5th edition of the Regional Annual Competition of the Balkan Green Ideas (BGI) competition has been organized in Vrdnik, Serbia. This year the competition gathered representatives from 6 countries of the Western Balkans and provided an opportunity for competitors to present their green and innovative ideas. For two days, 18 innovative, original, and unique green ideas were presented in front of the jury members who had the challenging task of choosing the three winners who were each awarded $10,000. 


Anica Maja Boljevic has been executive director of the Fund for Active Citizenship (fAKT) since its foundation in 2008. She served as the Head of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) program in Montenegro from November 2002 to October 2005, after she had managed CRS youth advocacy and leadership program for two years. Before joining CRS, Maja was a high school teacher of English for eight years. Her professional background and experience have been strongly linked to education and civil society programs, with an emphasis on supporting and fostering civic participation to encourage proactive problem solving and responsive governance. She is a member of the National Council for NGO Development and serves on several boards of Montenegrin non-profit organizations.

Biljana Dakic Djordjevic leads Trag Foundation, an indigenous non-profit foundation supporting local communities and grassroots activism in Serbia. Trag Foundation encourages citizen engagement and promotes local philanthropy in support of building an equitable and open Serbian society. Biljana has 17 years of professional experience in the non-profit sector, with extensive knowledge of fundraising and partnership development, strategic planning, program management, and cross-sector cooperation. She managed a regional grant-making program with the Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD), a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, (2012-2014). Prior to BTD, she supported the capacity building of political and public leaders in Serbia and the Balkans as the development director of the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence. She has also co-designed and organized training for women politicians in the Parliament and local government. Biljana is a board member of the UN Global Compact in Serbia.

Juliana Hoxha founded Partners Albania for Change and Development in 2001 and serves as Executive Director since then.  She has more than 20 years of professional experience in institutional and capacity building, NGO sub-granting program design and management, and NGO legal framework development in transitional democracies. With a strong academic background and research experience, she has led research-based advocacy efforts on the development of legal incentives and the practice of social entrepreneurship and philanthropy in Albania. Juliana is a member of several inter-sectorial working groups in the country and expert groups at Balkan and European levels.

Ms. Hoxha holds a BA and MA in History from Tirana University, and MSc in Business Management and ICT from Sheffield University. She is a Chevening and Harvard Kennedy School Fellow and speaks fluent English and Italian.

Vjosa Ismaili is a project assistant at the Organization for Social innovation ARNO. She earned her BA in International Communications from the Faculty of Languages, Cultures, and Communications at the Southeast European University. She has been active in the non-governmental sector since the age of 14 when she was a participant in the national program of the Macedonian Red Cross, known as the Promotion of Human Values.  Nowadays, she serves as an instructor for the program and is the vice president of the Macedonian Red Cross’ Youth.  Also, she is the Focal Point in Charge of the Y-PEER national network. Vjosa’s work is focused on ensuring youth participation in the decision-making processes and promoting the culture of dialogue as a core precondition for intercultural society. 

Irina Janevska is the founder and president of the Organization for Social innovation ARNO. Also, she is Y-PEER Macedonia Focal Point, and Curator at the World Economic Forum (Global Shapers Skopje Hub) devoted to working on initiatives that ensure social impact and community outreach. At ARNO, Irina’s primary focus is initiatives that promote sustainable development, social entrepreneurship, and advocacy for post-2015 processes in the country. Under her leadership, ARNO’s team was earned 2nd place at the Social Impact Award and grew into an entity that is recognized as a social change agent.  Previously, Irina held management positions at projects supported by UNFPA, UNDP, MTV Staying Alive, Embassy of Switzerland in Skopje/Swiss Cooperation Office, The British Embassy in Skopje, etc. Irina holds a BA in Communications Sciences and is enrolled in an MA in Cultural Studies.

Anto Jankovic has been a philanthropy development program manager in the Fund for Active Citizenship since 2009. An economist by education, Anto has extensive experience in media and politics. His professional and educational interests are primarily in civic activism, philanthropy, CSR, social entrepreneurship, green economy, and ICT/Internet-based business. He has consultancy experience in business and strategic planning, marketing, and advocacy.  Born on the same day as Bill Gates and Eros Ramazzotti (but in 1977), Anto is an entrepreneur soul since his birth, with a life motto: "Believe in change, move borders, make it happen!”

