26 Kosovan Women Graduate in Energy Fields in Iowa, USA
26 women from 25 different municipalities of Kosovo have graduated today from Des Moines Community College (DMACC) in Iowa, USA. Women in Energy scholarship recipients who were selected out of hundreds for a two year programme of studies in energy related fields, now are awarded with Associate Degrees in: Wind Technology, Renewable Energy, Solar Technology, Power Plant Technology, Manufacturing,Electrical, Construction Trades, Water and Wastewater Tech, Tool and Die, and Information Technology, as part of the Women in Energy Program of the Millennium Foundation Kosovo (MFK) and Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).
The hybrid graduation ceremony was attended by the President of the Republic of Kosovo, Madam Vjosa Osmani, MCC acting Chief Executive Officer, Mahmoud Bah, MCC Country Director for Kosovo, Sarah Olmstead, MFK CEO, Petrit Selimi, and the President of DMACC, Rob Denson, who celebrated graduates’ achievements through live addresses as well as recorded video messages.
In a video message, MCC Country Director Sarah Olmstead tells graduates: “You are now poised to be leaders in that transition here in Kosovo. As you come back to home and start to take jobs or think about starting something new, keep in mind that not only will we all be watching and rooting for you as you make your way, but the youth of Kosovo will also be watching and learning from your experiences.”
During this ceremony, MFK CEO, Petrit Selimi, congratulated the girls as well as thanked DMACC for close cooperation and the warm welcome to the Kosovan women. “WE Program which was supported by friends from Washington DC to DMACC and across Kosovo really brought together hundreds of women who got inspired by the words and deeds of some of the women pioneers in the energy sector and now they’ve become the new generation of women leaders who finished this stage in their life and are about to commence a new path with new knowledge hopefully with new drive and new enthusiasm to help Kosovo meet its fundamental constraints in energy” – Mr Selimi added.
This ceremony was joined by the President of the Republic of Kosovo, Vjosa Osmani, who via a video message she sent warm greetings to the 27 women who are expected to be back in Prishtina and contribute to the energy sector of the country. President Osmani told girls how proud she is for their achievements and their courage to pursue a career in STEM, while encouraging more girls to do the same: “Having more women in STEM is not only the right thing to do, it is certainly the smartest thing to do, it is exactly what we need to do right now.” – President Osmani added. Madam President went on on highlighting the role of MFK’s Program for the country’s growth by stating: “Women in Energy is a program that has not only changed your lives forever, it is it a program we are all thankful for and highly appreciate, as it is the program that also contributes actively now towards changing the course of history for women in energy in the Republic of Kosovo.”
MCC Acting CEO, Mahmoud Bah, congratulated the graduates, pointing out the crucial importance of women inclusion for Kosovo’s growth by stating: “Countries cannot succeed unless women succeed, and investments like this scholarship program to support the key role of women in Kosovo’s energy future play an important part in making that happen. Mr. Bah went on saying: “MCC’s work in critical sectors like energy is part of a holistic approach to build climate resilience, promote climate-smart economic development, and raise people out of poverty through engaging them in the transition beyond fossil fuel-based energy sources. Today’s graduates will continue to be a force for positive change in their communities, drivers of economic growth, and a source of inspiration for women everywhere.”
Throughout this two-year period, not only have these women grown professionally, meeting new people and being exposed to different cultures and ideas, but also they have developed their practical skills and gained knowledge which has prepared them for the labor market in their own country. Studies in Des Moines Community College (DMACC) have been mainly focused on hands-on interactive education and training through advanced technology and laboratories where most of the classes took place. Now, these graduates are ready to return to Kosovo and apply their knowledge for the benefit of their home country.
“Attending classes in a different approach, especially with the many lab opportunities has been a tremendous experience and adding this to my previous studies will tremendously fulfill my professional growth. The knowledge we have gained here will be an asset to our careers and the overall energy sector in Kosovo.” – states Alketa Sahiti, who graduated from DMACC with an Associate degree in Power Plant Technology.
As beneficiaries of the Women in Energy Program of the Millennium Foundation Kosovo (MFK), these young women are already potential employees of some of the leading companies in the energy sector in Kosovo, which have initially expressed their willingness to meet these newly graduates and invite them to join the market.
Women in Energy-WE is a project implemented by the Millennium Foundation Kosovo (MFK), supported by the Millennium Corporation Challenge (MCC), aiming to support Kosovo’s economic development through greater gender inclusion in Kosovo’s energy landscape.