THE HISTORY OF AUK
Kosovo and the United States of America share a key friendship and bond with one another. When the Kosovo war finally ended in 1999 after the NATO intervention, prominent Kosovars and Albanian Diaspora sought a way to honor and memorialize the great role the United States played in the conflict. They had an idea to develop a private nonprofit university based on the American model of higher education in partnership with a university in the United States. As Kosovo was rebuilding after a war, preparing students for careers and lifelong learning was deemed critical. After immense discussion, a major donation on behalf of the Union Fund for the Reconstruction of Kosova (UFORK) funded the start-up of the American University in Kosovo Foundation in 2002. The Foundation established the American University in Kosovo (now rebranded to RIT Kosovo (A.U.K)) to support Kosova and its neighboring countries to develop their economies, societies and democratic institutions, by providing an outstanding American education in Kosova. The UFORK fund was the post-war balance of the funds raised by the Kosovo diaspora during the 1990s to support the parallel schools and other parallel institutions in Kosovo of the Kosovo government-in-exile led by Mr. Bujar Bukoshi. This funds represented small donations from tens of thousands of people. Even today, the RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) is mindful that it was founded by the hard-earned contributions of the people of Kosovo.
RIT Kosovo (A.U.K): A Growing Campus
RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) can proudly reflect upon its institutional achievements and the successes of our students and alumni. From crowded temporary quarters in the Sunny Hill neighborhood of Prishtina, RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) moved to its present renovated facilities in Germia in 2005. The property was kindly leased for free by the Municipality of Prishtina, and the main campus building was reconstructed through the generosity of Behgjet Pacolli Foundation. The campus’s convenient location suits most students while the buildings are sufficient to meet the basic requirements of our academic programs. The addition of a second building in 2006, currently housing the lively cafeteria, R&D Lab and small student dormitory, significantly enhanced our facilities. RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) campus is now a vibrant environment with a youthful and dynamic atmosphere.
RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) Students, Alumni and Faculty
Paralleling our growing campus facilities and our growing reputation, RIT Kosovo (A.U.K)’s primary focus is on the quality of its programs. Clearly the caliber of our faculty is an indicator of our growth in student numbers - from 57 students enrolled in 2003 to more than 1400 graduated so far. Not surprisingly, native Kosovars constitute the great majority of our students, while 15% are international students that add to the campus diversity. Moreover, a significant number of students have returned from the diaspora, which is further validation of RIT Kosovo (A.U.K.’s) academic reputation. Our student government and student clubs not only enhance the quality of campus life but help to meet social and public needs, and our open forums provide a valuable market place for the exchange of ideas and perspectives.
Our most important function is to provide an education that will enable our students to succeed in their careers and in their lives. This has been vividly demonstrated by our alumni who are operating their own businesses, serving in senior positions in national and multinational companies, and who hold important governmental posts. We are also proud of RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) Alumni distinguishing themselves in graduate programs at prestigious universities in Europe and elsewhere. In addition to its existing cadre of highly accomplished and dedicated faculty members, RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) continues to attract outstanding academicians from the Balkans, Europe, the USA, and indeed throughout the world. Faculty members have made numerous accomplishments-through their scholarly endeavors, public service, and perhaps most importantly, as stellar teachers. Several faculty members have received teaching awards, prestigious overseas grants such as Fulbright awards, and a number of faculty members have contributed prominently to the public life of Kosovo through service in parliament, on various public bodies, and as candidates for government office. All this is further testimony to RIT Kosovo (A.U.K.’s) growing prestige and commitment.
RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) Staff
Similarly, our staff is dedicated to the success of the institution. Through various educational projects, we reach many sectors of the Kosovar economy, both public and private. Other staff colleagues maintain the beauty and serviceability of our campus, advise our students, and contribute to the smooth running of the institution in numerous ways.
PARTNERSHIP: Rochester Institute of Technology
We acknowledge the crucial role of our academic affiliate, Rochester Institute of Technology, in RIT Kosovo (A.U.K’s) progress. From the development of our academic program to awarding our degrees, RIT has been a wonderful partner to our success, and for this we are very grateful. In close cooperation with RIT, we have now transitioned successfully from the quarter system to the semester system, operationally aligning us more closely with other US institutes. In a further cooperative endeavor with RIT, we have implemented a new, state of the art student information system. Using advanced technology, these massive undertakings have streamlined RIT Kosovo (A.U.K)’s operations.
Board of Trustees and Donors
While we acknowledge the importance of RIT, it is also crucial to remember that RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) is a home grown, not-for-profit institution, established through the generous donations of the people of Kosovo and overseen by a Board of Trustees of prominent individuals who serve without compensation or benefits. RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) could not have existed without the initial contribution of €4.7 million from the Union Fund for the Reconstruction of Kosovo. Nor would our scholarships for financially underprivileged students have been possible without significant donations from organizations and individuals alike. Through these gifts and, in addition with our own resources, RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) has awarded more than 4.5€ million in student scholarships through AUKF and over 1.5€ million from external donors over the past 18 years. Providing quality education at RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) is undeniably an unaffordable endeavor for many Kosovar families. Unfortunately, the tuition required to fund our operations is more than many qualified and deserving high school graduates in the region can afford to pay. We do not want an RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) education to be a privilege reserved only for the wealthy. Instead, we want to be known for providing an outstanding education to all who can meet our academic requirements and expectations. In this sense, RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) will continue to be a fair, equitable scholarly institute based on merit and achievement. For these reasons, one of the most significant challenges over the second decade of our existence is to increase the number of scholarships we can award to attract outstanding young men and women of limited financial means.
NOW, MORE THAN EVER OUR STUDENTS NEED YOUR HELP!
Now, More than ever in this time of need, many of us take time to reflect upon the things in our lives for which we are most thankful. For us at RIT Kosovo (A.U.K), one of those things is the the lasting influence that this institution has had on the students that have had the opportunity to attend, graduate and go on to contribute in building the country of Kosovo. We wanted to take this opportunity, as we can never do often enough, to thank our donors for their generous support of our collective mission over the years. The generous contributions have enabled RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) to help develop Kosovo’s economy through education and to measure ourselves against the leading universities of South East Europe and the world. Now more than ever, RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) we appeal to all friends, supporters, and alumni of RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) to contribute as generously as possible to our Covid 19 scholarship program. Contributions at all levels and amounts are much appreciated; our continued student success depends greatly upon your gifts.
Now, More than ever you can be a student hero! Making a contribution is simple. You may click through on the attached link and make a secure contribution or follow any of the instructions on the link page for non-electronic donations. Contributions of securities are also welcome and of course all donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.