Team Members
and biography... AtoZ ordered

ANJA ŽIVKOVIĆ
Language Associate

anjaz993@gmail.com

+381638797567


Anja Živković is a graduated philologist. She studied the Albanian language, literature and culture at Faculty of Philology in Belgrade, and Greek was her second language. In 2016 she joined the “Red Info Portal” Red Cross Belgrade as a student-volunteer, translator for Albanian language.

She is an activist and has participated in Peacebuilding training “Mir – Paqe – Mir 2016”, as well as in several Youth Exchanges with participants from different countries from the Balkans. She focuses her work to contribute towards breaking down the prejudices among the people of the Balkans and promotes collaboration among all.


ASTRIT ISTREFI
Executive Director

astrit@thebalkanforum.org

+386 (0)49 427 222


18 + years’ experience in civil society sector focusing on conflict prevention, peacebuilding and development related issues in fragile and conflict-affected contexts, leading strategic development and management/oversight of complex programs, budgets, and teams in the Western Balkans, Central Asia, Caucasus, Afghanistan, UK and USA. This includes working with Care International, Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and Forum for Civic Initiatives (FIQ) in Pristina; International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Kabul and Washington DC; and Saferworld in London.

His senior management experience in local and international organisations involves strategic and operations management (and leading strategic planning and review processes); developing and strengthening human resource, finance, fundraising and governance policies and systems; leading and coordinating research and advocacy; and partnerships, networking and coalition building.  

Issue areas include democratization, civil society development, elections, conflict resolution, community security, inclusive political processes, security and small arms, linking community-level peace and security with national and international policies and frameworks.

As a Board member to several NGOs since 2000, he has contributed to their organisational development and to enhancing their governance and accountability. 


BERNARD NIKOLLA
Media/Productions Officer

bernard@thebalkanforum.org

+383 38 728 927


Bernard joined The Balkan Forum in 2019 as Media/Productions Officer.

He brings over 15 years of experience with graphic design, including designing logos and branding, video and audio production and marketing. Since 2013 he started freelancing as a graphic designer for various local and international companies.

Bernard's experience also includes arts and music industry. Bernard is a singer and in 2011 he produced/launched his first album.


BOJANA LALATOVIC
Associate

Bojana.lalatovic@gmail.com 

+38267170699


Bojana is passionate and has an inspiring knowledge in Politics and European Integration processes. Currently, she is working as a Trainee in the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Montenegro, Operational Communication Center in Podgorica. While previously she has worked in the NGO sector working in the area of EU integration and raising awareness for EU process and perspective for the Balkan region what is more she has also volunteered for the Red Cross Offices in Niksic.  

She has finished her BA in Political Science from the University of Montenegro in Podgorica and holds a Master’s Degree of Law in European Integration from the University of Belgrade in Serbia.  

Bojana has participated in the ERASMUS + mobility programme at the University Roma Tre, Rome in Italy. She speaks four languages, Montenegrin/Serbian, English, Russian and Italian.  


EMMA SANDERS
Media/Productions Intern


Emma Sanders holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design from the University of Hertfordshire in England and a Conservatory Certificate for Musical Theater from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in NY, NY. Originally from Oregon, USA, Emma has spent the past 10 years living, studying and working abroad.

She has been a Graphic Designer for three years and a teacher for four years, having taught Music, Theater, Art and Graphic Design. She currently works as a Graphic Designer while also teaching Business Design at the American School of Kosova.

She joined The Balkan Forum team in Pristina, Kosovo in September 2019 and has been assisting us with creative works in Design and MultiMedia.


FLEUR SLENTER
Intern

fleur-slenter@hotmail.com 

+383 49 427 999


Fleur Slenter is a recent graduate of the MA International Relations with a specialization in Global Order in Historical Perspective at Leiden University in the Netherlands. Previously, she studied at Maastricht University, obtaining a BA in European Studies. She took part in the ERASMUS+ programme at Essex University, where she studied the many actors and complexities involved in security issues. During her studies, Fleur became more passionate in security issues, human rights and international cooperation.

Besides being a native Dutch speaker, Fleur is fluent in English and has considerable knowledge of French.


GAZMEND BERLAJOLLI
Project Manager

gazmend@thebalkanforum.org

+383 44 141 999


Over 18 years of experience in project management, human resources, institutional and organizational development. 

Gazmend worked in different environments establishing great relations with diverse teams in various national and international organizations that he worked at in Europe, Asia and Oceania. This includes engaging on humanitarian and relief programs, institutional/human resources  development, and democratization with Medicins Sains Frontiers (MSF), International Rescue Committee (IRC), Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) in Pristina, Kosovo; International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Islamabad, Pakistan and in Sidney & Melburne, Australia.    

Issue areas include Human and Institutional development, democratization, civil society development, elections, conflict resolution, and coaching and mentoring.


IRMA HANDABAKA
Associate

Irma.han95@gmail.com 

+387 62 273 764


Irma completed Bachelor degree in International Relations and Diplomacy and is continuing her masters program in University of Sarajevo, department of Political Sciences.

She is a passionate writer and the winner of the essay/policy writing competition on the topic

“The Western Balkans in 20 Years: Challenges and Opportunities”, which earned her an internship at the European Movement Serbia in Belgrade.

