Press release

Besa Shahini is 2019 Alumni Achievement Award winner

The Albanian education minister is honoured for her outstanding public service.

Besa Shahini, Minister for Education, Sport and Youth in Albania, was honoured with the 2019 Alumni Achievement Award at the Hertie School on 10 May at the annual Alumni Reunion, for her outstanding service and engagement for the common good.  Ambassador Artur Kuko of Albania and Ambassador Beqë Cufaj of Kosovo attended the ceremony, where Hertie School President Henrik Enderlein presented her with the award.

“Besa Shahini is an outstanding role model for everything that we value in, hope of, and expect from, our students,” Enderlein said. “Besa’s career has been exceptional. It has spanned from civil society, to academia, to government. It has taken her from Kosovo, to Canada, to Germany, and now to Albania. It is exactly what we, at the Hertie School, are proud to see our graduates accomplish.”

Shahini was named the Minister for Education, Sport and Youth in January 2019, after holding the post of Deputy Minister focusing on pre-university education since 2017.

She earned a Master of Public Policy from the Hertie School in 2009, writing her thesis with Prof. Alina Mungiu-Pippidi on agricultural policy and development in Georgia. Afterwards, she worked on EU enlargement and education as a Senior Analyst with the European Stability Initiative (ESI). 

Born in Pristina, Kosovo in 1982, she left for Canada as a teenager during the Kosovo War, receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at York University in Toronto. She returned to Kosovo in 2004 to co-found the Kosovar Stability Initiative (KSI), working on development issues there.

The award, established in 2015, honours graduates’ outstanding accomplishments in public policy or public management over the past year, demonstrating an innovative and dedicated commitment to the principles of good governance.

Shahini is one of more than 1,500 graduates of the Hertie School. Over 170 graduates from 34 countries attended the 2019 Alumni Reunion. They are part of an active network around the world in cities such as Brussels; Paris; Washington, DC; Mexico City and Bogota.