Kostandina Keruti is a project manager at Partners Albania for Change and Development. She is responsible for key aspects of project implementation and management primarily focused on philanthropy development and promotion, CSR, social enterprises, and social innovation. Kostandina has extensive experience in education and not-for-profit sector, including working as a specialist at Institute for Curricula and Training and professor at the University of Tirana, project coordinator and researcher for Program Alternative for Social Stimulation (PASS) organization, Albanian Council on Foreign Relations (ACFR), and serving as UNICEF national trainer on environmental education.

Ivana Markovic is the grant program manager at Trag Foundation. She has been with Trag since 2005 and currently leads grant program team. Ivana is responsible for the development and management of all grant programs in Trag, including management of the decision-making process. Her expertise in grant-making includes the management of various grant programs such as grass-root grants for community-based organizations and informal groups, advocacy grants for mid-capacity organizations. and grants for CSOs social service providers. Ivana has graduated from Landscape Architecture and has 15 years of experience in civil society in Serbia. She is certified by Project for Public Spaces (USA) as a placemaking consultant for Serbia.

Merita Mustafa has recently started to work as a program developer and fundraising manager at the Forum for Civic Initiatives (FIQ). She has eight years of working experience in writing, managing, and fundraising for diverse projects in Kosovo’s NGO sector and local government (Pristina Municipality). The projects that she was enrolled in were tackling energy efficiency, youth employment, and advocacy towards increased transparency in public spending and greater engagement of the citizens in decision making processes. Merita is also a founder of the initiative which helps women and children to realize their rights on property and alimony. Along with 24 other women, she has worked voluntarily to assist these marginalized groups. Merita graduated in management and is currently doing her master's studies in Business Administration at Staffordshire University.

Kushtrim Puka is a program manager at the Forum for Civic Initiatives (FIQ), a leading civil society organization in Kosovo. He has significant experience in both the private and public sectors working with some of the most successful companies and organizations in Kosovo such as ELKOS Group, GAP Institute for Advanced Studies, and IPKO Telecommunications LLC. Additionally, Kushtrim is also an entrepreneur, an avid mentor, and an investor in a number of startups. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Rochester Institute of Technology, with a major in Entrepreneurship and minor in Public Policy. Additionally, he earned a Certificate from Harvard Kennedy School of Government on Strategic Management & Leadership.


Haki Abazi is the program director of the Western Balkans portion of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund’s Pivotal Place program. Prior to joining the RBF in 2007, Mr. Abazi served as the director of the Kosovo office of the East-West Management Institute, where he developed and implemented a wide range of programs addressing critical issues in Kosovo during the transition period. Mr. Abazi spent more than nine years designing and managing development programs that supported overall developments and increased citizen participation in decision-making processes in a number of countries, including Kosovo, Serbia, Montenegro, Afghanistan, and Indonesia. He has in-depth knowledge of and experience with the civil society community and the geopolitics of the Balkans region. Mr. Abazi holds a degree in computer sciences and management and was educated in Kosovo and the United States. He is fluent in English, Albanian, and Serbian, and also knows basic Dari.

Visar Azemi is the executive director at the Balkan Green Foundation and coordinator of the Kosovo Civil Society Consortium for Sustainable Development. Previously, Mr. Azemi served as the representative and lecturer for the University of Maryland University College (UMUC) in Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo. He has over ten years of professional experience in the non-profit sector, with extensive knowledge in partnership development, strategic planning, program management, and marketing. His prior work also includes management work with the Central Texas College, International Organization for Migration, and KBR.

Mr. Azemi holds a graduate degree in electrical engineering from the University of Pristina, a second Bachelor’s degree in Management Studies, and a Master’s degree in International Financial Management from the University of Maryland University College.

