovo.


The Program and the Schedule of Activities 

The Balkans Peace Program, Summer 2016: Post-Conflict Development in Kosovo consists of three key components:

-         education / academics: participants will be offered a college course on the Politics and Development of the Balkans with Focus on Kosovo at the Gjilani University College in Gjilan, Kosovo. Upon successful completion of the course, each participant will be given an official transcript from the Gjilani College to show that they have earned 7 ECTS credits (equivalent to 0.5/3.0 Canadian credits or 3.0 American credits). The course will be taught in English by well qualified instructor. During this course, participants may also be addressed by guest speakers.

-         culture / networking: participants will be hosted by Kosovar families who have students of similar ages with participants. Participants will live with these host families during the entire program; enjoy the traditional Kosovo foods; the traditional Albanian hospitality; create friendships with their Kosovo peers, etc.

-         sight-seeing / tours: participants will be taken on an organized tour of historic sites throughout Kosovo. They will also be visiting Albania, Montenegro, and Macedonia.

Participants will be staying in Gjilan, Kosovo. This will give them the opportunity of experiencing Kosovo beyond its capital of Prishtina. The following is a detailed agenda of all activities. TBG Foundation reserves the right to change the agenda if need be. Any changes in the agenda will be communicated to participants in time.

Dates Activities
Saturday, Aug 6 - Sunday, Aug 7 Arrival and check-in of all participants. We will pick up all participants at the Prishtina International Airport and Prishtina Bus Terminal. Participants will be placed with their host families.
Monday, Aug 8 - Thursday, Aug 18 Daily lectures, International Development, Politics, and Post-Conflict Societies: Kosovo and the Balkans (one morning / one afternoon session   daily). This is an academic course. Official transcripts will be issued by the Gjilan College for each attending participant. The course will be taught in English.
Saturday, Aug 13 Tour of Kosovo – visiting historical and religious sites across the country, including medieval monasteries and mosques, sites of the recent Kosovo War.
Sunday, Aug 14 Picnic and BBQ in the nearby picturesque village of Bukovik or the running trails of Stanishor.
Friday, Aug 19 Visit at the Parliament of Kosovo as well as other Government Offices, and the Kosovo National Museum in Prishtina. 
Saturday, Aug 20 Depart for Albania. Visit and lunch at the Castle of Shkodra. Visit and dinner at the Castle of Ulqin at the shores of Montenegro. Spend the night in Montenegro or Shkoder, Albania.
Sunday, Aug 21 - Monday, Aug 22 Drive through Albania on the way to Macedonia -- visit Kruje (the Castle of Kruje / Scanderbeg), Elbasan, and Pogradec. Spend the night a Pogradec Lake Hotel on the border between Albania and Macedonia.  On Monday, drive through Macedonia - visit Skopje (Shkup), the capital of Macedonia. Arrive in Gjilan by evening.
Tuesday, Aug 23 Time to do shopping and/or other activities that are of special interest to you.
Wednesday, Aug 24 Host Family Day – activities / visits of participants with their host families.
Thursday, Aug 25 Participate and speak at the BPP's International Education Seminar. Students pick their own topic. Attendance is open to the public, but will mainly include local students.
Friday, Aug 26 Closing ceremony and cocktail party: students are handed out their Program Certificates; friends and host families are invited for a cocktail party.
Saturday, Aug 27 - Sunday, Aug 28 Program Staff will take participants to the Prishtina International Airport or Bus Terminal for departures from Kosovo.


Program Features

Program Staff are working intensively to make sure that important political figures of Kosovo will address the participants, such as the President of Kosovo and other Government and Parliament Officials.   

Participants are required to write an essay about their experience in this program. All essays are to be written in English and are due by end of October 2016.

Selected essays from the BPP 2016 participants will be published in an edited book. The book is expected to come out in late 2016 or early 2017 through an academic published based in the US and Canada.

At the end of the program, participants will be awarded a Certificate of Completion issued jointly by TBG Foundation and the University of Gjilan along with an official transcript for academic credit purposes.


Payments, Refunds, and Travel to Kosovo

Once you are offered a place in the program, you will be asked to pay your full program cost. You will be given details as to the best way to make the payment – such as sending it through a bank wire or electronic transfer, for instance.

