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.


ANXHELA BUZI
Intern


Anxhela holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Law and Master of Science Degree in International Law and is currently studying Democracy and Human Rights in South East Europe. During her studies she has participated in national and international conferences and moot court competitions focused in law and human rights. In addition, she has conducted several internships among them in the court of first instance in Fier where she practiced law.

Anxhela believes that all humans must enjoy their rights without any kind of discrimination for the mere fact that they are human beings and for this reason she is determined to help in fighting different treatments contrary to the rights protected globally.  

She joined The Ballkan Forum team in June 2020 and is focusing on research and updating resource bank.


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. 


BEN JONES
Intern


Ben achieved a First-Class Bachelor’s degree in Politics and International Relation and went on complete a Masters for International Relations from the University of Surrey. 

He is passionate about global politics and has specialized in NATO engagements during the Post-Cold War era.  This has led a deeper interest in the Balkans, and to find work can be done to make region conflicts a thing of the past.


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.  


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.


RABIJE GASHI
Associate


Born and raised in Zagreb, Croatia, Rabije has been working in one of the most listened radios in Croatia since 2017. She started as a show producer and was promoted to a full-time radio host. She studied Journalism and Public Relations at the Faculty of Political Science and in 2018 she got her Master's degree from the University of Zagreb. She also works for one of the biggest festivals in country – Rujanfest, as a Marketing and PR assistant and in Community management for their Social Networks.


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. 


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