Rinora Gojani is the program manager at the Balkan Green Foundation. Rinora specialized in European Union politics and policy and has a special interest in the energy sector, sustainable development, and activism in the Western Balkans.  Previously, Rinora worked as Senior Research/Policy Analyst for sustainable development issues at the Institute for Development Policy, where she also liaised with global environmental and sustainable development policy organizations. Additionally, she worked at the Ministry of European Integration where she cooperated intensively with the Ministry of Energy and Mining on providing inputs to the European Commission Progress Report. Rinora has been active in various civil society organizations, such as Integra NGO, where she coordinated ‘Our Future European Integration’ project, an exchange program which brought together young people from Kosovo, Serbia, and the Netherlands and Youth Initiative for Human Rights, where she mobilized volunteers, organized street actions and monitored the implementation of laws. Rinora has extensive experience in organizing campaigns and fundraising, with a focus on social, environmental, and development issues.

Dragana Ilic is the program manager for Philanthropy for Green Ideas, a project of the Balkan Green Foundation supported by the Western Balkan Program of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF). Until May 2016, Dragana served for almost seven years as program assistant within the same program at the RBF. Prior to her engagements at the RBF, she was involved in many international projects as an independent research analyst, such as with Kosovo Foundation for Open Society’s Support for Decentralization in Kosovo and Forum 2015. Previously, Dragana worked as a human resources development specialist in Serbia’ Ministry of Ecology from 2005 to 2007 and as the assistant to Mayor of Štrpce/Shtërpcë in Kosovo from 2002 to 2004. She earned her M.A. in psychology at the University of Belgrade. Dragana obtained trainer-level skills in mediation as a conflict resolution process from the Council of Europe’s School of Mediation in 2002. She is a certified constructivist couch and psychotherapist under supervision. Dragana has heterogeneous experience in psychological counseling, including private practice and year-long volunteering at the Psychiatric Clinic “Laza Lazarevic” in Belgrade.

Karen Karnicki is the program assistant for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund’s Peacebuilding and Western Balkans programs. Prior to joining the RBF, Ms. Karnicki was an intern at UN Women, where she conducted research on gender mainstreaming within the UN system. In 2014, she joined the inaugural team at Rhize, a start-up nonprofit that seeks to build the capacity of grassroots social movements around the world. As a fellow at Rhize, she helped grow the organization by fundraising, managing research projects, developing training materials, and assisting with program design and implementation. Ms. Karnicki also worked as an ESOL teacher in Prague, Czech Republic, and as an assistant for the Islamic Civilization & Societies program at Boston College. She holds a Master of Arts in human rights studies with a concentration in gender and transitional justice from Columbia University, as well as a B.A. from Boston College, where she studied Slavic studies and Islamic civilization & societies.

Graphic Recording & Media Support

Benjamin Felis has been working as a graphic and digital recorder since 2012 as well as a facilitator since 2006. Former graffiti artist, he graduated from psychology and social education from the University of Applied Sciences in Düsseldorf.

Jessica Kammerer has been an illustrator all her life. Her artistic career started with dancing and choreography, in which field she worked for ten years. Additionally, she studied psychology and philosophy. In 2015, Jessica started to collaborate with Benjamin Felis and since then she has been focused on graphic recording.

Slaven Miljus is a cameraman, working with Center for Research, Transparency, and Accountability for several years. He also works with Mreza production group. Over the course of his career, he has been covering a lot of various gatherings, meetings, and seminars.

Vladimir Nesovic is the director of photography, cameraman, and photographer for more than 15 years. He has worked for many commercial companies, marketing agencies, documentary films, TV shows, and NGOs. He graduated from the Faculty of Dramatic Arts at the University of Belgrade.

Vesna Radojevic has been with the Center for Research, Transparency, and Accountability (CRTA) team since September 2013, when she joined CRTA’s “Istinomer” (“Truth-o-meter”) as a journalist. She is primarily in charge of Istinomer’s video form: features, interviews, debates. Apart from graduating from the Faculty of Political Sciences, she has also accomplished several schools of investigative journalism. Over the course of her studies, she has been enrolled in internships with different media outlets. As a student, Vesna won the “Borivoje Mirkovic” award for the best student TV piece in 2012. She is one of the award winners for investigative journalism in electronic media, awarded by the Independent Journalists Association of Serbia (NUNS) and the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade, on the occasion of the international Independent Media Day. Vesna also works as a journalist in TV production Mreza.