Exclusive interview with Kosova Justice Party chairman
By World Bulletin staff
Word Bulletin: Could you tell us what your party's politic history is? To which date does your party's history go back?
Ferid Agani: Party of Justice has been established on 19 September 1999 in the early post war days of Kosova. Party has been established by intellectuals who have foreseen importance of the political organization able to reflect genuine values and interests of the all Kosova citizens in the process of Kosova state formation. Since than Party of Justice have progressive rise. In two successive mandates, 2001 and 2004, Party of Justice had a parliamentary status. In the last elections, due to a high election census, my party has lost this status despite the fact that has almost doubled the number of voters.
WB: Which social base does your party depend and what political-ideologiy does your party follow in Kosovo politics?
FA: Membership of the Party of Justice is primarily constituted of middle class citizens in main Kosovar cities, that with jealousy insist on: state building processes, promotion of their national and religious identity, as well as the importance of ethical and moral norms in politics. Based on this, Party of Justice is positioned at the centrum of the Kosova political spectrum as the only progressive democratic conservative party.
WB: Also we want to know what its difference from other parties is?
FA: Clear difference is our political engagement to enhance psychosocial stability of the Kosovar youth and the overall Kosovar society through introduction of the subject of religious education in public, elementary and high, schools; and to prevent further erosion of the public and individual moral in our country, as one of the main causes for corruption, nepotism, prostitution, human trafficking, drug use, alcoholism, etc.
WB: How do you evaluate your party's future? Do you think, nowadays central-dominant parties are able to represent Kosovo's history and cultural dynamism?
FA: Political future of the Party of Justice is bright and stable similarly like the political future of the newly born Republic of Kosova. Specific set of national and cultural values that derive from our rich, millenniums long, national history are inherent part of the Party of Justice. These values enable us to project and conduct gradual and smooth, political, cultural, economic, and broader societal reforms and transitions toward European, north-atlantics and broader international integrations. Other political parties in Kosova, in particular the central ones, at least until now, has not used the opportunity to politically position Kosova as a bridge between the east and the west, the position that geopolitically and historically belongs to her. Party of Justice would not miss this opportunity in any case.
WB: How should Kosovo's relations with West be? Do you really believe that Kosova gained independence?
FA: Kosova has absolutely gained independence. There is no doubt about that. Guarantees for this independence are political will of the majority of the people of Kosova as well as major global political players like United States of America, the large majority of the European Union states, Republic of Turkey, Japan, Australia etc., countries that has led and supported the process for declaration and recognition of the Republic of Kosova, as independent and sovereign state. Consequently, the relations of Kosova with these countries would forever be the highest ranking friendship relationships of trust and mutual support, based on the principle of mutual respect and constructive efforts for piece in the region and the world. Actual difficulties at the international level caused by obstructive activities of the Russian Federation related to the independence of Kosova, reflects only transitional situation with no long – term effects.
WB: How do you see Kosovo's place between West and Islamic world?
FA: I have a very clear vision related to this issue. Being geopolitically part of the Europe and trusted strategic partner of the west in the region and at the same having in mind the fact that the large majority of Kosova population lives with specific set of cultural and civilization values including religious ones similar with Islamic countries, Kosova has ideal position to establish constructive relationships between these, on the first sight, different parts of the world. Party of Justice would for sure serve as promoter of a continual political dialogue between the East and the West on the benefit of the peace and prosperity in Kosova, the region and broader. First activity in this direction could be stronger role for Party of Justice in the lobbying process for recognition of Kosova as independent and sovereign state by countries of the Islamic Conference. This could be our first test at the international scene and I deeply believe that the results would be evident.
WB: Do you think the newly set up government is at peace with the community values? Especially what do you think about banning religious implementations?
FA: There is confusion and lack of political vision related to these issues. Simple example is banning of the right for education for young female pupils in elementary and high schools, because of their respect for head scarf as essential part of their Islamic religious identity, despite clear legal opinion of the Kosova Ombudsperson in their favor. Party of Justice has repeatedly raised this issue at the Kosova parliament, but unfortunately we have not found support from other political parties today represented in the Government and parliamentary opposition.
WB: How do you evaluate Kosovo and Turkey relations?
FA: Early recognition of the Republic of Kosova by the Government in Ankara has been admired and highly respected by Kosova institutions and its citizens. Actually, I find Kosova and Turkey relations on the very good track, and hope that they would be further improved on the benefit of the peace and stability in the region and the prosperity of citizens in both countries.
WB: Thank you for replying our questions.
