Arbër Selmani

2023 IVLP Impact Award Project: Kindness TriumphsRepublic of Kosovo

Arbër Selmani is a journalist and poet from Pristina, Kosovo. He has published four books and has participated in numerous literature festivals in Europe such as, the International Literature Festival in Pristina, Zana International Literature Festival, LITERODROM – Literature Festival in Slovenia and the XV Biennale of Young Artists from Europe and Mediterranean in Rome and Thessaloniki. His poems and stories have been translated to Italian, Slovenian, German, Bosnian, Serbo-Croatian, Greek and lately in English. He is published in Songs of Eretz Poetry Review, Zoetic Press, Changes Press, Ethel Zine, The Impossible Archetype and Rhodora Magazine. Arbër was awarded with a Sakharov Fellowship, in 2018, given by the European Parliament in Brussels. In 2022, he was the curator of the exhibition 'Mirror.Entirety' which opened February 2022 in Pristina.

2023 IVLP Impact Award Project: Kindness Triumphs

The 'Kindness Triumph' mini-campaign generated a debate about people with disabilities in Kosovo and raised awareness about their needs, talents, and contributions to society, challenging the stereotypes and stigma that often surround them. Through producing five professional videos, the project highlighted the lives of 20 people with disabilities in Kosovo and the work of NGOs that support this community. The impact of the project was significant, as the videos generated a lot of interest and engagement both online and through the media outlets that broadcasted them.

Arbër also participated in a panel discussion with other Awardees who implemented both 2022 and 2023 IIA projects as part of the IVLP Impact Awards Alumni Discussion Series panel on “Sustainable Community Impact” which you can read more about here.

Watch All of Arbër's Project Videos Here

“Nobody has shared my story in this very positive and empowering way.” – Video participant

2022 IVLP Impact Award Project: Let Me In, Let Me Out - Exhibition on People with Disabilities

This project was an artistic exhibition in Pristina Kosovo. The exhibitions consisted of personal belongings of members of this community, writings, toys, wheelchairs, clothes, toiletries, photographs and other objects that are meaningful to these people and pinpoint a sensitive yet powerful personal note. These objects were exhibited and built up the curatorial concept of the exhibition. Eight participant artists were featured in the exhibition, which ran from November 17th to December 4th, and attracted around 1,000 visitors, including 3 kindergarten classes. The Minister of Culture in Kosovo highlighted the exhibition as a “must-see” event in November/December. 

This exhibition was a way for these people to make a point, to go out in the world, to insist on their value and to ask for change. This exhibition was all about showing one’s life as a minority by using one object, using something that gives them power or makes them vulnerable. This project's goal was to unify the marginalized voices. People with special needs and people with disabilities are artists, but they are not invited anywhere to exhibit. 2022 in Kosovo was declared as "The Year of the People with Special Needs". This was the perfect momentum to have this project implemented and be born.


"This is an amazing artistic intervention, a valuable one for everyone. I am beyond privileged my son is part of the exhibition and we got to highlight his talent and his love for life" - Sebahate Beqiri Hajdini, founder of Down Syndrome Kosova

IVLP Exchange Experience 

Arbër was a participant in the IVLP Project A Global Moment in Time - Reflections on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in 2021 and 2023, organized by the U.S. Department of State and Meridian International Center.

Arbër's exchange experience led him to develop his IVLP Impact Award Project: "IVLP brought to life one of my biggest dreams: to help people in need by providing more visibility for them, in many levels and dimensions."

U.S. Communities Visited in 2023

San Francisco, CA; Washington, DC; Cleveland, OH

U.S. Communities Visited Virtually in 2021

Phoenix, AZ; Los Angeles, CA; San Francisco, CA; Colorado Springs, CO; Washington, DC; Orlando, FL; Chicago, IL; Boston, MA; Detroit, MI; Kalamazoo, MI; Minneapolis, MN; Cleveland, OH; Portland, OR

Country of Origin: Kosovo

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