On 1 March 2006, ESI together with IKS, a newly founded Kosovo think tank, organized a panel discussion called 'A Future for Pristina's Past' at the Kosovo Museum in downtown Pristina. In the midst of Neolithic statuettes and archeological artifacts, ESI Analyst Verena Knaus and Besa Shahini, Director of IKS, presented first-hand research on Pristina's past. They identified numerous problems in effectively protecting Kosovo's cultural heritage. The event was timely in light of the importance that issues of cultural heritage will have in the final status negotiations in Vienna.
The panel also featured Enver Hoxhaj, Head of the Parliamentary Committee on Culture, Youth and Education, and Ylber Hysa, who leads the expert team drafting a Kosovo negotiation platform on the issue of cultural heritage. Many of ESI/IKS' recommendations were endorsed by both speakers.
The discussion was attended by all the key actors in Kosovo's cultural scene, including the Deputy Mayor, the Directors of the Kosovo and Pristina Institutes for the Protection of Cultural Monuments, senior staff of the Ministry of Culture, experts from the Council of Europe and civil society.
This event was made possible with the generous support of Erste Bank Privatstiftung and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.
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ESI Analyst Verena Knaus presenting first-hand research on cultural heritage policies in Pristina.
IKS and ESI presented an illustrated map of Pristina's cultural sites.
From left to right: Besa Shahini, Verena Knaus, Ylber Hysa and Enver Hoxhaj.
Enver Hoxhaj, a long-time civil society activist now heads the Parliamentary Committee on Culture, Youth and Education. He has been closely involved in the drafting of a new Law on Cultural Heritage.
Ylber Hysa heads the Kosovo expert group responsible for preparing a negotiating platform on cultural heritage for final status talks. He is also a member of the Kosovo Assembly since 2004.
The Kosovo Museum in downtown Pristina has an extensive collection of archaeological and ethnological artifacts. This 19th century building has been built originally for the regional administration of the Kosovo Vilajet.
Haxhi Mehmetaj, an archeologist by training, runs the Pristina Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments.
Baki Svirca is the director of the Kosovo Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments, responsible for protecting, conserving and enhancing Kosovo's cultural heritage.
Shefki Gashi has been Pristina's Deputy Mayor since 2002.
Kemajl Luci is one of Kosovo's leading archeologists and a former director of the Kosovo Museum. For the past two years, he organized archeological summer camps for youth in the region.