Country Foundations and Forum Organizers

Anica-Maja Boljevic, Fund for Active Citizenship, Montenegro

Maja Boljevic is the executive director of the Fund for Active Citizenship (fAKT), a Montenegrin nongovernmental and nonprofit grantmaking foundation. Prior to her current position, she served as the head of the Catholic Relief Services’ (CRS) program in Montenegro from November 2002 to October 2005, where she also managed the youth advocacy and leadership program in 2001–2002. Before joining CRS, from 1993 to 2001 she worked as a high school English language and literature teacher.

Ms. Boljevic’s professional background and experience are strongly linked to education and civil society programs, with an emphasis on supporting and fostering civic participation to encourage proactive problem solving and responsive governance. She has participated in the development, implementation, and evaluation of programs that foster strategic development in several areas: community involvement in public education, advocacy and civic participation, youth and women empowerment, peace and conflict transformation, and local and international networks. She has experience with mechanisms for participatory planning of community driven development programs and with policy issues, policy implementation, and participatory monitoring and evaluation of policy. As a consultant for the Montenegrin Ministry of Education and Science, Ms. Boljevic revised the National Youth Action Plan. She also served as a member of the National Council for Youth for two years.


Juliana Hoxha, Director, Partners Albania, Center for Change and Conflict Management

Juliana Hoxha started Partners Albania in 2001. She has 16 years of experience in development issues, advocacy campaigns, trainings, and consulting, including 11 years managing three USAID cooperative agreements, trainings, and grant programs. Her experience includes a long and successful working relationship with official donor assistance (ODA) donors and international and local organizations in Albania. Ms. Hoxha has a rich experience in project design, development, and management; training curricula development and delivery; proposal writing; and cross-sector relations. She also has experience in program design, administration, and assessment as well as extensive experience in grants program design and management, especially in umbrella grants for local organizations. In addition to her experience, Ms. Hoxha has strong professional relationships with the non-for-profit sector, local government, donor community, and relevant government institutions.

Mexhide Spahija, Executive Director, Forum for Civic Initiatives

Mexide Spahija holds an MSc in political science from Lund University in Sweden. She has worked at the Swedish Parliament for the Liberal Party and has interned at the Swedish embassy in Pristina. Ms. Spahija is currently the executive director of Forum for Civic Initiatives (FIQ).

Zoran Stojkovski, Executive Director, Center for Institutional Development-CIRa

Zoran Stojkovski is the executive director of the Center for Institutional Development-CIRa. He has extensive experience facilitating, managing, consulting, and providing training services in the fields of institutional development, organizational sustainability, philanthropy, and corporate social responsibility (CSR) development areas for many organizations, institutions, and companies in Macedonia and southeast Europe.

Mr. Stojkovski believes that a vibrant and sustainable civil society in countries in transition can be achieved only if civil society is seriously involved in key societal processes, especially in the mobilization of local resources to address local problems and meet local needs. In the past, he has worked as a project manager for the USAID Democracy Network Program (1998–2004) and as a local expert of training and mentoring within the EAR-funded program for Capacity Building of Networks and Coalitions (2005–2007). As a consultant, he has provided services for various programs funded by EC, USAID, UNDP, SDC, SIDA, DFID, HIVOS, NOVIB, and the World Bank. Mr. Stojkovski holds a Master’s certificate in donor development practices from London Metropolitan University

Mia Vukojevic, Executive Director, Balkan Community Initiative Fund

Mia Vukojevic holds a BA Honors in European integration from the Faculty of Public Affairs and Policy Management at Carleton University in Ottawa and is currently completing her MA in Eastern European studies. She has 12 years of management and fundraising experience in development organizations. Through her professional career Ms. Vukojevic has worked for the European Union, the United Nations, Oxfam, and the International Committee of the Red Cross. Additionally, she has served on the board of directors for the Sphere Project in Geneva and on the board of trustees of the Balkan Community Initiative Fund (BCIF). In addition to fundraising and management, her areas of expertise are strategic planning, gender and women’s rights, and refugee and minority rights. Ms. Vukojevic has been BCIF’s executive director since October 2011.

