Friends of Foundation
Agnesa, beauty queen, model, businesswoman and fashion designer, Agnesa holds a B.A. degree in Mass Communication and Political Science. She used to be Miss Kosovo & Albania and she has appeared in various TV shows, magazines, newspapers and was also the host of a few Albanian TV shows. Agnesa lives and works in Pristina, Kosovo, from where she runs her fashion company Agnesa Vuthaj Fashion.
Barry Smith, Chairman Emeritus and Professor Emeritus of Obstetrics and Gynecology at The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, graduated from Dartmouth College, The Geisel School of Medicine, and Cornell University Medical College. Dr. Smith’s accomplishments include developing subspecialty care and a residency program in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology; development of quality programs with the Foundation for Healthy Communities in New Hampshire and the Vermont Program for Quality in Healthcare; and serving as a section and then a district officer in the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Bledar Asllani ka një eksperiencë 12 vjeçare në industrinë e hotelerisë ndërkombëtare dhe mbi 6 vjet në prona të patundshme në New York City. Bledar është në gjendje të parashikojë nevojat e klientëve dhe të sjellë një nivel të lartë shërbimi ndaj klientit që çdo klient e pret dhe e meriton
Fadil Berisha is an Albanian-American photographer based in New York City. Fadil began his successful career as a fashion and beauty photographer in 1982 when he moved to New York. Alongside his 35+ year profession as a photographer, Fadil has cultivated a career as a philanthropist, humanitarian, creative director and editor.
Jehona completed her BSc and MSc at the London School of Economics and Political Science, the latter as the recipient of the prestigious British Council Chevening Scholarship. After nearly 15 years of studying and working in the UK and Denmark, she returned to Kosovo to start up TOKA – an organisation that aims to improve Kosovar society by investing in the education of its youth.
Lindita Baleta is a strategic communications, public and media relations, gender affairs, and image management expert. She worked for several USAID-funded projects in Kosovo that supported private sector development, youth entrepreneurship and the rule of law. Prior to that, Linda worked for the United Nations Mission in Kosovo with the Department of Justice, and before that as a journalist, editor and translator. She has over 20 years of professional experience, of which 17 with international organizations in Kosovo. Currently she works for Swisscontact Promoting Private Sector Employment project. Ms. Baleta is a mentor and trainer for the Women in Business program funded by the World Bank, IFC and SDC, and implemented by RTC Consulting in Kosovo
Merita Gashi holds a Bachelor’s degree of French language and literature from the University of Prishtina. She also finished her Master of Comparative Literature and Master of Geopolitics in Paris, France. Now Merita is an Advisor to the Chief State Prosecutor – State Prosecutor and also a Professor in the College Universum teaching political science. Merita also used to work as Adviser in the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare and as an Adviser in the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning.
Prof. Dr. med. Dr. h. c. Omer Dzemali completed the medical studies in Germany and now he is a Cardiac Surgery Specialist and Deputy Head of Cardiac Surgery Clinic at Triemli Hospital in Zurich. He was awarded with the prize “Hans Borst” as the best author of a scientific paper. He was featured in “Tages-Anzeiger” in the column “100 bright minds” and was invited to the show “Aeschbacher”.
Sara Shala is a Kosovo-born jewelry designer based in New York City, where she designs jewelry with the method of 3D printing. Her jewelry pieces have been featured in some of the most prestigious magazines, such as on the Phosphenes Magazine, Resident Magazine, Vogue Brasil, Essence Magazine, Refinery29, Inked Magazine, Untitled Magazine, IRK Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar Brasil, Nylon Magazine, The Washington Post, As If Magazine. She has also been a part of New York fashion Week 2016 and 2018.
Teuta Sahatqija is a politician and diplomat who currently serves as the Consul General of Kosovo in New York. She was formerly a Member of Parliament, Chair of Parliamentary Committee on European Integration and Vice- Chair of Parliamentary Caucus of LDK, First Vice-Chair of Parliamentary Committee on Economic Development. Teuta graduated from the University of Pristina, receiving her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Electronic Engineering, later pursuing Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at Dartmouth College.
