Kosovo after Supervised Independence: Interview with Petrit Selimi Cover Image
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Kosovo after Supervised Independence: Interview with Petrit Selimi
Kosovo after Supervised Independence: Interview with Petrit Selimi

Author(s): Chris Deliso, Petrit Selimi
Subject(s): Politics / Political Sciences
Published by: Balkanalysis.com

Summary/Abstract: September marked the end of the four-year period of supervised independence that followed Kosovo’s 2008 declaration of independence. The transition was met with fanfare by Kosovo Albanians, with trepidation by Serbs, and with some amount of relief from the oft-beleaguered international overseers charged with overcoming the many challenges of Kosovo state-building and multi-ethnic relations. In this new interview, Balkanalysis.com Director Chris Deliso gets the insights of Petrit Selimi, the Deputy Foreign Minister in Prishtina and an active participant in outreach efforts of a government that is trying to move Kosovo forward towards modernization and greater acceptance by international bodies and countries that have thus far not recognized its independence. The wide-ranging interview covers not only these topics but broader issues of political, social, economic and other factors affecting the lives of everyday people and what they might mean for the future. Petrit Selimi is not the most typical of Balkan diplomats. He was a youth activist before the war of 1999 and, after studying social anthropology in Oslo, he was among a new wave of young Kosovans who launched several diverse civic initiatives. A decade ago, Selimi opened a small comic-strips shop and café, still popular among both artists and politicians. He convinced a Western telecom operator to bring the American performer 50Cent to Prishtina, and organized the star’s concert in a memorable night that put Kosovo on MTV a year before the declaration of independence. At the same time, he wrote for a host of publications, and was one of the founders and publishers of a daily newspaper called Express. In the whirlwind of post-independence transition, Selimi was picked by Kosovo PM Hashim Thaci as Deputy Foreign Minister of the government created after the 2010 elections. There, he currently works with Foreign Minister Enver Hoxhaj, a prominent member of Kosovo’s post-war academia. Traces of Selimi’s past engagement remain in his new position, in the form of public diplomacy as a favorite tool; this has included establishing partnerships with the Aspen Institute, the European Council of Foreign Relations and even ecumenical organizations and art galleries. We talked with Selimi on the margins of the Aspen Institute’s recent conference on security in SE Europe, in Durres, Albania.

  • Issue Year: 2012
  • Issue No: 10
  • Page Range: 1-11
  • Page Count: 11
  • Language: English