By Rafaela Prifti*-
-The Biberaj Foundation started in 2017 and announced its first project of co-funding the Albanian-American Development Foundation Master’s Degree Fellowship Program in July 2018. It was a support of $2.5 million dedicated to Albanian Professionals in pursuit of graduate studies in the US. How did the partnership go?
Our family was excited to create the Biberaj Foundation in 2017. From our first partnership with AADF to the scholarship program with RIT Kosovo (AUK), we announced this week, we have sought to give back through increased access to educational opportunity.
-Yes, the recent announcement of the Biberaj Foundation of a $1.1 million Scholarship Program at RIT Kosovo (AUK) starting in 2021 through 2024 is a first time partnership. Can you share what attracted you to this particular institution?
It is always important to have the right partner when implementing a program like this, and we are grateful to RIT Kosovo (AUK) for their support in creativity in developing this program.
-The 2021-2024 Scholarship Program puts emphasis on women and minorities. Can you talk about that?
This scholarship aims to ensure that between 50-75% of recipients are women, something that we take great pride in emphasizing. The goal is to cast a wide net and reach as many young people as possible, from various regions and demographics.
-How does your Foundation measure the success of the program? How do you weigh the risks?
It will be important to reach as many applicants as possible, provide them with the resources to pursue higher education, give back to their communities, prioritize learning in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and journalism. Hopefully this initiative will encourage other donors from around the world to also support similar efforts.
-I am a recipient of a US government scholarship for graduate studies and I can say from first-hand experience that it has changed my life. What are some of the stories you hear from the Biberaj Foundation recipients?
Our family is in a position to provide this scholarship because of the incredible opportunities we received by being in the United States. That is why we are so excited to not only support this scholarship for enhanced access to educational opportunity, but to also tie it to a requirement that recipients also spend time studying in the United States. Education is a force multiplier, and when these young people return home, they will have the experience and background to truly give back to their community.
*PS. Also read my full interview with Visar Jasiqi of RIT Kosovo (AUK) in the upcoming July issue of Dielli.