Lorez Qehaja

M.A. ’17 | Graduate Program of Economic Development

I am a first year student in the GPED program. I came to US for the first time in September 2016, as part of a scholarship provided by USAID and Kosovo government. I finished my undergraduate studies at the American University in Kosovo, which is a branch of the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. My majors were Economics and Management with a minor in Public Policy. My interests are in poverty and development issues, focusing more on agriculture and economic development. During my senior year of undergraduate studies, as part of the Honor Society, I published a paper on the opportunity of Kosovo to develop an agriculture futures market. Interested in research, I also worked with a macroeconomics professor as a research assistant on his paper regarding the Macroeconomic Framework of Kosovo. Economists Club and Charity Club were the two most important undergraduate-related clubs with which I enjoyed working. Prior to coming to the US, I worked at a marketing and PR firm in Kosovo and was also privately engaged in developing business plans for newly established businesses seeking for grants or funding from international organization that operate in Kosovo.

I come from Kosovo, a developing country that has been going through tough times the last 15 years, from the time the war ended. Coming from a country where 29% of the population lives in poverty, with less than $2 per day, I have seen what other countries in a similar situation are facing. There has been a lot of help through aid and community development grants provided to Kosovo, but most of the time direct aid—meaning giving money without any technical assistance—has not been helpful and ended up in corruption. Taking Project Pyramid this semester has really portrayed another opportunity for businesses in developing countries to receive help and adopt the business practices of developed world. Working in a social enterprise or socially responsible corporation is a very good way to tackle poverty. Since this concept of social enterprise is fairly new in Kosovo, I want to gain knowledge through the TFC and Project Pyramid and then apply it in my home country, where it is most needed.

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