Liridona Osmanaj ’14 is a force to be reckoned with: from fighting corruption in her work with the United Nations Development Programme, to empowering young people and fighting for gender equality in Kosovo, to competing on The Voice of Albania, she brings energy, enthusiasm and a leader’s heart to whatever new challenge she faces. This fall, Liridona will return to the United States to pursue a Master of International Public Policy at Duke University, on a full scholarship from the Kosovo American Education Fund. Below, learn more about Liridona and how Westminster helped her discover the Power in her Purpose.
Majors at Westminster:
Political Science and International Relations
• Resident Advisor
• Seminar Mentor (for Rev. Jamie Haskins’ and Dr. Craig Dennison’s seminars)
• Student representative, Sexual Misconduct Board
• Student representative, Taskforce for International Students
• Vice President, International Club
• Board member, Remley Women’s Center
• Officer, CIVICUS
• Churchill Singers Choir
• Vice President, Toastmasters International
• MUN Club
• Recipient of Vernon W. Piper Scholarship, Epperson – Phi Kappa Psi Scholarship Award, Congressman Bill Emerson Fellowship, Greg Richard Internship Scholarship, Music Performance Scholarship
Project Officer for the Anti-Corruption Programme of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
At UNDP, I work to stamp out corruption through various innovative approaches and technology; while also serving as a focal point for innovation for the UNDP Kosovo Office.
In the meantime, I am actively engaged in a plethora of other community initiatives aiming for quality education, gender equality, conflict transformation, and youth empowerment, among others.
I’ve also participated in a myriad of renown international youth events, representing Kosovo youth and amplifying their voices, such as One Young World Summit (Canada), Transparency International Summer School on Integrity (Lithuania), UN Regional Consultation on Youth, Peace & Security (Turkey), and others.
What role did Westminster play in leading you to your current position?
Westminster galvanized in me the confidence to believe in my dreams and at the same time practically prepared me to turn those dreams into reality.
The advanced coursework, high-caliber faculty and peers, opportunities & support for practical experience, and close-knit community have formed a central part of helping me learn more about myself and the type of leader that I aspire to be.
Truly, at Wesmo I found a family. When I returned home, I was as saddened when I said goodbye to my friends, faculty, and staff, just as I was sad when I left my family back home to come study to the US.
Which of your achievements are you most proud of?
I am most proud of my stubbornness to achieve positive social change for my community in a time when most of my country mates are looking for an exit route to the issues we face.
What are your goals for the future?
In general, what drives me is a rampant desire to alleviate the struggle of disadvantaged people, especially of my country-mates. So, I am determined to find ways to help people reach their full potential and create a better life for themselves and their communities.
As for more specific short-term goals, I plan to launch some grassroots initiatives and attend graduate school starting fall 2018.
Sometime in the long-term future, I plan to run for public office, to demonstrate a leadership with integrity, with the hope of increasing the trust of my people in political leaders and bring about sustainable prosperity.