Syzana joined BIRN Kosovo as part-time finance officer in September 2005 and is responsible for compiling financial reports, filing and recording all incoming and outgoing documents, registering all revenue and spending, and other financial related duties.
Syzana started her career as an administrative officer in 1992 at EUROKOS, a legal and financial consulting agency, and a real estate agency, where her responsibilities included establishing and facilitating contacts with clients, maintaining files and records and executing other administrative inquiries.
In 2000, Syzana was hired as a financial officer for NORMA, a lawyers’ association based in Pristina, where she is still employed part-time.
Syzana participated in an ,Election Observation and Human Rights Monitoring” training, organised by the Human Rights Center, in April 2001. She studied economics at the University of Pristina.
Lum joined BIRN in September 2009 as Chief of Finance and Operations Officer. His duties include preparing finance reports for donors, as well as drawing up budgets for specific projects.
Beginning in 2000 with work in private and public institutions, Lum has developed extensive experience in financial management.
Lum graduated in September 2009 from Iliria University with a degree in banking, finances and accounting. He has also attended various trainings in accounting and auditing provided by local companies.
With international experience in media production, Jeton Ispahiu joined BIRN in 2008. He is responsible for providing video editing and final touches for the Life in Kosovo and Justice in Kosovo television programmes.
Jeton previously worked for various Canadian media companies, including CTV-Winnipeg, where he served as a journalist and video editor between 2004 and 2008.
Jeton graduated with a degree in production from Assinniboine Community College in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada in 2003.
With a strong background in civil society, Albulena Sadiku has experience in capacity building, election monitoring and local government.
Albulena joined BIRN in 2011 as a project manager. She is responsible for organising fundraising, maintaining donor relations and the administration of the activities of the organization.
Between 2005-2007, Albulena served as a manager of the office for public relations of the Initiative for Progress Organization, INPO. From 2007-2009 she managed the advocacy of the organization and was later appointed as the Executive Director, where she served until the end of 2010.
While at INPO, she focused on issues of local governance. She monitored and evaluated the performance of legislative and executive institutions in six municipalities in Kosovo during her tenure at the organisation.
With experience as a debate participant and judge in the standardized “Karl Popper” debate format, Albulena earned the title of a certified trainer of high school and higher education students. She has organized debate groups in Ferizaj, which have continued their success in international competitions.
Albulena has also worked in developing Local Action Plans for the Integration of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities in the Ferizaj and Fushe Kosova municipalities. She has worked in capacity building among the youth of these communities in the fields of local governance, advocacy, elections and youth activism.
Since 2007, Albulena has been active in election monitoring. She has worked on awareness campaigns to increase voter turnout, monitored electoral campaigns and voting day, and researched and compiled the “grey lists” of candidates deemed inappropriate for election to leading positions.
Albulena is a senior student in the Political Science Department at the University of Pristina.
Astrit Perani joined BIRN team in January 2008 as a camera operator and video editor for the Life in Kosovo and Justice in Kosovo TV programmes.
He is currently a student at the AAB-RIINVEST University, where he is studying Mass Communications with a focus on production.
Having fostered a passion for Information Technology since the age of nine, Arian Hyseni is accustomed to putting to use the latest innovations in the field.
Arian joined BIRN in February 2008. He is responsible for maintaining the overall network, ensuring the online presence of BIRN products, as well as managing daily tasks in the office.
In 2009, he received the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) accreditation. He is currently enrolled at the University for Business and Technology, UBT, reading Management, Business and Economics.
Besar has extensive experience in journalism, having worked in print, television and electronic media in both the US and Albania since 2003.
Besar has been the editor for BIRN Albania since 2007, and serves as the country correspondent for Balkan Insight.
Besar started his career reporting for the Florida Times Union in Jacksonville, Florida. He moved to Albania in 2005 where he worked as a features editor for the Tirana Times, and a world news editor for the 24 hour news channel TV Ora News.
He has also contributed stories to various publications including The Christian Science Monitor, Global Post, Transitions Online, The Diplomatic Courier and World Politics Review.
In 2009 Besar received the CEI/SEEMO Award for Outstanding Merits in Investigative Journalism and in 2010 he was runner up to the Global Shining Light Award, presented at the Global Investigative Journalism Conference in Geneva. Besar studied philosophy at the University of North Florida.
Founder of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) and Regional Network Director until May 2018.
With her Balkan colleagues Gordana helped establish, manage and develop the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN. Through her dedication, engagement and careful planning of network establishment, programme objectives and strategies for further development, the organisation has continued to grow since its inception.
Gordana began her career as a journalist in Belgrade in 1981. She reported from Bosnia and Kosovo during the wars that followed the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia. From 1998 to 1999, she worked in the field of human rights as Director of Research for the Humanitarian Law Centre (Belgrade), and Kosovo Researcher for Human Rights Watch (New York).
She has received several journalism awards, including the 1998 Overseas Press Club (USA) Award for Human Rights Reporting and a Human Rights Watch Hellman Hammet award in the same year for her research into war crimes in Foca, Bosnia & Herzegovina.
Gordana was Balkan project manager at the Institute of War and Peace Reporting, IWPR, from 1999 until August 2005, during which time IWPR’s Balkan reporting received numerous press awards and media citations.
Gordana graduated in 1983 from the University of Belgrade’s School of Political Science, Department of Journalism.
Dusica Stilic, based in Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina, is an experienced manager and trainer with knowledge and skills in business management, project cycle, human resources and public relations. She is one of the first regional employees of BIRN, joining the Network in 2006.
Her contribution to the smooth operations of the BIRN’s regional organisation stretches from management of the operational budget and daily assistance in implementation of programmes to strengthening the Network’s structures and organisation of regional events.
Prior to BIRN, Dusica worked with UNHCR and ECHO (European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations). She also has journalistic experience, having worked as a television reporter in 1992/93 and also having run radio talk shows between 1995 and 2000.
She has a BA in English Language and Literature from the Tuzla University, and has graduated from a 19-week course at the London School of PR and was best in class in 2003/2004. Dusica speaks Bosnian, English and Macedonian.
Marija Ristic is the regional director of Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, a network of seven non-governmental organisations promoting freedom of speech, human rights and democratic values. Ristic oversees the activities and communications within the Network and represents it publicly.
As regional director, Ristic also leads the BIRN Hub, which coordinates the BIRN network, dealing with editorial, training, operations and development, as well as developing, fundraising for and coordinating core regional projects.
Ristic started working for BIRN in 2011 as a journalist, contributing to the regional Balkan Transitional Justice programme. Topics related to facing the past, reconciliation and transitional justice have been at the core of her professional development. After becoming the programme’s director, Ristic was responsible for building the capacities of local media and civil society in order to promote reconciliation and intercultural dialogue.
In 2015, she produced the award-winning documentary ‘The Unidentified’.
She also made BIRN one of the first media organisations in the Western Balkans to initiate regular reporting about violent extremism, populism and propaganda under the regional Resonant Voices Initiative, which also involved training journalists to cover these topics.
Ristic has significant expertise and knowledge related to media, transitional justice, human rights, democratic processes and EU integration.
She has also been actively involved in organisational development, fundraising and expanding the organisation’s influence regionally and abroad over the past several years.
Ristic is a graduate of the Geneva Academy for International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights. She has received numerous awards and scholarships from the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, the OSCE, the Zoran Djindjic Foundation and the Research Council of Norway. She is also a fellow at the Free University in Berlin researching universal jurisdiction.