Guest from Montenegro

Bosiljka Vukovic, Head of the Division for the Support to the National Council for Sustainable Development, Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism

Bosiljka Vukovic has been working in the area of sustainable development in her native country Montenegro since 2007. She serves as secretary of the National Council for Sustainable Development, a multi-stakeholder advisory body of the government of Montenegro on sustainable development issues, chaired by the prime minister. As a national focal point for the UN Commission for Sustainable Development (CSD) and the national preparations for the Third World Summit on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), Ms. Vukovic has been actively involved in UN and EU sustainable development processes since 2008. In May 2011, she was elected vice chair of the Bureau for the 20th session of the CSD on behalf of the UN Eastern European Group.

Prior to returning to Montenegro, she worked on grassroots development programs, most notably in Serbia on monitoring and evaluation of infrastructural, community building and agricultural development projects. She holds an MA from the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at the Johns Hopkins University with a concentration in international economics and European studies.


Presenters of Green Ideas


Boris Cavkovski, Macedonia

Boris Cavkovski is from Skopje. He earned his bachelor’s degree in biotechnology, and completed his education in economic faculty in Varna, Bulgaria. Boris is the general manager of Kalonis Ltd in Skopje. Recently, he became registered as a private agriculture producer in the Ministry of Agriculture of Republic of Macedonia.


Lavdosh Ferruni, Albania            

Lavdosh Ferruni is an environmental activist in Albania. He earned his bachelor’s degree in economics in Tirana and received his master’s degree in Greece in 1993. For many years he has been an outside lecturer in the university. In 1997, Mr. Ferruni founded the Organic Agriculture Association (OAA), which focuses on the promotion of sustainable rural development in Albania,. He currently serves as its executive director. Since its establishment, OAA has been a key player in environmental movements in Albania.

Mr. Ferruni has been actively involved in waste management issues since 2004. He implemented a project for cleaning waste in the tourist area of Dukati and beginning in 2010, has been part of the leadership of a campaign to stop the import of waste in Albania. In 2011, the Ministry of Environment in Albania certified Mr. Ferruni as an environmental expert. Over the past 10 years, he has published more than 500 articles in newspapers, and has participated over 100 televised debates.


Burim Haxholli, Kosovo

Burim Haxholli holds a master’s degree in public administration from the Rochester Institute of Technology. He is the executive director of FOCUS, a Kosovar NGO. Mr. Haxholli is the deputy head of the Prishtina Youth Network and a member of ICBL and MCMC.


Selim Jashari, Kosovo

Selim Jashari is a systems administrator at FSK. He attended “Xhevdet Doda” Gymnasium from 1999–2003 and UPFIEK.

Marijana Kljajic, Montenegro

Marijana Kljajic earned her IV degree as a commercial technician in Berane. In 1995 she married her husband Milan. She and her family live in Milan’s rural home inherited from his father in the village of Lubnice. Ms. Kljajic’s father- and grandfather-in-law are well-known beekeepers.

Ms. Kljajic has an organic apiary and is engaged in agricultural production, especially in raspberry production. She possesses a small number of livestock. Mr. and Mrs. Kljajic have four children: three daughters, ages 16, 11, and 7, and a 15-year-old son. The family’s interest in beekeeping and agricultural production is evident in her son, who is also an excellent student, and despite his youth, possesses extensive knowledge and experience in these areas. During farming season, the entire family is involved in agricultural work. In addition to her agricultural work, Ms. Kljajic has worked as a farm advisor for microcredit bank Agro Invest for 13 years.

Natasa Medjedovic, Montenegro

Natasa Medjedovic is one of the founders of SOS Hotline for Women and Children Victims of Violence Niksic, an organization founded in 1998 that works to promote and protect women’s and children’s rights, and fight against all types of discrimination and violence against women and children. She currently serves as the executive coordinator for the organization, a program coordinator in the Program for Marginalized Groups of Women and Children and the Program for Cooperation, and as a trainer in the Women Can Do It program.


As a result of her leadership skills, Ms. Medjedovic is actively involved in all aspects of the organization from the helpline to the signing of the Declaration on Gender Equality by political parties. In 2009, she assisted with the establishment of Rukatnice, a women’s craft cooperative that serves as a successful alternative and innovative model in the employment of REA women in Niksic and Montenegro. The cooperative was the first of its kind in Montenegro. Ms. Medjedovic holds a number of international and national certificates related to women’s leadership, democracy, and the protection of children and women’s rights.


