Kosovo – the torn country with desire to shine throughout Europe

Article by Violete Kurti

After the Balkan war which took place in the 90’s, the small yet struggling country Kosovo has proven several times their desire to become a part of Europe. By self-declaring themselves as independent in 2008, the country has opened discussions whether or not the country is able to be a part of the European Union. As considered as one of the poorest country in Europe, Kosovo’s dream of travel freely in the Schengen area and build up their industry, have faced many doubts if it ever will be realized.

With increased population and low opportunities for employment, Kosovo finds themselves in a dilemma where external aid is needed. Many of the requirements that the EU has presented to Kosovo includes a cooperation with their neighbor in the north, Serbia in order for the country to receive a fair chance. However, that is easier said than done. Long after the war, the two countries are reluctant to cooperate towards a prosperous future and this matter affects the population of Kosovo.

Even though there is no on-going war in the country, a majority finds themselves seeking asylum in the richer countries and hoping to establish a better life there. The problematic event between Serbia and Kosovo causes an unstable environment in the country and hinders Kosovo on their path to become an EU-member.

Since the end of the 1990’s, the UN has had its presence in the country in order to build the country again. The United Nations Mission in Kosovo has played a crucial part in the country when it comes to maintaining peace between the Serbs and Kosovars. Politically, UNMIK’s presence has not been welcomed by all due to the fact it has been considered that Kosovo was forced to follow a path that was not beneficial for the country. It is not only the legal and economic systems that are in need of restoring, also the perception of human rights in the country. Till this day, there are groups in the Kosovar society without any basic human rights. Traditions and prejudices are strong in the country and a reason as to why the UN’s presence is still needed.

UNMIK’s goal with Kosovo is a long process which probably will be needed until Serbia and Kosovo make peace with each other.

The fragile situation between Serbia and Kosovo is intense. Accusations of war crimes and the search of vendetta are very common and the main reason to why Kosovo has not received full recognition from all the independent countries in the world. For instance, Spain has chosen to not recognize the independence of Kosovo, due to the fact that they face a similar situation with Catalonia.

Finally, Kosovo has still a long way to go and as long as Kosovo is willing to create a brighter future for its population, the world and its government will be there as an assistant on the way.

What problem do you want to solve?

Whether you are studying, doing an internship or in your first job, don’t ask yourself: What do I want to become? Rather ask yourself: What problem do I want to solve?


The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) list 17 goals that countries and companies have committed to achieve. Behind each of the goals are a list of problems that we have to work together to solve.


With opportunities come responsibilities. A responsibility to use our knowledge, our caring and capital to contribute. I want my son and daughter to graduate into a world that is a great place to be. A place they can thrive. I want to see a world where we can actually take advantage of our world of abundance. As a father, I want this for everybody’s children. Creating a place that thrives was my starting point for changing industries and becoming an impact investor.


During my stay at Singularity University I saw that exponential technologies could address many of the grand challenges of the world, those spelled out by the UN Sustainable Development Goals. My mid-life education at Singularity University disrupted my way of thinking. It exposed me to new people, industries and real-life problems.


In my father’s career, there were no impact investors. I am unlikely to even know half of the jobs that will exist in my children’s lifetime. This means that we also need to have a new way of educating our children. And the adults around me. We need to disrupt the education system. The UN Sustainable Development Goal number 4 says that we will by 2030 need to “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.” I think for instance artificial intelligence will be a key driver to customise education for each one of us. That is just one example of how you could use exponential technology to solve the grand challenges that we face.


Many of the startups at the fringes of society perhaps have the solutions to the problems that we are facing. There is no time to waste. With less than 5,000 days to 2030, the year we are supposed to reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals, we need to move from a linear to an exponential mindset. Using exponential technology will help us reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals faster. That’s why we at Nordic Impact decided to focus on exponential technology by investing, innovating and creating impact.


Once you have found the problem that you want to solve, find your people. These global problems don’t have borders what so ever, and we need to work together. This means across borders, across industries and across age groups.


On the 8th of March, I’ll be speaking in NY to find out how groundbreaking technology can help ensure financial inclusion and financial independence for women. A question that we often get is how to get more investors to invest in female entrepreneurs? The female entrepreneurs are out there, we just need to find them. We just announced our second cohort for the Katapult Accelerator where 50% of the founders of the 12 exponential technology startups selected are women. Not finding them is no longer an excuse.


The people and the solutions are out there. This year the Katapult Accelerator got more than 1,500 impact-focused startups from across the world to select from. We see that founders from South Korea to Iceland and from Nigeria to Turkey are finding creative ways in which exponential technology can solve the problems we are facing.


Disruptive technologies are the driving force behind changing finance, business and culture so that impact, passion and purpose become the standard. At the end of the three months, the startups in the Katapult Accelerator will have defined their vision, strategy, impact orientation, growth marketing and business model. A unique element in the Katapult Accelerator is the focus on team ‘body and brain’ improvement, to further enable the startups to build on their greatest asset; their mission-driven team.


