TRANSFORMING INNOVATIVE CONCEPTS INTO POWERFUL SOLUTIONS

About us

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.

Our Team

ASTRIT ISTREFI

Executive Director

Astrit Istrefi is the executive director of  Balkan Green Foundation. He 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, the UK, and US. He has worked with Care International, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and Forum for Civic Initiatives (FIQ) in Prishtina, Kosovo; the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Kabul, Afghanistan and Washington DC, USA; and Saferworld in London, UK.

 

 

Rinora Gojani

Programmes 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.

Fjolla Qorri

Programmes Coordinator

Fjolla Qorri is Programmes Coordinator at Balkan Green Foundation. Fjolla holds double Bachelor's degrees in Public Policy and Management from RIT Kosovo and in French Language and Literature from the University of Prishtina. 

She has two years of experience in the public sector and has been engaged as a researcher in various national and local electoral campaigns that advocated for greener policies. Fjolla authored and published her thesis on “The psychology behind voting behavior in Kosovo”. Her passions include behavioral science, chess, and learning new languages.

Doruntina Murati - Gashi

Finance 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.

Diona Grezda

Senior Researcher

Diona Grezda is a Senior Researcher at Balkan Green Foundation. She holds a BA in Law from the University of Prishtina and an MA in International Relations from the University of Szeged. Diona started working in the civil society sector in 2019 and has drafted policy reports on various topics, including foreign policy, European integration, regional cooperation etc. She enjoys walking in nature, reading and travelling.

Fijona Kurshumliu

Project Coordinator & Researcher

Fijona Kurshumliu is a Project Coordinator and Researcher at Balkan Green Foundation. Holding a degree in Energy Engineering and Management, she has previously been engaged as a Junior Consultant on Energy Efficiency and managed projects regarding Sustainability at a local NGO. Fijona's experience lies in driving successful outcomes in sustainability-focused projects. In her free hours, she enjoys reading and maintains an active lifestyle through swimming and cycling.

Andina Vllahiu

Project Coordinator

Andina Vllahiu is a Project Coordinator at Balkan Green Foundation. She has extensive experience working in the private sector in the field of export promotion and sales, public institutions in the environmental field, and NGOs in advocating and addressing members’ issues and challenges on policy-related matters, drafting statements, position papers, studies and reports. Andina has worked for six years between Copenhagen and Prishtina while contributing to the environmental field and assisting public institutions in training staff and promoting Kosovo at the international level. Andina holds a Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy and Management and a minor in Legal Studies from RIT Kosovo. She shares the love for music, yoga, hiking, and cycling.

EGZONA ARUQAJ

Communication Officer

Egzona Aruqaj is a Communication Officer at Balkan Green Foundation.  She has three years of work experience in the field of Marketing and Non-Governmental Organizations, mostly focused on the improvement of the education system in Kosovo. In addition to that, she has been involved in volunteer work and attended numerous training about critical thinking, media literacy, digital marketing, and the empowerment of marginalized communities.  Egzona holds a Bachelor’s degree in the field of  Sociology from the University of Prishtina. On the passionate front, she loves meeting new people, the floral world, animals, art and video games. 

ALBAN BYTYÇI

IT Officer

Alban Bytyqi holds the position of IT Officer at Balkan Green Foundation. He has more than 14 years of experience in the field of Informatics and Technology, specifically in projects covering software developments.

Alban completed his Bachelor's degree in Computer Science at the University of Prishtina, and is CCNA certified by the Cisco Certified Network Associate. From the passion side, he likes cycling and hiking in nature.

 

Our Board

Ariadne Papagapitos

Board Member

Ariadne Papagapitos is Impact Editor at Lighthouse Reports, a public interest journalism organization that leads complex, transnational investigations. Prior to this, she was a consultant to foundations and NGOs working on forced migration, director of the Peacebuilding program at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Co-Founder and New Markets Director at Localized, a startup social enterprise focused on closing the skills and employment gap for young people in developing markets.

Dardan Sejdiu

Board Member

Dardan Sejdiu is currently engaged as a lecturer in Development Management at the University of London with academic direction from the London School of Economics and Political Science at the Riinvest College in Prishtina. 

Dardan has over 10 years of experience as a politician, serving as a Deputy Mayor of Pristina, a member of the parliament and as president of the management board of the Slovenian-Kosovo Pension with a key role in managing this fund for the whole of Kosovo.

He has an MBA from IEDC – Bled School of Management. He holds a BA in Business Administration and Political Science from the American University in Bulgaria. In addition,  he is a fellow of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, having been a participant in the Marshall Memorial Fellowship Program. He has also completed a short, specialized course in Communication and Diplomacy in École Nationale D’administration (ENA), in Paris, France.

 

LEILA BICAKCIC

Board 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 VÖCKING

Board 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.