Executive Director |

20 + years’ experience in civil society sector focusing on conflict prevention, peacebuilding and development related issues in fragile and conflict-affected contexts, leading strategic development and management/oversight of complex programs, budgets, and teams in the Western Balkans, Central Asia, Caucasus, Afghanistan, UK and USA.

This includes working with Care `International`, Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and Forum for Civic Initiatives (FIQ) in Pristina; International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Kabul and Washington DC; and Saferworld in London.

His senior management experience in local and international organisations involves strategic and operations management (and leading strategic planning and review processes); developing and strengthening human resource, finance, fundraising and governance policies and systems; leading and coordinating research and advocacy; and partnerships, networking and coalition building.  

Issue areas include democratization, civil society development, elections, conflict resolution, community security, inclusive political processes, security and small arms, linking community-level peace and security with national and international policies and frameworks.

As a Board member to several NGOs since 2000, he has contributed to their organisational development and to enhancing their governance and accountability. 

Programme Manager |

Over 18 years of experience in project management, human resources, institutional and organizational development. 

Gazmend worked in different environments establishing great relations with diverse teams in various national and international organizations that he worked at in Europe, Asia and Oceania.

This includes engaging on humanitarian and relief programs, institutional/human resources  development, and democratization with Medicins Sains Frontiers (MSF), International Rescue Committee (IRC), Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) in Pristina, Kosovo; International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Islamabad, Pakistan and in Sidney & Melburne, Australia.    

Issue areas include Human and Institutional development, democratization, civil society development, elections, conflict resolution, and coaching and mentoring.

Project Manager |

Drenusha Canolli completed her bachelor’s studies at the Faculty of Philosophy in the Department of Sociology and is currently working on her master’s thesis in Sociology at the University of Pristina. She has successfully completed the Political School, which provided her with informal political education to empower herself as a leader in economic, social, and cultural aspects, aiming to create a modern society and a democratic culture.

For five years, Drenusha worked as a research journalist in one of the media outlets in Kosovo, covering social, political, and economic topics. She won the third prize for the best environmental article of the year in 2018 from the Association of Journalists of Kosovo (AGK). For two years, she worked as a project coordinator and project manager at the D4D Institute, focusing on topics such as information integrity, youth development, and women’s rights. Drenusha is also the author of various articles on topics including: environment, cultural heritage, health, and disinformation.

Finance and Administration Officer |

Dren Selmani is a driven individual with a strong educational background and professional experience.He has established himself as a valuable asset in the fields of economics, research, and nonprofit work.

Dren’s academic journey began at the University of Prishtina, where he pursued a degree at the esteemed Faculty of Economics.
To gain firsthand insights into the field, Dren worked as a field researcher at the renowned Riinvest Institute for Development and Research. This experience allowed him to delve into economic research and analysis, sharpening his analytical skills and fostering a deeper understanding of Kosovo’s economic landscape.
Dren further expanded his professional repertoire as an Accountant at Finova, a prestigious accounting and audit services company located in Prishtina. His attention to detail, strong numerical aptitude, and commitment to precision made him an integral part of the company’s operations.
Currently, Dren occupies the position of Finance and Administration Officer at The Balkan Forum. In this role, he plays a crucial part in managing financial matters and ensuring smooth administrative operations within the organization.
Beyond his professional endeavors, Dren is known for his compassionate nature and willingness to lend a helping hand. He consistently dedicates his time and expertise to assist individuals in need, particularly young entrepreneurs seeking guidance and support.

Research Officer |

Samir Beharić is the Balkan Forum’s Research Officer. Over the last 10 years, he has been involved in fostering regional cooperation, desegregating schools, and providing global opportunities to young adults.

Samir served as Lantos Congressional Fellow in the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C. and as Schuman Trainee at the European Parliament in Brussels. He authored articles and policy papers highlighting the role of youth in peacebuilding, arguing in favour of abolishing Bosnia-Kosovo visa regime, and promoting brain circulation within the Western Balkans.

His public advocacy and human rights activism was recognised by the OSCE honouring him with the 2018 Max van der Stoel Award for his efforts to prevent further ethnic segregation of schools in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Samir earned his Bachelor’s at the University of Sarajevo and won three academic scholarships to study abroad at the Free University of Berlin, Ondokuz Mayis University in Samsun, and Sapienza University of Rome. He pursued his Master’s in frame of Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree in Global Studies at University of Vienna and Leipzig University.

Besides his native Bosnian, he is fluent in English and German.