TRANSFORMING INNOVATIVE CONCEPTS INTO POWERFUL SOLUTIONS
Balkan Green Foundation (BGF) is a regional organization that promotes inclusive and equitable progress in the Western Balkans within the sustainable development domain.
Along with its partner organizations, BGF places a strong focus on advocating for solutions that promote development policies, which are in line with world’s latest developments, global challenges and national agendas for EU integration.
Regional initiatives are undertaken on an ongoing basis to further convey BGF’s commitment towards regional sustainability, ensuring the strengthening and advancement of vital policies affecting key sectors, such as energy, environment, and economy.
BGF has been successfully positioned as a key strategic partner for regional and global institutions, organizations, and communities to promote sustainable development, transform innovative concepts into powerful solutions, and strengthen regional and global partnerships.
Visar AzemiExecutive Director
Visar Azemi is the executive director at Balkan Green Foundation. Visar holds a graduate degree in electrical engineering from University of Pristina, a second Bachelor’s degree in Management Studies, and a Master’s degree in International Financial Management from University of Maryland University College. In the role of the Executive Director, his duties and responsibilities include strategic engagements with governments, civil society and the private sector to support the Western Balkan transition towards a sustainable future and European integration. His engagement is focused on strategic development in the Western Balkans with particular attention on renewable energy development, energy market integration and circular economy. Visar has over ten years of professional experience in non-profit sector, with extensive knowledge in partnership development, strategic planning, project management, and marketing. He has also co-authored studies and reviewed numerous papers and reports on sustainable energy pathways. His hobbies include music, climbing, hiking and outdoor sports.
Rinora GojaniProgrammes and Operations Manager
Rinora Gojani is the Programmes and Operations Manager at the Balkan Green Foundation. She has an extensive working experience in research, advocacy, capacity building, civic and grassroot level engagement, fundraising, and project management focused on sustainable development, democratization, Western Balkans politics, and EU integration processes. Rinora holds a Master’s Degree in European Politics, with a focus on energy policy, from the University College Dublin. She has a passion for outdoor sports, specifically for cycling, hiking and climbing.
Doruntina Murati GashiFinance Manager
Doruntina Murati Gashi is a Finance Manager for almost four years at BGF. She is responsible for accounting and financial management of the organization. She is also involved in direct financial reporting for multiple donors and managing external audits. Her experiences include bookkeeping, financial reporting, taxation, financial statements and has knowledge of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). Doruntina holds a Bachelor's Degree in Bank, Finance and Accounting from the University of Prishtina, Faculty of Economics. During her free time, she enjoys walking in nature, cooking and has a passion for interior design.
Antoaneta IvanovaProject Manager of BGI
Antoaneta Ivanova is Project Manager of Balkan Green Ideas Program of Balkan Green Foundation. She has immense 20-year experience in the civil society sector in the Western Balkans working for different national and regionally owned organizations. Antoaneta’s primary focus has always been to support youth in their educational and career endeavours as well as to help them to build their startups and social businesses from scratch, to support them in boosting their capacities, as well as to mentor and motivate them in enhancing their outreach. She obtained a Joint Master’s degree in Human Rights and Democracy at Bologna and Sarajevo Universities, as well as she is a US Department of State Alumni in Media and Communication studies at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, USA. Antoaneta’s hobbies include reading poetry, writing poems, and also exploring the field of astronomy.
Besfort KosovaProject Manager
Besfort Kosova is a Project Manager in Balkan Green Foundation. Besfort has an in-depth knowledge of the energy system of Kosovo and the Western Balkan Six countries, particularly the RES sector and its developments. His education consists of a master’s degree in Public Policy – International Development Policy - from Duke University, North Carolina, USA. He also holds a bachelor degree in Sociology at the University of Prishtina. Besfort has a passion for nature, hiking, gardening, reading and a keen interest in sustainable development policies, energy and environmental issues.