Margarita Poposka, Macedonia

Margarita Poposka is project manager of the Biosfera Center for Education, Environment and Nature Protection, an organization that aims to educate youth about sustainable development and protecting the environment in Macedonia.


Iris Sojli, Albania

Upon returning to Albania after 20 years abroad, Iris Sojli has coordinated projects for the Social Stimulating Alternative Program (SSAP) since 2010. During her time abroad, she lived, studied, and worked in Athens, Paris, and Rome, where in addition to her research and degrees in literature, she gained experience in community work as a volunteer. Coming from a family that was persecuted during the Communist regime, Ms. Sojli grew up in an area of Tirana populated by Roma people. This is one of the reasons why she is very active and sensitive toward conditions for this population.        


Anica Spasov, Serbia

Ms. Spasov holds a degree in chemistry from Belgrade University with a specialization in medical biochemistry. She is the mother of a disabled boy. Fifteen years ago, she gathered parents of disabled children in the Zvezdara municipality in Belgrade and established the association, Our House. In 2002, the first daycare center run by a CSO was established within Our House as an alternative to state institutions. She has initiated numerous projects and services for disabled persons and recently has become engaged in social entrepreneurship.


Sanja Stankovic, Montenegro

Sanja Stankovic has worked as a private entrepreneur at Start Design Studio D.O.O., in Bar, Montenegro since 2011. Upon founding her own company for interior design and discovering a lack of interest amongst clients for this area of interior design, Ms. Stankovic began making handmade souvenirs using seashells, stones, olive trees, and other natural products that are entirely based on local resources. Her handmade products unite tradition, creativity, aesthetics, humanity, the protection of flora, and remodeling. Presently, it yields small benefits and is a great experience for all participants in the supply chain.

Ms. Stankovic graduated from the IT-Academy for Print Design in Belgrade. She completed training in interior architecture design at the Kolarac Institute in Belgrade and at the Institute Callegri in Milan, where she studied under the famous Italian professor of architecture and design, Emanuel Corella.


Mirjana Stevanovic, Serbia

Ms. Stevanovic holds a MA in applied ecology and environmental protection and is certified to work with disabled children. She has been with Bridges for more than six years. Currently, she governs the association and is responsible for the implementation of its projects. She is the author of many projects dealing with the environment and people with disabilities. In 2011, Ms. Stevanovic’s project "With Health towards Poverty" won an international prize.


Vladimir Stojanovic, Serbia

Vladimir Stojanovic is a student at the Faculty of Special Education and Rehabilitation with experience in journalism and the civil society sector. He is a member of NUNS (Independent Journalist Association). Mr. Stojanovic has served as chief of the CESID regional office in Vranje, chief of the Protecta office in Nis, program director at ABC Vranje, and editor of local Independent TV 017 in Vranje. Currently, he works as program director at Optimist.


Iskra Stojkovska, Macedonia

Iskra Stojkovska is multimedia director at the University of Cyril and Methodius in Skopje, Macedonia, and the co-founder and president of Front 21/42 an environmental NGO, which was established in 2005.


Zeqir Taga, Albania

Mr. Taga brings over 50 years of experience of expertise in aquaculture, including scientific research for artificial fish cultivation. He completed his studies in biology-chemistry in the Faculty of Social Sciences at Tirana University in 1963. In the past he has held several leading positions in the fishing enterprises in Durres and Kavaje, and has served as the director of the fishery department in the Ministry of Industry and Food in Tirana. From 2000–2007, Mr. Taga was the national coordinator for a World Bank pilot project on the development of fishery in Albania. Since 1997, he has served as the chair of the Professional Fishermen’s Association. He has held several specializations in the field of aquaculture, including Italy, China, and Japan. Mr. Taga is the author of a series of publications on fishery and aquaculture, and of several technical projects in the field.


