By Ulpiana Lama, chargée d’affaires of the Kosovo Embassy in Bangkok.

Top image: Singer Rita Ora performing on the occasion of sanctification of Mother Teresa, by Arben Llapashtica

This month a year ago, the Republic of Kosovo opened its first regional Embassy in South East Asia, in Bangkok. We are establishing since excellent relationships with the Kingdom of Thailand and are thankful for a warm-hearted welcome.

Early this month, Kosovo made worldwide headline after reaching a significant progress with Serbia, as part of the U.S.-brokered talks and in the spirit of a highly esteemed model such as the one established by European countries for the European Union and the Schengen area.

Ulpiana Lama

These two events, seemingly very different from one another, are part of the same action that stems from our vision of history, interpreted in the search for common sense and reasonable agreements, and our commitment to world peace, something that we do not take for granted. 

Kosovo has always been a country and a state since 2008. In 1998-1999 Kosovo people experienced war and massive destruction.

We saw our lives disrupted. We mourned our victims who live with us to this day, we count and keep searching for our beloved missing compatriots – the restoration of their identity is a non-negotiable matter to us. We have moved forward!

Emphasis on “moving forward” instead of “moving on” because we haven’t forgotten any of the lessons of the past; they shape our path.

Junior geeks in a lab. Image: Mr. Arben Llapashtica

We are grateful to everyone who recognizes our efforts and we embrace open-armed those showing empathy and solidarity. Solidarity, this magic word!

Throughout the 90s, the Kosovar society built the most unique net of social support. A fast growing humanitarian association, baptized after Mother Teresa, our most worldwide known fellow countryperson, offered health and education services to Kosovo people, left excluded by the oppressive and segregating Serbian regime of the time, which lead to the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia.

An artizan in the town of Gjakova. Image: Arben Llapashtica

We are free, thanks also to the support and solidarity of friendly countries across the world, such as Thailand, who have helped us in our journey to freedom, independence and prosperity. 

Here is a third beautiful happenstance of this month: September 5th, the designated international charity day in honor of Mother Teresa sanctification and her work undertaken in the struggle to overcome poverty and distress, which also constitute a threat to peace – a lesson so relevant today in our common struggle to counter the novel pandemic. 

Natural lake in alps. Image: Arben Llapashtica

Rich in values such as solidarity, gratitude, resilience, mindfulness, multiculturalism, interfaith, and also rich in resources such as mineral resources, pristine nature with massive tourist opportunities, young and entrepreneurial population, the peaceful and safe Kosovo is a start-up nation with much to offer in the economic front as well.

This reputation is cemented by its sound banking system, low taxes, FDI incentives, skillful yet not expensive work-force and its access to regional and European market and a population of over 500 million through tools such as the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA).

Hiking & Climbingis a favorite hobby for a lot of Kosovo youths. Image: Arben Llapashtica

 As we become more prosperous, the Embassy of Kosovo can’t wait to assist many Kosovars explore Thailand, as well as to show our country to the Thai people and treat them with our legendary “mikpritje”, the equivalent of hospitality, which literally means to “welcome a friend”. 

By standing together in this trying year, shouldering each-other until a full recovery from this virus hopefully early next year, we look forward to happier times when we will be stronger and closer, and when our growing presence in the region will enable the boosting of economic, cultural, and people-to-people ties both ways.

About the author
Ulpiana Lama is a diplomat and sociologist, currently serving as chargée d’affaires of the Embassy of the Republic of Kosovo in Bangkok.

Cooking Ajvar in Krusha village – War widows providing for their families Image: Arben Llapashtica
National library of Kosovo. Image: Arben Llapashtica