If you decide to not participate in the program after you have made your program cost payment, you will be refunded according to the following rules:

-         you will receive a refund of 100%  if you cancel your participation more than 25 days in advance of the program start date;

-         you will receive a refund of 75%  if you cancel your participation between 25 and 20 days in advance of the program start date;

-         you will receive a refund of 50%  if you cancel your participation between 19 and 14 days in advance of the program start date;

-         No refund if you cancel less than 14 days in advance of the program start date or you withdraw once the program has commenced.

The Prishtina International Airport “Adem Jashari” (IATA code: PRN) is Kosovo’s gateway to the world.  Major European and regional airlines (such as Austrian Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa, Adria Airways, Swiss Airlines, Germanwings, AirBerlin, Albanian Airlines, Croatian Airlines, etc.) as well as a number of charter airlines serve Prishtina on a regular basis.  There are also several regular bus routes that connect Prishtina, Kosovo to many neighbouring destinations (Tirana, Podgorica, Skopje, Istanbul, Belgrade, Athens, etc.)

If you need any help with booking your travel to Kosovo, you may always contact us and we will be glad to assist (bpp@bislimi.org).



This program is organized and administered by the Bislimi Group Foundation in cooperation with Gjilani University College.

The Gjilani University College

The Gjilani College is an institution of higher learning based in Gjilan, Kosovo. It was founded in 2006 and offers bachelor and master degrees in Economics, Law, and Education. The College is licensed by the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology of Kosovo and accredited by the Kosovo Accreditation Agency. It offers its students an academically enriching environment with top quality academic programs and faculty.

The Bislimi Group Foundation  

The Bislimi Group Foundation is a not-for-profit organization, headquartered in Prishtina, Kosovo, which strives to help build a peaceful and prosperous future for Kosovo through quality education. Founded in 2006, TBG Foundation implements and administers several educational, academic, and exchange programs. To learn more about TBG Foundation, visit the About Us page and our Home page. 


Did you know?

You will be visiting and seeing some of the most interesting and historical places of South Eastern Europe while on this program.   

Kosovars are considered the most optimistic people in Europe. Despite their harsh past, they look forward to a better future.  About half of Kosovo’s people are under the age of 25 and Gjilan, Kosovo is a model of interethnic tolerance and coexistence for the entire country. By living with an Albanian host family in Gjilan, you will be able to learn a lot about the “young Europeans” as Kosovars are referred to.

Think of the Law of Gravity and then try to make sense of Kosovo’s famous Gadime Cave where this basic law of physics seems not to apply.  The Gadime Cave is home to some crystals that seem to break the law of gravity by growing upwards.  The cave is considered to about 80,000 years old.

Now, if you have heard of Mother Teresa, think about being able to stand right on the grounds of her birth house.  Her life story has served and continuous to serve as a helpful guide for many. An Albanian by origin, she was born in the city of Skopje, Macedonia.


Online Application

To be considered for a place on the Balkans Peace Program - Summer 2016, please fill out and submit the following Online Application. Please make sure you have the following documents ready in either PDF or DOC format so that you can upload them here and submit them with your application as required:
- Your CV / Resume;
- A Cover Letter explaining your interest in the program and/or the area / field of study;
- Copy of your college / university transcript (only if you are requesting financial support). Unofficial transcripts issued to the student are acceptable;
- Certificate of Enrolment / student status (only if you are not submitting a transcript).  
Alternatively, you may email all of these documents to bpp@bislimi.org

First Name:
Last Name:
Date of Birth:
Current Address:
Name of College/University (you are attending):
Field of Study:
Expected Graduation Date:
Email Address:
Upload your Cover Letter:
Upload your CV / Resume:
Upload your Copy of Transcript:
Upload your Enrolment Certificate:
How did you hear about the Program:
 Additional Comments:


Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

The Bislimi Group Foundation 
The Balkans Peace Program 
Rr. Dardania I/87
Gjilan 60000 
Tel: + 1 780 807 8669 (Canada/US)
Tel: +377 44 406 499 (Kosovo)
E-mail: bpp@bislimi.org 




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