NAME: FERID AGANI
President of the Party of Justice
Former member of the Parliament of Kosova, Party of Justice, President of the Parliamentary Group "For Integration"; President of the parliamentary investigative committee; member of the health and social welfare parliamentary committee
Adjunct Professor, Clemson University, South Carolina, USA.
Ass. Professor of Neuropsychiatry and Psychodynamics; University of Prishtina, Republic of Kosova
Ass. Professor of Communication Skills, University of Medical Sciences "Rezonanca", Prishtina, Republic of Kosova
President, National Mental Health Council, Ministry of Health, Republic of Kosova
Medical Faculty, University of Prishtina, Kosova, Doctor of Medicine, MD, 1984, Medicine
University Clinical Center, Prishtina, Kosova, Residency, 1990, Specialist in Neuropsychiatry
University Clinical Center , Zagreb, Croatia, Specialist, Specialist in Neuropsychiatry
Medical Faculty, University of Zagreb, Croatia, Postgraduate fellowship, 1987, Psychotherapy
Medical Faculty, University of Prishtina, Kosova, Master of science (MA), 2003, Psychiatry
Medical Faculty, University of Prishtina, Kosova, PhD candidate, 2005, Community Psychiatry
Department of Human Resources, State of Illinois, USA, Postgraduate training, 2000, Community based psychiatric services in the State of Illinois
Kosovar Family Professional Educational Collaborative: University of Prishtina and American collaborative institutions: University of Illinois at Chicago, American Family Therapy Academy, International Trauma Training Program, University of New York, George Washington University, Washington DC etc., Postgraduate training, 2000-2004, Family oriented mental health services
University of Oxford, United Kingdom, Training course, 2001, Evidence Based Medicine Quantitative & Qualitative research
Department of Psychiatry, University of Illinois Chicago, USA, Postgraduate seminar, 2001, Leadership and Ethics
University of Harvard, Boston, USA, Flagship Course, 2002, Sustainable Health Financing
Ministry of Health of Japan, Japanese Psychiatric Association, Tokyo, Japan, Postgraduate training for Senior Mental Health Officials, 2002, Psychiatric services in Japan
University of Saint Etienne, France, Postgraduate training, 2002, Emergency psychiatric services and community based mental health services for addictions in France
German Academy of Public Administration (Course in Prishtina), Postgraduate training, 2002, Public Administration
Royal College of Physicians, United Kingdom (Course in Prishtina), Postgraduate training, 2003, Contemporary methods of teaching
University of Barcelona, Spain (Course in Prishtina), Postgraduate training, 2004, Personal Portfolio and Contin. Professional Development
University of Hamburg, FR of Germany, Postgraduate training, 2004, Medical Education, Germany
University of Europe, Natolin, Poland, 2004, Postgraduate seminar, 2004, European integrations
IV Family Research Consortium, I Summer Institute, San Juan Puerto Rico, Postgraduate seminar, 2004, Families in a life span transitions
November 2007 – Present
Private neuropsychiatry clinic "Studio Agani", Prishtina, Republic of Kosova
January 2007 – Present
Consultant, WHO Office, Prishtina, Republic of Kosova
February 10, 2005 – December 2007
Member of the Parliament of Kosova; President of the Parliamentary Group "For Integration"
September 2005 – present
Chairman, National Mental Health Council, Ministry of Health, Republic of Kosova
January 2005 – June 2006
Consultant, Danish Refugee Council, Office in Prishtina.
January 2003 – December 2004
Consultant, Kosovar Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Torture, Prishtina, Kosova.
August 1, 2002 – September 2004: Director, Department of Strategic Management, Ministry of Health
July 2000 – December 2002
Mental Health Officer, Ministry of Health
June 1984 – August 2002: Neuropsychiatrist, Department of Neuropsychiatry; University Clinical Center of Kosova
September 1991 – present: Assistant professor of Neuropsychiatry and Psychodynamics; University of Prishtina, Kosova
January 2000 – September 2002
Mental Health Consultant, WHO Office Prishtina, Kosova
July 1999 – August 2001
Director, Institute for Mental Health and Recovery of Kosova (professional non-governmental association)
INTERNATIONAL PROFESSIONAL SOCIETIES
The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, USA
American Family Therapy Academy, USA
European Psychiatric Association
Vice-President, League of Albanian Psychiatry, Tirana, Albania
Chairman, National Mental Health Council, Ministry of Health, Republic of Kosova
Chairman, Task Force for Mental Health Strategic Plans 2001 and 2007
Coordinator, Expert Resource Group for elaboration of the National Plan for Psychotrauma services in Kosova
Chairman, Interministerial Committee for Substance Abuse, Government of Kosova
Chairman, Task Force for Mental Health, Pillar two (civil administration), United Nation Mission in Kosova
Chairman, Government Committee for General Health Law of Kosova
Chairman, Government Committee for Law on Rights and Responsibilities of the Citizens in the Health Care
Member, Government Committee for Health Insurance Law
Member, Government Committee for Law on Emergency Health Care
Member, Government Committee for Law on Private Health Sector
Max Hayman Award for 2005, American Orthopsychiatry Association (American Psychiatric Association)
ORIGINAL RESEARCH AND WRITING (selected):
Cardozo LB, Agani F, Vergara A, Gotway C. Mental Health, Social Functioning, and Attitudes of Kosovar Albanians Following the War in Kosova. JAMA. 2000; 284:569-577.