Traditional investors have merely focused on the market returns. But when you put an entrepreneur who wants to solve a problem in the same room as the investor who wants to outbeat the market, we see that there is no trade off between high positive impact and financial return. I think it is the opposite actually. Because you have impact, because you deliver things that are good for society and for the environment, you will actually be able to make more money. When they come together and see that, it will be easier for people to embark in impact investing.


To bring everybody together and celebrate the future, we founded the Katapult Future Fest. This three-day festival in Oslo focuses on the future of society, how exponential technologies and impact investing can be used to create a better future society for all. This year I am really looking forward to discussing the ethical and moral aspects of technology. How do we best use technology for the best of humankind?


Anders Lier

Anders H. Lier is an international impact investor, a leader in the field of innovation and technology and the executive chairman of Nordic Impact, which invests in startups based around technology with a mission to have a positive impact on society. He is also executive chairman of EXP Group which has the mission to make a positive impact on society and environment.

UNYA Talks – Denmark

Aalborg branch – 24. April 2017

On a gloomy Monday in the “Paris of the North”, UNYA Denmark’s Aalborg branch has held its first UNYA Talks event since its launch back in November 2016. Even though students all around the area are currently in the middle of their exam season, many young people were interested to hear the thoughts of Finn Reske-Nielsen, who has worked for the United Nations for over 35 years, on the United Nations (UN) and its relevance in the 21st century.

The event started with a few minutes of information about UNYA Denmark, after which Mr. Reske-Nielsen began his presentation by talking about his extended experiences with the United Nations. This included serving as UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, holding posts with the UNHCR in Switzerland and Zambia and in the Department of Political Affairs of the UN Secretariat in New York, as well as working as Deputy Special- Representative for the Secretary General in Timor-Leste.

Next, he discussed what the four main purposes of the United Nations Continue reading

Webinar: Spain in the Security Council and UNFICYP

Webinar Spain UNFICYPDear UNYANET friends,

It is a great pleasure to invite you all to join our webinar about Spain as a non-permanent member of the Security Council and the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).


– Guest speaker: Mr. Alberto de la Calle García, Counselor, Spanish Mission to the UN.
– Thursday, 6th August 2015, 09.00h EDT / 15.00 CEST
– to join just connect to: anymeeting.com/unyanet
– Free of charge!


1.- Spanish priorities within the Security Council.
2.- October Spanish presidency of the Council.
3.- UNFICYP’s historical context.
4.- Spanish position regarding UNFICYP within the SC.

We look forward to seeing you tomorrow! Thank you very much and follow us on social media too:

Twitter @UNYANET



UN Youth Finland at the World Social Forum in Tunis

The forum started with a Women’s assembly, were women around the globe declared solidarity and determination against violence.

The forum started with a Women’s assembly, were women around the globe declared solidarity and determination against violence.

At the end of March, tens of thousands of civil society activists gathered in Tunis for the World Social Forum (WSF), an event first arranged in Brazil in 2001. With more than a thousand panels and workshops, it was a massive gathering with discussion topics ranging from democracy to youth involvement and from tax justice to Arab uprisings. The overarching theme of the event was global justice and development.

One of the participants was also Liisa Ketolainen, a representative of UN Youth of Finland in Kepa.

Continue reading

Geneva Study Trip


UNYANET group in front of the United Nations 

UNYANET members from all over Europe have met in Geneva for a study trip, organized by UNYANET and DMUN. Participants set to discover Geneva, an international human rights hub in the 4 day Study Trip titled The Human Rights Hub in the 21st Century – Strengths and Challenges of the International Human Rights System. During the trip they visited Le Palais des Nations which hosts UN headquarters in Geneva, EU representation to the UN in Geneva, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and NGO Les Medicins Sans Frontier. Participants also had an opportunity to talk with the United Nations Information Service (UNIS) Geneva Director Corinne Momal-Vanian, observed the Human Rights Council and visited Red Cross museum. But it wasn’t just formal visits! Many networking activities like social evening program, cheese fondue and a sightseeing tour around the old pa rt of Geneva gave participants from Germany, Austria, Spain and Slovenia a wonderful opportunity to bond and create new international connections. Continue reading

Fundraising in the Times of Crisis for Youth-Led NGOs

FundraisingThe United Nations Youth Association Network (UNYANET) is launching the inaugural Fundraising in The Times of Crisis workshop on 23rd August 2014, 15:00h GMT+2, at an online webinar.
The Fundraising in The Times of Crisis workshop will be based on the ways of fundraising at the time of crisis especially focused. It is the aim of the UNYANET to build up each participant’s overall understanding of this important issue to work effectively at the time of crisis, and train those involved in all aspects of fundraising.
The workshop will use interactive teaching techniques and each participant will be encouraged to participate from the basis of his or her own field experience and insights. In addition to learning and skills development the workshop will provide a valuable opportunity for those involved in this to meet together and encourage each other.
United Nations Youth Associations Network is the international network of UN Youth and Students Associations, with 14 member associations and 2 observers from Europe, Asia and Africa with altogether approximately 20,000 individual members. UNYANET aims to strengthen the network by the exchange of knowledge, resources and experiences, the development of a common identity among member associations and the representation towards third parties.
For any questions or inquiries do not hesitate to contact our PR Officer, Pau Petit, pau.petit[at]unyanet.org
Thank you for your attention and look forward to see you at the webinar!

