This weekend, I took a trip to Budapest, Hungary to meet with a fellow W&M LLM graduate and spend a few days exploring the city. The architecture and the atmosphere around the city was gorgeous. It was so easy to spend the day wandering the streets and learning about Budapest's fascinating history. Plus, seeing a familar face while exploring was a nice reminder of home.
The office this week seemed relatively subdued, as many of my coworkers were out of the office at conferences and other events. It did not help that summer officially begin in Pristina, and it was incredibly hot in the city and the office all week long. We were all feeling the effects of the heat! There was no Tuesday Salon this week. For my part, I spent the lion’s share of my time continuing my outside research for the policy brief. Currently, additional surveys are being conducted to expand on some of the suggestions I had made the previous week. In addition to that research, I am also researching organizational methods to organize youth in Kosovo as the start of another project. We’re researching techniques other youth organizations across the US and the EU used to engage the youth in their societies. It’s a nascent project, but once we establish how to engage the youth, we can work on developing content geared towards them.
On Thursday, I attended the presentation of a research paper from a fellow CSO about reconciliation efforts between the Serbian and Albanian Kosovars. The researchers used both quantitative and qualitative measurements to try to get a sense of how both ethnicities felts about the current situation in Kosovo as well as its causes. Their research yielded interesting results. For instance, older ethnicities blamed the war on Serbia while the youngest generation blamed the US and the KLA. After explaining the findings of the research paper, the panelists opened the floor to discussion for the audience. But the questions that the panelists were asked ended up having nothing to do with their research or the paper; most of the questions were members of the audience who wanted a soapbox and to give their opinion about the current situation. It was clear from the audience members that tensions over reconciliation were still strained. When I walked out of the presentation, I felt like I understood the disconnect between research methods and reality more than the future possibilities of reconciliation.