Shpend MustafaProject Coordinator
Shpend is a Project Coordinator at BGF. He has extensive experience in activities and projects that are related to youth empowerment toward the job market, training youngsters in the fields of activism and critical thinking. Also, he has worked on projects and researches in the field of local government. Shpend is a student of Law and his hobbies include mountain and road biking, different tv-shows and reading.
Lirika RaçaProject Assistant
Lirika Raça works in the position of Project Assistant within BGF. She completed internships at Initiative for Agricultural Development of Kosovo (IADK) and later also at the Kurt Weiss Greenhouses Inc. in Center Moriches, New York. Lirika has also been involved in volunteering work both inside and outside of Kosovo and has attended numerous training in the field of environment, climate change, conflict transformation, ecotourism, nature conservation, and internet governance. Lirika holds an AP and BA double degree in Environmental and Agricultural Management from University College Lillebaelt and International Business College Mitrovica. She is a dedicated environmentalist and enjoys reading, movies, and nature-related sports like hiking, climbing, and cycling.
AUREL MORINAProject Assistant
Aurel works in the position of Project Assistant within the Balkan Green Foundation. He has close to two years and a half of work experience in audit and consulting. He holds his Bachelor in Business Administration from the American College of Thessaloniki, Greece. In addition to that, he holds an MBA degree with a specialization in entrepreneurship and strategy from the University of Amsterdam. On the personal front, Aurel is a social person who loves playing and watching different sports, traveling, and hiking.
ASTRIT ISTREFIChairman of the Board
Astrit Istrefi is the executive director of the Balkan Forum, an organization working to advance cross-border dialogue and create a shared regional vision and agenda for cooperative action in the Balkans, based on economic integration, prosperity, and sustainable peace. Astrit has over 20 years of experience working in conflict prevention, peacebuilding, and development in fragile and conflict-affected contexts, leading the development of strategies and managing complex programs in the Western Balkans, Central Asia, Caucasus, Afghanistan, UK, and US. He has worked with Care International, Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and Forum for Civic Initiatives (FIQ) in Prishtina, Kosovo; International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Kabul, Afghanistan and Washington DC, USA; and Saferworld in London, UK.
JULIAN POPOVBoard Member
Julian Popov is Fellow of the European Climate Foundation, Chairman of the Building Performance Institute Europe and Former Minister of Environment of Bulgaria. He was the good will Bulgarian Ambassador for energy and climate policy and energy security adviser to the President of Bulgaria. Julian is member of the European Council of Foreign Relations, the Advisory Board of Climate KIC and the boards of several other energy and climate related organisations. He is the founding Vice Chancellor and current Board Member of the New Bulgarian University and cofounder of the Tunisian School of Politics. Julian was voted as one of the 40 most influential voices on European energy policies (N24) and also as one of the 40 most influential voices in the European energy efficiency policies (N25) by EurActiv. His articles on European and energy policy have been published by Financial Times, Project Syndicate, NS Energy Monitor, The Independent, Al Jazeera, Huffington Post, EurActive and others. He is author of two books and co-author of the books The European Supergrid and Energy and Climate Diplomacy. He lives in London with his family.
LEILA BICAKCICBoard Member
Leila Bičakčić is one of the founding members of the organization, which is modelled on US non-profit media agencies. Her remit includes financial and administrative management, donor collaboration, planning, designing and coordinating CIN-implemented projects, and reporting. A special focus of Leila’s work is on finding models of sustainable organization and new business models in the BiH context, the transition from traditional media to new digital models and the convergence of media content. A Sarajevo native, she studied basic physics and economics at the Sarajevo University.
KNUD VÖCKINGBoard Member
Since 2002, Knud Vocking works as campaigner on multilateral development banks for the German NGO Urgewald. He is one of the most distinguished NGO professionals on the World Bank and other financial institutions like the Chinese-led AIIB. In many cases, he has successfully pressured politics to ensure human rights and environmental protection in projects financed by multilateral development banks. Knud is a key coordinator of the European NGO network scrutinizing multilateral financial institutions and well-connected with civil society organizations worldwide.