KAEF Marks its 100th Fellowship with a Gala Event


The Night of the Rising Stars is back on the horizon!

This year marks a special year as we award our 100th fellowship. Kosovo American Education Fund (KAEF) invites you to join in celebrating and contributing to the education of our bright and promising Kosovars. Hotel Emerald will light up with an amazing crowd, business and community leaders, delicious dinner, drinks and great music.

A raffle will be held in order to raise money for the foundation.


Friday, December 07, 2018 
7:00 PM


Hotel Emerald 

Prishtina-Skopje Highway

10000 Prishtina, Kosova

Event ticket includes networking, a full course dinner menu and entertainment.

Early Bird Special, 30 Eur ($35) per guest (before November 23, 2018),

Regular Price Ticket 50 Eur ($60) (after November 23, 2018).

To purchase your ticket visit: http://kaefonline.eventbrite.com/

Host Committee

Nita Bicurri, KAEF Alumna- Syracuse University ‘18

Darsei Canhasi, KAEF Alumnus- Brandeis University `16

Plarentina Desku, KAEF Alumna – Syracuse University ‘18

Blendrit Elezaj, KAEF Alumnus- Syracuse University `17

Arber Kadriu, KAEF Alumnus – American University ‘17

Alba Kondirolli – American Councils

Jon Mulliqi, KAEF Alumnus – George Washington University ‘18

Gjeni Shporta – American Councils

Jeta Zagragja, KAEF Committee

Sponsorships & Questions




Kosova’s Young Leaders are Making History on the World Stage

February 2017 has brought Kosovo American Education Fund (KAEF) Graduate Fellowship program great news and successes of its alumni on the world stage.
Zana Zeqiri Rudi, an alumna of the KAEF program was recently named Kosova’s Ambassador to Panama. Zana (Master in Public Policy, Harvard University ’10) previously worked as an advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Kosova and as Chargé d’Affaires at the Kosova Embassy in Panama, which was established on November 15th, 2013.
During the ceremony in the Salon Amarillo of the Palace of Herons, Ambassador Zeqiri Rudi expressed: “I am honored to represent the Republic of Kosova as its first ambassador to Panama, an ally of Kosova and its strong supporter in the international arena.” Further, the Ambassador noted that she will continue her work on strengthening the bilateral relations between Panama and Kosova.

Zana Rudi

PANAMA – FEBRUARY 9: (L-R) The Ambassador of Kosova, Zana Zeqiri Rudi presented the credentials to the President of the Republic of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, accompanied by the Vice President, Isabel de Saint Malo de Alvarado and Second Secretary Valmira Thaçi-Musa.

Another great achievement comes from KAEF alumnus Shpat Deda (Master in Business Administration, Temple University, ’15). Shpat was engaged as a producer in the making of short film HOME, a British-Kosovar production to win a BAFTA award in the category of Best Short Film. HOME is the first Kosovar production, partially shot in Kosova, to win the prestigious BAFTA award.
During a press conference in Prishtina, Shpat remarked: “Success comes best served when shared with others and in the case of HOME we share it with so many people, it’s a true blessing! HOME has brought together the most talented young people whom I had the honor to work with and it serves as a proof about Kosova’s potential. We need to build more bridges so that the Kosovar talent comes to international attention because we already have many successes to prove that this is possible.”


Kosovo American Education Fund (KAEF)

The Kosovo American Education Fund (KAEF), an American Councils’ program supports long-term economic development in Kosova by providing fellowships to promising Kosovars to attend top-level graduate (master’s) training at U.S. universities. Returning to Kosova, program graduates assume leadership positions in business, non-profit organizations and the government, and use their technical knowledge to generate sustainable and positive change. KAEF has earned a reputation as one of the most prestigious fully-funded fellowship programs in Kosova. All applicants undergo a merit-based, competitive selection process to guarantee that the most qualified, motivated, and talented candidates are selected.

Created by the American people through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and administered by American Councils for International Education (ACIE), the KAEF program is an education fund that allows eligible/qualified Kosovars the opportunity to increase their knowledge and skills in areas that would support economic growth, investment, and sustainable development in Kosova. From 2004 to date, the KAEF program has awarded more than 90 master’s-level fellowships through a competitive and merit-based process to outstanding Kosovar students.

For additional information, please visit: www.kaef-online.org

Read about YES alumna Dea Saraqini’s “Sweetness for Charity” project



Living in a community where women are often treated with disregard, you realize you have to do something to change that. In Kosova we lack on supporting women in different fields, but that never means that this won’t change. There is always room for change and it often starts with one person. There was this quote I read once, saying “Don’t expect to see a change, if you don’t make one”. There are organizations in my community which work for women’s rights and advocate for women in general but this is not enough. We can not only wait for different organizations to do their work, we also need to do ours. This made me think about what I want to do to change my community for the better.

As a feminist, I am moved by women’s issues and domestic violence is one of them. In Gjakova, Kosovo there is a place where women victims of domestic violence are sheltered; this place is called “The Safe House”. The place itself is run by a woman and there is a tremendous job done to keep the violence survivors and their children safe. These women stay and eat at this house but also seek for jobs, so they can get their lives back. For some of them it’s hard to get a job, or even try to start their life from zero, so they stay at the house longer. Since many women and children are inhabitants of the safe house, more money is needed to cover their needs and that is quite hard to get.

Kosova is known for not being at its best financial states, but the good thing is that this never stops people from helping the less fortunate than us. Whenever it comes to donating or helping someone poor or sick, people all stand together for that person.

This time we (YES Alumni Kosova) decided to make the process of donating more fun.  Between February 18th  and  20th we decided to hold a bake sale, in my town, Gjakova, which we called “Sweetness for Charity”. During these three days we sold many different desserts, tea and coffee. Initially the desserts were planned to be baked by the alumni,  but the event got so much attention from media that everyone who heard about it, wanted to help us by baking something. It was amazing that so many people got together to collect money for the Safe House. Women were baking, youth volunteered to help sell the sweets, TVs and Radio Stations were really interested to cover the event, the tent was donated etc. Being able to bring all these people together proved to me that unity is strength. For three days I got to witness the generosity of people in my community. There were people who stopped by to ask if we needed help, some who didn’t buy anything just donated money, some just wanted to congratulate us for our initiative. There is one particular case that I remember. One of the Alumni, Mjellma YES’13 , who was one of the key organizers of the project, was hanging out with her friends at the café when this one man recognized her from our TV appearance to promote “Sweetness for Charity”. He told her that he really liked our initiative and he wanted to donate as well. In the beginning Mjellma YES ‘13 thought that he will be coming to buy some desserts, but he said that all he wanted to do is give a symbolic amount of money, about $40. This showed us how generous someone can be for a good cause.  All of this filled me and everyone involved, with positive thoughts that our community is changing for good.


After three days of hard work involving the whole community, we managed to collect 398, 40€ (or $ 438.22). This money was directly given to the head of the Safe House, with which we decided to put them in the bank and then the Safe House would use them for their needs from time to time. But collecting this amount of money isn’t our proudest accomplishment. What we are the proudest of is that we managed to bring awareness on women’s condition in our society and showed that when we all get together, we can do something great, but it all has to start somewhere, maybe by one person.


Dea Saraqini. YES 2014-2015, KOSOVA, hosted in Greenville, South Carolina