Vlora Çitaku is a Kosovar-Albanian politician and diplomat who currently serves as the Ambassador of the Republic of Kosovo to the United States. She formerly served as Consul General of Kosovo in New York. Before joining Kosovo’s the embassy, Vlora served as Minister for European integration of the Republic of Kosovo.
Zana Aqifi is a specialist of communications, holding a degree in journalism. She has extensive experience in business management and communications, media management, campaigns, marketing and PR. She has worked with a number of national and international institutions in planning, organizing and executing PR strategies and has proven to effectively present community based organizations to the public in a positive manner. Among other achievements, Zana has demonstrated outstanding social responsibility and fundraising skills by leading the “Let’s dance campaign”, which advocates for Kosovo mothers and children in need
Experienced Chief Executive Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the retail industry and a value driven, result oriented pro-active leader in Kosovo. A season entrepreneur, changemaker and philanthropist with a track record of transforming Meridian Express from a small start-up into one of the leading retail companies in Kosovo, opening 38 locations, creating more than 600 jobs and showing passionate commitment to serve his community. Under his leadership, in 2015, Meridian introduced a modern concept of retail stores combining groceries with food service under the brands of Meridian Kitchen and Buka Bakery. Agon serves in several boards, He is a member of the Board of Directors at Meridian Corporation since 2011, served as the Treasure of the American Chamber of Commerce Board of Governors during 2015-2017 and was a founding member in 2011 and ex-President of the Board of Directors of the Kosovo CSR Network. Recently, Agon co-founded Kosovo Retail Association and elected as a member of the Board and he also is a board member at following organizations: Kosovo CSR Network, VentureUP and KB Sigal Prishtina. In 2018, Agon led Meridian to become the first company from Kosovo to join World Economic Forum. Highly motivated and at the forefront of supporting Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR), Corporate Governance and adopting sustainable practices in the country. True believer in giving back to the society and a strong supporter of youth empowerment initiatives. Awarded national and international prizes for the recognized work and contribution in promoting and embracing CSR. Well networked, innovative, and successful speaker at prestigious business and social conferences at local and regional levels. A natural leader with collaborative nature and influence on several local organizations as a founder and a board member. Keen to find challenging situations and a strong desire to learn from them. Strong business development professional skilled in Negotiation, Business Planning, Analytical Skills and Marketing.
Ilirjana Bajraktari has extensive experience in health systems and policy development with health organizations at international level. Currently she is Director of Operations with American Hospital in Kosova where she leads range of projects and activities for optimization of processes within the AHK. As Chair of Committee on Health with American Chamber of Commerce in Kosova, she is responsible for establishing and strengthening collaboration between private sector and governmental institutions in health sector aiming to improve current and develop new trends for sustainable development of health sector as well as improvement of citizen’s well-being. A graduate from Dartmouth College and Tuck School of Business (USA), Ilirjana holds and MD/PhD degree from Medical University of Graz (Austria). She worked for several years with World Health Organization in the field of health systems and policy in limited resource settings. For more she was engaged with the range of organizations such as UNICEF, AIHA, World Bank for promoting health, quality of care and health as a human right activities. Her research is focused on maternal and child health, quality of care and medical decision making. Additionally she collaborated with IPPNW for promoting medical peace work and student’s exchange programs for the Western Balkans, as well as other civil society organizations for environmental health, corporate social responsibility and partnership building across sectors issues. Ilirjana is passionate about strategies and concepts for improving health sector particularly for the benefits of mothers and children for achieving sustainable development of the societies.
Barbara Burri Sharani
Barbara Burri Sharani is a psychologist by profession. She has over 20 years experience in development cooperation. She worked over seven years in Kosovo, where she was amongst other, Head of the Swiss Cooperation Office in Pristina. Today she works at the Municipal Public Health Services in Zurich, where she is a project manager for innovative health projects.
Përparim Avdili is a banker by profession and a politician in Zurich. He has been a member of the Zurich City Council since 2018 and is the first with Albanian roots. In 2022 he was elected president of the liberal party in Zurich.
He has also always been heavily involved in the Albanian community. Meanwhile, he presides over the organization swissalbs, which aims to call for and promote entrepreneurship, education, politics and culture, but especially to serve as a bridge builder between the local society and the Albanian community.