The launch of the University of Prishtina’s Career Center Database and Alumni Website

Remarks for Ambassador Delawie

Ambassador Delawie’s remarks at the launch of the University of Prishtina’s Career Center Database and Alumni Website, October 31,2017

Hello everyone.  Rector, Minister, educators, distinguished guests.  It’s really a pleasure for me to be here today as we inaugurate this important new tool for the University’s Career Development Center.  Thank you to everyone at Transformational Leadership Program and University of Prishtina for making this possible.

I think most of us – at least those who are my age – can remember how daunting it was to make that critical transition from the relative security of academia to the great unknown of a new career.  We look to university career centers as the indispensable bridge in this process, providing help and advice every step of the way to countless students every year.  And that means career centers like this one need every possible resource to help the students on that journey.

An important part of what career centers can do is connect students to vast alumni networks that have the power to play a huge role in the professional development of the talented individuals who follow in their footsteps.  In fact, in the U.S., it’s not uncommon for alumni to interview you before you even get to university.

At my alma mater any student can contact alumni to help review resumes, conduct a practice interview, or even just ask for career advice – and over the years I’ve done that for students countless times.  And Kosovo is literally filled with University of Prishtina alumni, in every field and discipline and sector.  There are thousands of mentors-in-waiting in every city and village.  So imagine the impact it could have once this new database unleashes that potential.

The database will also play a critical role in helping students connect to opportunities for hands-on experience before they graduate. Because it’s not enough to educate, we have to ensure that every student has both the knowledge and the practical skills they need to make their mark in the world.

I hear again and again from businesses across Kosovo that we need to provide more opportunities for students to gain both academic and on-the-job training in their chosen fields.  And what better way to do that then to connect students with potential employers for internships while they’re still in school?  In fact, I understand much of the demand for this database is coming from the business community itself, who will now be able to connect with students through career fairs, workshops and internships.

The challenge now is to ensure that this database is as useful as possible.  We all know that technology is a vital tool but it’s up to people to get the most out of it.  So it’s incumbent on everyone in this room and everyone invested in career development at the University, to get the word out to your alumni and to the private sector community to be part of this process.  I urge you to raise your voices, reach out to your networks, and get people involved.  The more alumni and businesses who participate, the bigger the impact this can have.

As with all of our TLP Partnership initiatives, the University has an opportunity to make meaningful progress here, but this requires strong administrative leadership and funding for permanent, well-qualified staffing and operations.  I hope to see you make those investments soon.

We have to remember that the long-term goal isn’t to continue sending promising young scholars to the U.S. for their studies.  It’s to ensure that students in Kosovo have access to top-notch education at home, and that includes the means to help them find jobs after graduation.

The new database and alumni website are real milestones on the way to making that vision a reality, and I thank everyone here who helped to make this happen.

Thank you all very much.