Welcome to the world UNYA Denmark

Photo: UNYA Denmark

Photo: UNYA Denmark

UNYANET welcomes the creation of UNYA Denmark recently founded by a group of motivated young people gathered in Copenhagen. The United Nations Youth Association of Denmark celebrated its official launch on May 31st and we have the pleasure to introduce to you the Founder and Chairman Mignote Libsekal:



mignote-mesfin-libsekalEntrepreneur and Youth Volunteer

Mignote studies International Relations and Business at Roskilde University in Denmark. She has been involved in a lot of non-profit work in the field of youth activism and global citizenship and started several projects herself. During recdent years, she has been volunteering with the Danish Model United Nations as well as with the Nordic Startup Awards. “I think it’s really between these two realms – entrepreneurship and non-profit – that my interests lie,” says Mignote.

Inspired by UNYANET

On behalf of DanMUN, Mignote attended the UN4MUN Workshop 2013 in Vienna, organised by the UN DPI and UNYANET. “It was the first time I came across a UNYA and it struck me as odd that we didn’t have one in Denmark,” explains Mignote. After some reflection on her plans for the next year and upcoming projects, she decided to work on the UNYA idea and immediately gathered support: “I started bouncing the idea around with some friends from the DanMUN Team and everyone was really positive. Eventually I ran it by the Secretary General of the UNA Denmark and then it went quickly from there.”

Getting the Team Together

A lot happened from the initial idea to its realization. In the process of getting the association together Mignote met “some really energetic people” that are now the core team of UNYA Denmark: Malene Mortensen and Cecillie Morville who are coordinating the Secretariat, Tobi Gebetsberger who is doing the Treasury and Johan Juul and Maja Falkentoft who supported the groundwork. The group held a GA and coordinated the official launch event, which left Mignote both overwhelmed and optimistic: “It was so great to see more than a hundred people gathered and really enthusiastic about us! For me, this was not only a testament to the need for a platform like UNYA but also how ready young people are to engage in meaningful UN related activities.”

What’s next?

The team is already planning projects such as the Youth Delegate program and the World’s Best News Campaign. “But we do things a little differently at UNYA Denmark,” explains Mignote. Basically, UNYA Denmark serves as a framework where members can either join existing projects or – more importantly – create new projects. “This way we empower our members and have them take ownership of UNYA – after all this is for them.” At a workshop held recently all the ideas proposed at the Launch were discussed and developed into projects in collaboration with the members. Mignote is looking forward to all the new projects: “So what’s next is anybody’s guess, but that is what makes it so exciting!”

UNYANET welcomes UNYA Denmark as a partner and wishes them plenty of success for their future.

Roundtable on women in peacekeeping operations


Photo: UNA Slovenia

On Tuesday, May 27th, 2014 the roundtable on Women in Peacekeeping operations took place at the United Nations Association of Slovenia. The roundtable was moderated by Dr. Janja Vuga, an assistant professor in the Chair of Defence Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, and an expert on military sociology and peacekeeping operations. Other participants were Major Nataša Zorman, a member of the Slovenian Armed Forces, Deputy Commander of ISAF contingent in KFOR, Anita Baltić, a member of the Slovenian Police, head of the Slovenian police contingent in EULEX Kosovo and Melita Šinkovec, civil functional expert. Continue reading

Ban Ki-Moon meets young Germans

Future? Only with us! Young Germans present demands to the UN for a sustainable future

Berlin. As part of his official visit to Germany, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon met with 19 young people. The talk focused on “Challenges for a sustainable future” and was organized by UNA Germany. In the end, the young people presented their demands to the UN for a sustainable future.

Ban Ki-moon encouraged the young people in their engagement for a global, sustainable and holistic thinking and asked them to become global citizens. “Invest your dreams and energy,” said the Secretary-General. But he also called upon the young people not to forget about different realities. “This world needs your passion and compassion,” said Ban.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon discussed with young people from Germany about "Challenges for a Sustainable Future".

The young people demanded a holistic understanding of sustainability, which combines ecological, economic and social action.They also stressed the importance of education as a key solution. “Education for sustainable development needs to become an inherent part of school curricula around the world, so that people can decide for a sustainable lifestyle”, demanded the representatives of Youth Organisations.

Tjalke Weber (UNYANET Presidency) introduced the idea of Green Conference Management as a way of sharing green technologies. She also pointed out that sustainability is often interlinked with the question of survival. Ban Ki-Moon agreed by stating that “food comes first, education is second. People need to satisfy their hunger for food before they can satisfy their hunger for knowlegde.” Therefore, he has launched the Zero Hunger Challenge and a Global Initiative on Education.