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The University Magazine

RIT to assist Kosovo in development of coal energy

Bill Destler
Dafina Gashi

Most experts believe Kosovo will soon be granted permanent sovereignty by the United Nations. The bigger question hovering over the region is its ability to sustain a strong economy.

RIT, American University in Kosovo and its Center for Energy and Natural Resources hope to make an impact.

“The biggest single challenge after Kosovo’s independence is its economy,” says Jim Myers, director of RIT’s Center for Multidisciplinary Studies, which collaborates with the American University in Kosovo Foundation to operate American University in Kosovo. “The biggest opportunity Kosovo has is the development of its energy resources.”

The RIT/American University in Kosovo Center for Energy and Natural Resources was established this year after RIT received a $400,000 grant from the United States Agency for International Development’s Higher Education Collaborative Partnership Program. It hopes to take advantage of Kosovo’s abundant supply of lignite coal and position the country to play a role in supplying energy to the rest of the region.

Another advantage is Kosovo’s youthful population. Sixty percent of its population is under age 25.
Dafina Gashi, an American University in Kosovo student who spent the past summer conducting energy research with the New York state energy industry and RIT, says she feels compelled to assist in the development of Kosovo’s economy.

“It’s really important work,” Gashi says. “Energy supply is a huge problem. We have power cuts all the time.”

Before returning home, Gashi presented her research at the International Energy Program Evaluation Conference in Chicago.

“Dafina’s knowledge will help Kosovo’s energy sector development and technology transfer,” says Lyndsey McGrath, the project coordinator for American University in Kosovo’s Center for Energy and Natural Resources.

John Follaco