It is a great honor for me to receive this Lifetime Achievement Award from the Women's International Film & Television Showcase, it only saddens me that my husband, Tony Blanco, cannot be with me to share this moment, as he would be as honored and proud as I am.
I congratulate you on the beautiful initiative to support and celebrate the dedication, passion and integrity of women in film everywhere, and I thank TheWIFTS Board for considering me worthy of this precious award. I am very sorry to be unable to receive it in person. Thank you!
THE WOMEN'S INTERNATIONAL FILM & TELEVISION SHOWCASE
JULY 2nd 2016
Passion & Integrity Commerce & Creativity Equality Not Hierarchy
Valdete Idrizi is the recipient of TheWIFTS Peace Award, for her dedication to being an active board member of many organizations, networks and foundations in the pursuit of peace in Kosovo. Idrizi works relentlessly towards the higher participation of women in every aspect of society, and to achieving a sustainable peace by properly dealing with the past, creating an environment for the younger generation to maximize their potential and promote diversity as an important value in Kosovo's society.
Valdete Idrizi, a peace activist, was born and raised in Mitrovica, Kosovo. Valdete started her activism at an early age, initially with an alternative theatre in Mitrovica in the '90s and after the Kosovo war in 1999, she engaged in dialogue and established peace initiatives, to bring normality back to her city. Unfortunately, 15 years after the end of the war, Mitrovica still remains ethnically divided.
Idrizi is one of the founders of local grassroots multi-ethnic organization, Community Building Mitrovica (CBM), well known not only in Kosovo but in the Balkans, for being persistent and committed in bridging the divide between the different communities. In the last 15 years, Community Building Mitrovica (CBM) has been implementing various projects and activities, by empowering communities, the younger generations and women in particular.
Many other initiatives have sprung from these dialogues, activities such as Mitrovica Rock School, Mitrovica Women Association for Human Rights, and Mitrovica Forum, which continue to be active and engage communities from both sides.
After ten years of leading the Community Building in Mitrovica, Valdete challenged herself with a new responsibility, and became the Executive Director of the largest civil society network, in Kosovo: CiviKos Platform.
CiviKos Platform is a unique cross-sectorial civil society network that works to enable an environment for formal cooperation between the civil society and the public authorities in Kosovo.
With her network, she has set up a Governmental Body, a Joint National Council that serves as a Platform for civil society and Government Dialogue. As Co-Chair, with the State Secretary, the Council advocates for proper participation of the civil society and the public in the areas of policy making, needed legislation, and transparency and accountability for public finances and all other matters of a civil society.
Besides being the voice of civil society with public institutions in Kosovo in one side, and facilitating many advocacy initiatives and processes of civil society organizations throughout Kosovo in the other side, Valdete still manages to be actively engaged in other initiatives that contribute to peace and stability not only in Kosovo but throughout the Region.
Since 2009, she continues to be a coordinator of Mitrovica Forum, a platform for dialogue and cooperation between the two sides of a ethnically divided city, which is part of the International Forum of Cities in Transition, and takes part in the global forum activities to learn from and share experiences with other delegations from other similar cities in transition in the different parts of the world.
Valdete Idrizi, as a peace practitioner, regularly gives lectures, training sessions, and being a mentor to the younger generation on peace activism, feminism and encouraging them to initiate and develop joint initiatives: Initiatives such as Young Women Peace Academy (YWPA), Regional School of Feminism, Dialogue Academy for young women, initiated by other prestigious organizations.
Idrizi is also part of other peace and reconciliation Networks and Initiatives in the Balkans, such as Regional Commission for Establishing the Facts about War Crimes and Other Gross Violations of Human Rights Committed on the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia (RECOM), the Initiative Follow Us, a Dialogue Platform that brings together prominent women from Kosovo and Serbia, from various sectors, with a primary focus on women MPs, of the two countries, that contributes to regional co-operation.
As an active board member of many organizations, networks and foundations, Idrizi works relentlessly towards the higher participation of women in every aspect of society, and to achieving a sustainable peace by properly dealing with the past, creating an environment for the younger generation to maximize their potential and promote diversity as an important value in Kosovo's society.
For her work and dedication to peace, Valdete Idrizi has received several international awards. She was the European recipient of the International Women of Courage Award from the US State Department in 2008, given to her by the Secretary of State. She was awarded the Soroptimist Peace Prize 2009, and received the title Peace Ambassador by the Universal Peace Federation (UPF). She has also received much recognition by youth organizations and civil society in her community.
Valdete Idrizi has a very diverse professional background, including studies in Geology, master studies on Conflict Management, and is actively involved in alternative theatre in her hometown for almost 20 years.