Jeton Zhupi, Kosovo

Jeton Zhupi holds a degree in economics, management, and finance from the University of Prishtina. He currently is an experienced business developer and international trade specialist at the manufacturing trading company “J-PRO” LLC. From 2004–2006, he was a liaison officer and was responsible for international communications at Dukagjini Kross Regional Development Agency, and from 2002–2004, was the regional sales manager at Meridian Company in Prizren. He has previously worked for the regional documentation office of the OSCE and UN Joint Task Force, Doctors Without Borders, Ajans France Press, and as an interpreter and office translator for the Kosovo Verification Mission of the OSCE.

RBF Staff

Haki Abazi, Program Director, Western Balkans

Haki Abazi is the program director for the Western Balkans portion of the RBF’s Pivotal Place program. Prior to joining the Rockefeller Brothers Fund in 2007, Mr. Abazi served as director of the Kosovo office for the East West Management Institute, Inc. Mr. Abazi developed and implemented a wide range of programs addressing critical issues in Kosovo during the transition period. He also has played an important role in the development of the civil society in the region. Mr. Abazi has over nine years of experience in designing and managing development programs in Kosovo, Serbia, Montenegro, Afghanistan, and Indonesia. These programs were designed to support overall developments and increase the level of participation of citizens in the decision-making processes. Mr. Abazi has in-depth knowledge and work experience related to the Balkan’s civil society community and the geopolitics of the region. He is chairing the steering committee for Grantmakers East Forum and sits on the boards of several international organizations. Mr. Abazi holds a degree in computer sciences and management, and was educated in Kosovo and the United States. He is fluent in English, Albanian, and Serbian, and also knows basic Dari.


Dragana Ilic, Program Assistant, Western Balkans

Dragana Ilic joined the Rockefeller Brothers Fund in December 2009 as program assistant for the Western Balkans Program. Prior to joining the RBF, she was engaged in many projects as a research analyst, particularly in the field of evaluating the progress of the reform projects introducing democratic values and building up the capacities of local government. She has in-depth experience in introducing the concept of human resource management to Serbia’s public sector as well as in strengthening democratic practices in the local government of Kosovo. She worked as an assistant to the mayor of Štrpce/Shtërpcë in Kosovo from 2002 to 2004 and as a human resources development specialist in the Ministry of Ecology in Serbia from 2005 to 2007.


Ms. Ilic was born in Belgrade, Serbia, where she attended high school and the University of Philosophy. She earned her MA in psychology and is currently pursuing PhD studies in psychology of the person. She obtained trainer-level skills in mediation as a conflict resolution process and counseling skills in the field of constructivist psychotherapy.


Rachel LaForgia, Program Assistant, Peacebuilding and Western Balkans

Rachel LaForgia is the program assistant for the Peacebuilding and Western Balkans programs. Prior to joining the RBF, she managed the Community Service Center at Ramapo College and served as a research assistant at the PeaceWomen Project and the International Center for Transitional Justice. Previously, Ms. LaForgia was a Fulbright English teaching assistant in Spain and taught high school Spanish in Florida. She holds a BA in history and Spanish from Franklin and Marshall College and an MS in global affairs from New York University, where her research focused on gender-based violence, peacebuilding, international law, and transitional justice. Ms. LaForgia currently serves as the resources editor for the Journal for Peacebuilding and Development.


Katarina Yee, Communications Associate

Katarina Yee is communications associate at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. She is responsible for administering the Fund's website, coordinating the publication of internal and external materials, and providing support to the director of communications. Prior to joining the Fund, Ms. Yee was a part of the communications and development team at the I Have a Dream Foundation’s national office. At the Foundation, she worked to strengthen communications with the organization’s network of affiliates, helped to enhance outreach efforts, and assisted in the execution of fundraising events. Ms. Yee has also worked as a freelance reporter and photojournalist in Boston and interned for talk show host Tavis Smiley’s holding company, The Smiley Group, Inc. in Los Angeles. She earned a BS in print and multimedia journalism from Emerson College.


Helena Qirici, Intern, Western Balkans Program

Helena Qirici is an intern for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund’s Western Balkans program. She graduated from the Department of Political Science and Public Administration of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, with a specialization in international and European studies. She previously worked as an intern at the UNHCR office in Tirana. Ms. Qirici has experience in both the civil society and business sectors. She is from Albania and is fluent in Albanian, Greek, and English.