Middlebury Institute student Drilona Aliu (MBA ’16) has been invited to participate in the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) this March where she will be have the opportunity to build her network and seek funding for a project she is very passionate about in her native Kosovo. The CGI U builds on the success of the Clinton Global Initiative, which brings together world leaders to take action on global challenges. President Bill Clinton and his daughter Chelsea will host CGI U 2015 in Miami from March 6-8, gathering together students, university representatives, topic experts, and celebrities to discuss and develop innovative solutions to some of our most pressing issues.
Drilona is very excited to have been granted this unique opportunity to promote and seek funding for a project integrating education and agriculture and targeted towards youth in Kosovo. She explains that agriculture has an “image problem” among young people in Kosovo who as a result do not view it in terms of future career opportunities. Her ideas include adding agricultural lessons to middle school curricula and creating community gardens as a pilot project in targeted schools. She adds that at past events, over $2 million in funding has been awarded to students who are invited to develop their own “Commitments in Action,” or new, specific and measurable initiatives like Drilona has, addressing pressing challenges connected to five focus areas: Education, Environment and Climate Change, Peace and Human Rights, Poverty Alleviation, and Public Health.
“Experiencing the war as a young child I never imagined that someday in the future I would be able not only to study in the United States but to participate in an event like this that might open opportunities for other young people in my country,” she says, noting her gratitude for the U.S. intervention that ended the war. It is particularly meaningful for her to be invited to this exclusive event hosted by President Clinton, she says, because “he was the one to initiate military and humanitarian protection for ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.” Drilona says she is surrounded by future leaders on the MIIS campus and encourages more of her fellow students to apply to this program.