This year I graduated from the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest, and I can easily recall the application time to universities (including CEU) and particularly the stressful, but enjoyable research paper writing periods at the CEU. Thus, I think, I have a story to tell!
First, when I applied for graduate studies, many times I did not find Kosovo in the list of countries, although the country I was applying to had already recognized Kosovo. What an absurdity, I thought! So, I started writing letters to these institutions, but no positive reply did I get. Maybe, because I was only an individual and my request was not of that importance. I felt angry, but at the time there was nothing more I could do! Almost the same way I felt (albeit, with a low level of confusion and absurdity, since I was already used of not finding Kosovo in the lists) when writing papers for Kosovo, and looking for data in different research institutes. No data for Kosovo and no listing of Kosovo among other countries. I did the same – I send emails asking why, why! Sometimes, I received no email back, and sometimes I received a response saying nothing can be done, sorry!
However, a miracle happened later. Being part of the Ipko Foundation (IF) as an IF scholar I was following them on social media including Facebook, and I realized that the IF came up with the Digital Kosovo (DK) initiative which is about integrating Kosovo into the digital landscape. The DK is there to help us overcome the virtual barriers by encouraging a range of Internet properties including institutions, and shopping websites to add Kosovo to their sites. The DK initiative is what I was looking for and what we as citizens of Kosovo were in need of- that’s why I call it a miracle and nothing is compared to the joy I felt when I realized that the DK was established. Feeling happy I started spreading the news using my social media accounts and it worked. Yes, it did! Many of my friends became digital diplomats while sending emails to different institutions, as well. Thus, Kosovo started to be part of many menus and options of internet platforms. Lately, major social media including Linkedin, and Twitter updated their platforms by adding Kosovo to the list, and allowing me and others to change the location to Kosovo.
I feel honored and happy to be part of the IF as an IF scholar and as a digital diplomat. I invite everyone to be part of the digital diplomats’ battle to recognize Kosovo. It’s easy and it takes only 2-3 minutes to send an email to any institution that has still not listed Kosovo in their menu. Visit http://www.digitalkosovo.org/ and start sending emails- I can promise that contributing to the DK will make you feel complete!