Agani FN, Urbina L. Strategic Plan for the Reform of Mental Health in Kosova, 2000.
Cardozo LB, Kaiser R, Gotway AC. Agani F, Mental Health, Social Functioning, and Feelings of Hatred and Revenge of Kosovar Albanians One Year after the War in Kosova. Journal of Traumatic Stress, Vol. 16, No. 4, pp. 351-60, (© 2003).
Cintron R& Weine, S.M & Agani, FN. Genocide and Modernity in Kosova. Boston Review. 2003.
Weine SM, Agani FN (2002). Local and International Responses to the Public Mental Health Crisis in Post-War Kosova. Royal Institute of Interfaith Studies. Amman, Jordan. vol. 5, no. 1, 2003.
Sluzki, CE and Agani, FN: "Small steps and big leaps: A crisis in a traditional Kosovar family in an era of cultural transition" Family Process, 42(4): 479-84, 2003.
Weine, SM, Agani, F, Cintron, R, Dresden, E, Griffith, V (2003). Lessons of Kosova on Humanitarian Intervention. Social Analysis, Forum series, 'First World Peoples, Consultancy and Anthropology.
A Special Conference, War and Reform: Rebuilding Systems of Mental Health Care in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Kosova. Department of Psychiatry University of Illinois at Chicago. February 3, 2000. Chicago, Ill. USA.
Mental Health Challenges in Post-War Kosova. International Trauma Studies Program New York University. NY, USA. November 15, 2000.
International Trauma Training: Dialogue and Guidelines. Invited Symposium. 16th Annual Meeting of ISTSS. San Antonio, Texas, USA. November 1-19, 2000.
Family Work in Kosova After War. Invited Symposium. 16th Annual Meeting of ISTSS. San Antonio, Texas, USA. November 1-19, 2000.
Kosovar Family Professional Educational Collaborative; American Family Therapy Academy, Annual Conference. New York, USA. June 2001.
Personal experience as psychiatrist in the country after war, CDC, Atlanta, USA, August 20-22, 2001.
Mental Health in a Divided Society. WHO Symposium. 12th Congress, European Psychiatric Association, Stockholm, Sweden, May 4-8, 2002.
Mental Health Reform in a Post-war Kosova, WHO Conference, Tirana, Albania, September 2002.
International trauma training. Symposium. 19th Annual Meeting of ISTSS. Chicago, Illinois, USA. November 2003.
Putting out the fires. Panel. 19th Annual Meeting of ISTSS. Chicago, Illinois, USA. November 2003.
Guidelines for international trauma training in primary health care. RAND and ISTSS Academicals meeting. Santa Monica, Los Angeles, California, USA. November 2003.
Family Centered Mental Health Reform. XIV. IFTA World Congress. Istanbul, March 27 2004
Development of Structured Systems and Curricula in Postgraduate Education in Kosova. IX Congress of the World Federation for Medical Education. Barcelona, Spain, July 7-9 2004.
Community Based Family Centered Mental Health Reform in a Post-war Country. San Juan, Puerto Rico, July 15 – 17 2004.
Psychosocial assistance for children and adolescents in Kosova. Conference of the Pact of Stability for South-Eastern Europe. Hamburg February 18-19, 2005.
Max Hayman Award Presentation and Lecture. American Psychiatric Association, Institute of Psychiatric Services. San Diego, USA, October 8 2005.
Building Community Based Mental Health Services in Post-War Kosova. Workshop. 21st Annual Meeting, The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, Toronto, Canada, November 4 2005.
Mental Health Reform in Kosova – five year overview. Invited lecture. University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, USA. November 7 2005.
Preoccupation with suicidal ideas among Kosovar population 15 year and older. Conference on Suicide. Association of Albanian Psychiatry. Tirana, Albania, September 29-30 2006.