Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Jobs and Justice for Kosovo

Today was our first full day in Kosovo and it certainly did not disappoint. We started the morning off with a briefing from the U.S. Embassy. They shared the current political transition with the recent elections and other interesting facts about Kosovo. They stressed the focus of "jobs and justice for Kosovo." There is a need to provide training for jobs, but then there must be a market for what those jobs produce and/or provide.

Following our briefing we made our way to the Government Building, which is just a short walk from our hotel. We heard briefings from the Minstry of Education, Agriculture, and Trade and Commerce. It was great to see and visit with Minster of Agriculture Memli Krasniqi again. He shared general information on agriculture in Kosovo. He shared that there are 130,000 farms in Kosovo with the average size of a farm being just over two hectares (roughly 10 acres). Kosovo currently has a agriculture trade deficit, but there is great potential to grow exports. There was, also, great discussion on challenges facing agriculture in Kosovo.

We had a little time for networking with the ministers and their chief advisors before returning to the hotel for a feast of a lunch. There is no concern of weight loss on this adventure. Food is always plentiful and delicious! For the afternoon we joined the Minstry of Education and numerous universities and colleges from around Kosovo. This allowed us time to share information about our schools and explore partnership opportunities.

For dinner we traveled to General Rama's family farm outside of Pristina. Before dinner we were able to tour their farm which produces eggs, beef, honey, vegetables, and fruits. We once again enjoyed a delicious dinner outside in the beautiful Kosovo countryside. We cannot wait to explore agriculture more tomorrow with Minister Krasniqi and Secretary Northey!

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