Irma also worked as volunteer, noting here the human rights “Fight for Equality” initiative aimed at achieving better gender equality in Bosnia and Hercegovina (BiH), organized by Radio Chameleon - Open Network as part of the “Dialogue for the Future”. She was an active participant on a project “Intercultural Understanding and Cooperation of Youth in BiH”, which aimed to educate young people about the importance of culture and art for the development of society.

Irma speaks fluently Bosnian, English, and Spanish (A1) level. 


IVANA SPIROVSKA
Associate


Ivana Spirovska 

Ivana speaks 5 languages and is a passionate writer who loves to travel. She completed two Bachelor Degrees in Law and Pedagogy: English Language and Literature at the University “St. Kliment Ohridski” in Bitola, Macedonia and currently pursues European Master in Migration and Intercultural Relations in different countries and universities. 

She did her Erasmus + student exchange at the University TU Chemnitz in Germany, Department of English & American Studies, and was “Best of South East” scholar in the Karl-Franzens University in Graz, Austria, Department for Legal Studies. 

She firmly believes that education is a human right and should be available to every person in the entire world. Ivana has over 5 years of experience in the non-governmental sector and participated in multiple Erasmus + trainings and youth exchanges, national conferences, and courses.


MARINA QUEINS
Intern



Marina Queins is a student of Politics and Society as well as English Studies at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, Germany, pursuing a double major B.A. She is also working as a student assistant at a consultancy specializing in the fields of environmental and energy technology.

Marina first started to study German Studies and English Studies at the University of Cologne parallel to her secondary education and has since complemented her academic knowledge with practical work at different companies and state institutions as Unicepta Company for Media Analysis, WDR West German Broadcasting Cologne and the Financial Intelligence Unit of the German Customs Investigation Bureau. She has also completed internships at, amongst others, the German Federal Academy for Security Policy and the Geopolitics Branch of the German Bundeswehr.

She is a member of the Youth Atlantic Treaty Association and the Academic Association for Security Studies. Marina is a native German speaker, fluent in English and can converse in French and Turkish at a beginners level.


SARA LUKEY-SMITH
Funding


Since undertaking an undergraduate degree in History and Politics at the University of Edinburgh and a Master’s degree in Development Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London), Sara spent the last 12 years working for NGOs in the peacebuilding, humanitarian and development sectors, both in the UK and abroad. Her roles have spanned programme management and institutional funding, and policy and advocacy. Sara worked for both international and national NGOs, including Saferworld, BRAC UK, Oxfam GB, World Vision and AMREF. She worked in South Sudan for three years and Uganda for one and a half years. Sara is currently working as an independent consultant.


SLAVKO PETLESKI
Language Associate

slavkopetleski@yahoo.com

+389 77 977 311


Slavko Petleski has extensive experience in procedural law, working for different projects implemented by OSCE and USAID. Moreover, he has participated in more than 15 different trainings and conferences organized by different local and international organizations in the Balkan region. 

Slavko, holds a Master’s Degree in Criminal Law from the Faculty of Law “ Iustinan Primus” in Skopje, Macedonia. He has passed the bar exam and currently works in a law office in Macedonia. 

Slavko is fluent in Macedonian, English, Bulgarian and Serbo-Croatian language. Additionally, he has intermediate knowledge of Albanian and Italian. 


TOMISLAV PERUŠIĆ
Social/Media Coordinator

tomperusic@gmail.com 

+381641208255


Tomislav is a graduate of the High School of Economics in 2009 in Subotica, Serbia. Moreover, he continued his studies in Economics at the University of Zagreb, Croatia, from 2009 to 2011, while currently, he is studying Albanian Language, Literature and Culture at the University of Belgrade in Serbia. 

Tomislav’s experience in volunteering, working as a translator, correspondent and being an active member of society is enriching. He has worked as a correspondent for a Croatian newspaper in Subotica, Serbia, called “Hrvatska riječ” (Croatian word) since 2009. An activist of an NGO called Žene u crnom (Women in Black) in Belgrade, Serbia, and translator from Serbian to English and vice-versa since 2015.  

In addition, he has participated in numerous seminars for the Albanian language since 2016, as well as Links2 program organized by the Youth Initiative for Human Rights regarding Kosovo - Serbia dialogue, held in 2016 in Prishtina, Kosovo, and Belgrade, Serbia. Took part in Gender Studies Summer School in 2016 in Prishtina, Kosovo. 

Tomislav has knowledge and communicates in a number of languages such as: Serbian, Croatian, English, Albanian, Hungarian, Italian, French, German, Spanish and Portuguese. 


VALBONA RAIFI
Finance / Admin Officer

+383 44 168 347

valbona@thebf.org


Valbona Raifi has over 10 years of experience in the field of finances and accounting. During these years she has worked with a large number of different companies and organizations in Kosovo. In the finance field, she has ensured that finance systems and regulations of the employers are developed based on best practice and in compliance with  local and international legal frameworks and policies. 

She is a certified accountant from SCAAK (The Accounting and Audit Association in Kosovo) and has a Master’s degree on Finance Management from the University of Southeast Europe in Macedonia. 


Donors