Developing Future Leaders of Kosovo Through Higher Education Partnerships
The Transformational Leadership Program
Higher education institutions have been long-standing partners in USAID’s efforts to build individual and institutional capacity across sectors in partner countries. Take Kosovo for example. As a young, independent Balkan nation working toward integration to the European Union, Kosovo’s development priorities include strengthening governance and reforming its public administration and education systems.
To address these needs, USAID launched the Transformational Leadership Program (TLP), an umbrella program with multiple components, in 2014. The TLP’s goal was to develop a group of leaders who can support Kosovo’s journey to self-reliance by driving significant economic, political, and social change. The TLP implemented courses, academic exchange, civic participation, and institution building activities through the following three components:
- Immersion and Public Courses (2014-2019)
- Scholarships and Partnerships (2014-2019)
- Citizen Corps (2016-2020)
The first two components ended April 2019 and the Citizen Corps component is scheduled to end May 2020.
Building Strategic Partnerships
For each of the three components, TLP forged strategic partnerships with higher education institutions in Kosovo:
1. In-country courses for students and public service employees
The in-country courses were a partnership between TLP and Rochester Institute of Technology- Kosovo (RIT-Kosovo). Formerly the American University of Kosovo, RIT-Kosovo is the only higher education institution in Kosovo to teach entirely in English and to provide an internationally recognized American liberal arts style education. It housed two TLP courses:
- Immersion Courses, also known as American University Preparatory Program (AUPP): The program prepared students, including those who may not have had a quality undergraduate education, for higher education opportunities in the United States (US). The curriculum focused on improving students’ English and math skills in addition to preparing them for college admissions tests such as the GRE, GMAT, and TOEFL.
- Public Service Courses, also known as the Public Policy Development and Leadership (PPDL) Program: This 14-week professional development certificate program was designed to build the public policy and leadership capacity of Kosovo Government employees at the central and municipal levels. The PPDL program provided training in public policy analysis, leadership, evidence-based decision making, and program evaluation.
2. Scholarships and partnerships
The TLP also partnered with the University of Prishtina (UP), Kosovo’s largest public university, to strengthen its management, teaching methodologies, research capacities, and career services. Capacity-building strategies included a combination of partnerships and exchanges with American universities and curriculum development at UP to align with the demands of Kosovo’s labor market.
The TLP scholarship program also awarded scholarships to Kosovar students to pursue higher education in the United States. The program supported areas of study that are critical to Kosovo’s development, ranging from Rule of Law and Public Administration to Gender and Interdisciplinary Studies.
3. Citizen Corps
Building upon the scholarship and partnerships component, the TLP is continuing to work with returning Master graduates by promoting civic participation and volunteerism. The program encourages its scholarship recipients to give back by completing 400 volunteer hours at institutions in the public, private, or non-governmental sectors in Kosovo, including higher education institutions and high schools.
The Citizen Corps program also established a TLP Alumni Association to share information and promote continued opportunities for networking, continuing education, and volunteering.
In addition to building individual and institutional capacity, the TLP promoted participatory democratic values such as academic freedom, personal responsibility, entrepreneurship, and accountability. Here is a snapshot of TLP’s achievements:
- 1,621 students were admitted to the Immersion Courses. After completing the program, 75 percent went on to a master’s level program. The rest were awarded a professional certificate (12 percent), admitted to bachelors (8 percent), or PhD programs (4 percent).
- 1,044 Government of Kosovo employees from various ministries and local governments were admitted to the Public Service Course. Over half (781) completed the certification program and 77 received a certificate of attendance. The Public Service Course is now accredited by Kosovo’s National Qualifications Authority.
Learn more about TLP’s achievements.
- The PPDL program produced the first eBook of its kind titled The Principles and Practice of Public Policy in Kosovo. The overall purpose of the eBook is to help guide current and future public and civil service employees to formulate, analyze, and implement policy more effectively.
- 185 Kosovar students were awarded scholarships for Masters Programs and 102 for Certificate Programs in the United States.
- 161 of the 185 TLP scholarship recipients for Masters Programs are giving back to their country through their volunteer placements across 160 Kosovar partner institutions in the non-governmental (67 percent), private (19 percent), and public sector (14 percent).
- University partnerships were established between the University of Prishtina and four American Universities: Arizona State University, Indiana University, University of Minnesota, and Dartmouth College.
- 39 UP staff participated in academic exchanges with American universities.
- Over 50,000 students at UP have better access to student services through newly developed resources, such as the Center for Teaching Excellence, Career Development Center, and Office for Research and Sponsored Projects.