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YPFP DC: His Excellency Ambassador Akan Ismaili of the Republic of Kosovo
Wednesday, June 5 | 6:30pm
International Student House (ISH)
1825 R Street NW
Since declaring independence from the Former Republic of Yugoslavia in February 2008, Kosovo has been on a slow yet steady path towards sustainable economic development and international recognition of independent statehood. There continues to be challenges, however, as the country is still recovering from armed conflict throughout the 1990s and then a post-conflict transitional period with assistance from the international community. Notably, 50% of the population in Kosovo is under 25 years old, and the country has gained a reputation as "the young Europeans" in the region.
H.E. Ismali will discuss the impact of war, post-conflict rebuilding, and nationbuilding on Kosovo's youth and Millennials as well as the recent successes and challenges that the country has faced in terms of economic and political development.
Former telecommunications entrepreneur and CEO Akan Ismaili was appointed as the Republic of Kosovo’s second Ambassador to the United States on May 2, 2012.
Prior to the war, Ambassador Ismaili managed IT infrastructure for the American diplomatic office in Pristina. After the war started in Kosovo, Ambassador Ismaili served as a translator for U.S. diplomats. Just before the NATO bombing campaign began in March 1999, Ambassador Ismaili was evacuated to Vienna, where he continued to work as a translator, tasked with translating and distributing U.S. government news articles to the Albanian-language media in the region and at refugee camps.
Soon after the war ended, Ambassador Ismaili co-founded Internet Project Kosovo (IPKO), a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the use of information and communications technology as a tool to foster rebuilding and development in Kosovo. IPKO has been credited with bringing the internet to Kosovo. At the same time, he co-founded the American University Foundation in Kosovo, which draws support from Kosovar citizens and its diaspora to establish an American-style higher education institution in Kosovo. To date, the foundation has raised more than $8 million dollars which it has used for numerous programs in conjunction with New York’s Rochester Institute of Technology.
In December 2007, Ambassador Ismaili was named "Manager of the Year" by the Economic Chamber of Kosova (ECK). His work has been featured by The Advocacy Project, WIRED, and the New York Times.