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RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) raises €85,000 at recent Gala Fundraising Event with special guest, General Wesley K. Clark

Event Platinum Sponsors were: American Bank of Investments, Lukaj Foundation and Fondacioni i Familijes Cami

On May 15, 2018, under the motto Support the Next Success Story, RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) held one of its first major fundraising events in support of talented and underprivileged students. More than 160 guests gathered at Swiss Diamond hotel to show their commitment and support to the future generations of RIT Kosovo (A.U.K), who are referred to as “The Next Success Stories”. With the help of its donor community, supporters and many friends of the institution, RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) raised a record high of 85,475 euros. This event addresses the institution’s goals to raise funding and ultimately provide more scholarship opportunities for its current and future students.  This is the second fundraising event for RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) this year. In February, RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) organized a similar event in New York and raised 45,000 (US) dollars.

gala fundraiser WKC

The evening began with a warm welcome by President of RIT Kosovo (A.U.K), Dr. Sharon Y. Hart. She emphasized the importance of these types of events and how much opportunity they provide for our future generations. “Our students make it a blessing for me to come to work every day; I hear their personal stories; I hear their many challenges; I hear what many of them persevere in order to continue with their education. They are the future of this country and we need to be so proud to be able to help them in their journey through RIT Kosovo (A.U.K)”, she added.

The next speaker was Board Chair, Mr. Richard Lukaj, who was also a major sponsor at this event and had committed to match the entire net proceeds of the fundraiser. He informed the audience that after 15 years of service, he will be retiring from the Board, but he will continue to be a donor to this institution forever. He emphasized that the fundamental premise of the original mission of the American University in Kosova was that we needed to bring education back – in particular western education. He recalled how the first lecturer at the American University in Kosovo was President Bill Clinton and what he said in that first lecture. Among other things, he cited President Clinton saying “looking around these walls, I may promise you that the walls may not be as fine as you would like them to be today, but the education will be”.

Following Mr. Lukaj, President of Rochester Institute of Technology Dr. David C. Munson Jr offered his welcoming remarks. He noted that this was his first visit to Prishtina and that he was incredibly impressed. “What a colorful and active city where East meets West, and I just can’t think of a better place where more and more of our students [from USA] could spend some time”, he added. Dr. Munson continued with “we’re also eager to have students from Kosovo come and spend time in Rochester; and have our faculty doing more work with the faculty here in Kosovo for a better future”.

gala fundraiser WKC 2

The Prime Minister of Kosovo, Mr. Ramush Haradinaj, who also happens to be an alumni of RIT Kosovo (A.U.K), addressed the audience in English. He said that he was honored to be here and he took the time to thank everyone, the people of Kosova, the Albanian diaspora, the Americans, and everyone who has been involved along the way to make this successful story possible, called RIT Kosovo (A.U.K). Mr. Haradinaj closed his speech by stating that what makes him mostly proud about RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) is that it is the only institution where students as soon as they finish their studies, they have a job. With that, he said that he is hopeful that together, not only RIT Kosovo (A.U.K), but all students and Kosova as a country will succeed.

After dinner was served, our student moderator, Xheneta Sopjani continued with the program and introduced one of RIT Kosovo’s (A.U.K) alumni Success Story speakers, Mr. Yll Zagragja. Aside from giving his speech, Mr. Zagragja attended also as a Gold Sponsor, sending another positive signal and a good example to all friends of this institution, current and future donors, and most importantly, its students.

Mr. Zagragja, a successful entrepreneur, spoke of the enormous impact RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) has had in his career. “The discipline, commitment, and fairness that I found at A.U.K were a perfect match with my personal values. The community that I was part of at A.U.K became the foundation upon which I built my own business”, he noted. He shared his business success story with his accounting company Zagragja and Associates, as well as his with involvement with IT Company, UCX. He employs 50 staff members and, with his business associates, is working to build a marketplace platform that will change the way the cloud space is bought and sold worldwide. He closed his speech by reminding the audience about the importance of giving and finding happiness in fulfilling our youth’s long term educational goals.

gala fundraiser president

During this occasion, General Clark revealed that there is also an initiative to establish a scholarship under his name to which he responded that he will personally donate to with a lot of pride and self-satisfaction. “I don’t think you can do anything more to help a country than invest in its young people; that’s the greatest resource, human potential that a country that can ever have” he noted.

gala fundraiser

Below is the information about the main sponsors of this event:

Platinum Sponsors

Lukaj Foundation – Matched the NET proceeds of the event
Mr. Richard Lukaj, Founder of Lukaj Foundation has also been active in philanthropic activities throughout the region, both as a significant donor personally and prolific fundraiser. He was a founder and currently serves as the Chairman of the RIT Kosovo (A.U.K.). Mr. Lukaj also founded the Hope Fellowship program, an organization partnered with USAID which provides leadership training for women of the Balkans and arranges for executive exchange programs with the largest corporations and governmental and non-governmental agencies of the United States. Additionally, he led the Hands of Hope campaign which targeted multi-year fundraising initiatives that raised funds and collaborated with organizations such as Mercy Corps., Americares and many others to transform the standard of living for orphans and young people in the region. More recently, Mr. Lukaj founded the Foundation for Healthy Mothers and Children in Kosova in honor of his late daughter Adelina, which delivered over $500,000 in essential medical equipment and supplies to Kosova this year alone.

Cami Family Foundation 
Cami Family Foundation is designed to provide resources to needy and deserving young people in their educational pursuits.

American Bank of Investments 
American Bank of Investments strong corporate social responsibility policy has as one of key pillars financial inclusion and awareness.
It organizes and supports activities, trainings, institutions which objective is to enhance the financial awareness. We believe that in today’s knowledge-based society, education is a key resource. It secures the future of individuals and society at large. Access to programs to acquire skills and receive training must be open to all talented people regardless of their gender, social background and parent’s education.

Gold Sponsors

FINCA Kosovo is an institution with social, cultural, and sports responsibility which continuously supports activities in the country, thereby fulfilling its mission to reduce poverty through long-term solutions that help people build assets, create jobs and raise their standard of living.

Zagragja & Associates
Zagragja & Associates relies fully on youth to raise the quality of service not only to local but also international customers and has therefore been a continuous contributor to various student scholarships.

Meridian Express 
Meridian Express continuously supports the ones that have the best potential to transform our country for better. RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) is an exemplary educational institution that constantly creates new success stories. That is why we express our privilege and gratitude to RIT Kosovo and commit to support the future leaders of our country.

Zmobile is convinced that education is the key to the development of a society, so the company remains committed to supporting our youth in advancing their knowledge.

Silver Sponsors

We also appreciate the support coming from our invaluable Silver Sponsors, namely: RECURA, TOK Services, and Dr. Sharon Y. Hart.

Even though the fundraising gala diner Support the Next Success Story was very successful, RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) hopes that in the future more businesses, foundations and philanthropists will approach the institution to provide more resources and means that helps talented and underprivileged students in fulfilling their dreams by getting their quality American education here in Prishtina, at the American University in Kosovo.
The Development Director of RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) Nue Nikolla claims that because of good will from our donor community, sponsors and supporters, historically RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) distributes scholarships to 65% of all its students and, for the next academic year 2018/19, RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) will distribute scholarships worth of 330,000 EUR as well as add several newly established Corporate Scholarship opportunities for our students.

Event Coverage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivi7nYhHoaw

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