Besa Shahini is the new Henrik Enderlein Fellow

The former Albanian Minister of Education and 2019 Alumni Achievement Award Winner succeeds former Fellow Dr Johannes Lindner.

Besa Shahini, former Minister of Education, Sports and Youth in Albania and 2019 Alumni Achievement Award winner, is the next Henrik Enderlein Fellow. Shahini takes over from Dr Johannes Lindner, who continues his work as Co-Director of the Jacques Delors Centre, the Hertie School’s research and policy centre working on the European Union. The fellowship will be awarded at the public lecture “The case for a stronger Europe: what needs to change in a deeper and wider Union?” at the Hertie School on 19 September.

A return to the Hertie School

“We are proud to welcome Besa Shahini back to the Hertie School,” says Hertie School President Cornelia Woll. “I look forward to the insights she brings on Central and Eastern Europe from her work both as a political analyst and as a practitioner.” 

“I am very much looking forward to returning to the Hertie School in the new capacity of Henrik Enderlein Fellow,” says Shahini. Shahini graduated from the private university with a Master of Public Policy in 2009 and received the university’s Alumni Achievement Award in 2019 for her work as Minister of Education, Sports and Youth in Albania. “I am coming back with years of policymaking and advocacy experience and a strengthened appreciation for the Hertie School as an institution that prepares policymakers to do their jobs despite the uncertainty that the future holds,” Shahini adds.

The public event on 19 September will mark the transition from the inaugural Henrik Enderlein Fellow Johannes Lindner to Besa Shahini. “During the past months, Johannes Lindner has enriched both our research and teaching with his focus on EU economic and fiscal policy. I am very happy that the Hertie School will continue to benefit from his insights as Co-Director of the Jacques Delors Centre.”

Henrik Enderlein’s legacy: an integrated and enlarged Europe

Shahini’s work falls squarely in the tradition of Henrik Enderlein, with whom she studied economics during her time at the Hertie School. “Henrik Enderlein was an outstanding teacher and individual, always promoting EU values in policymaking and continuously trying to connect his students with the policymaking world,” Shahini remembers. “I am honoured to work as a Henrik Enderlein Fellow for the coming year and I hope that with the research and network I bring to the Hertie School, I can contribute to his vision of an integrated and enlarged Europe.”

During her time as Henrik Enderlein Fellow, Shahini will work closely with the Jacques Delors Centre to examine the EU enlargement process to the Western Balkans. “With the war in Ukraine and the threat that Russia poses for the rest of Europe, the EU has been forced to look at the whole neighbourhood again and rethink its enlargement policy,” says Shahini. “This is a good moment to join the conversation on EU integration and enlargement by proposing ways to strengthen the process so it can help keep peace and stability in the region.” 

Experience as researcher and politician

Born in Pristina in former Yugoslavia, Shahini left for Canada as a teenager during the Kosovo War. She received 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, which works on development issues in the country. After graduating from the Hertie School, Shahini worked on EU enlargement and education as a Senior Analyst with the European Stability Initiative. Shahini was Minister of Education, Sports and Youth in Albania from 2019 to 2021.

About the Henrik Enderlein Fellowship

The Henrik Enderlein Fellowship commemorates the Hertie School’s late president and founder of the Jacques Delors Centre Henrik Enderlein. It is awarded annually to outstanding personalities dedicated to a strong European Union and enables regular research stays at the Hertie School for scholars, policymakers and academics. The fellowship contributes to building networks that bring together stakeholders from science, policy and politics in tackling urgent issues on the European and national agenda. The Henrik Enderlein Fellowship is funded by Stiftung Mercator. 

About the Hertie School

For 20 years, the Hertie School has been teaching, researching and communicating on issues of policymaking and good governance in the heart of Berlin. The public policy school offers master's degrees, doctoral programmes and customised training for public sector leaders. Under the guiding principle "Understand today. Shape tomorrow.”, around 150 academics conduct research at the Hertie School. The university's hallmark is its practice-oriented teaching and international orientation. Six centres of competence strengthen its expertise in sustainability, fundamental rights, as well as digital, security and European policy. The Hertie School was founded in 2004 by the non-profit Hertie Foundation and has been largely supported by it ever since. It is state-recognised and accredited by the German Council of Science and Humanities.

About Stiftung Mercator

Stiftung Mercator is a private, independent and non-profit foundation that acts on the basis of scientific expertise and practical project experience. Since 1996, it has been advocating for a society based on solidarity and participation. To this end, it supports and develops projects that improve participation and cohesion in an increasingly diverse community. Stiftung Mercator stands up for a cosmopolitan, democratic Europe, a digital transformation of state and society based on fundamental rights, and socially just climate change mitigation. Stiftung Mercator pursues activities in Germany, Europe and worldwide. It feels particularly connected to the Ruhr area, home of its founder's family and the foundation’s headquarters.