Field trip to Kosovo

Our one week field trip to Kosovo this year took place from 15 – 22 January 2019. The students of the Vienna Master of Arts in Human Rights and European Master’s in Venice experienced a demanding, yet interesting week of meetings with NGOs, notable persons, politicians and European institutions who are operating in a country struggling for international recognition.

This field trip is an opportunity for our future human rights practitioners to gain valuable insights on the past and present of Kosovo and make their own observations about the effectiveness of International Organizations and NGOs in maintaining stability generally and in combating and preventing human rights violations in particular. The experience also helps the students to understand the underlying dynamics of a country where ethnic minorities, International intervention and politics collide.

Besides visits at EULEX, the OSCE, the European missions and European ombudsman and more institutions the students were able to get to know a vast number of NGOs with diverse missions. To name but a few: Balkan Sunflowers, Terre des hommes-child relief, Kosovo Gender Studies Center, Youth Initiative for Human Rights, Humanitarian Law Centre, EU Information and Cultural Point, Kosovo 2.0 Online journal, Play4 international and many more.

The students were also able to get political insights by visiting the Prime Minister’s Office. Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj briefed the students on Kosovo’s inter-ethnic, educational, and political situations in the morning and in the afternoon, the students split into groups and met different MPs and Ministers.

On one of the last days of the trip, students departed from Pristina towards two directions: Half of the group traveled to Prizren and half of them to Peja/Pec. Both groups were hosted by the OSCE Regional Center in the area and who gave an overview of their missions. There was also time to explore the cities by visiting various localities, including some World Heritage Sites like Pec Patriachate Monastery and Decani Monastery.

As it is tradition by now, the trip closed with a farewell party for all the students and contributors. We are confident that this year’s trip was an informative and light-shedding experience in Kosovo’s history and reality, a chance to form new friendships and an opportunity for our students to grow not only as professionals but as persons too.