Guest post by Furtuna Sheremeti, MSc Alumna

Oxford Criminology alumna, Furtuna Sheremeti charts her intellectual journey from Human Rights Activist to Head of Legal Office at the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Kosovo.

Furtuna Sheremeti has been interested in law, since early on, starting her legal career as a human rights activist within the Youth Initiative for Human Rights. She then continued to work in Aba Roli - American Bar Association – Rule of Law Initiative, where she has been engaged in a project focused on legal system reform in Kosovo. Following an engagement at USAID projects focused on judiciary, Furtuna started working for Sejdiu & Qerkini law firm – one project implemented by PILPG (The Public International Law & Policy Group), as a strategic litigation specialist. Her strong interest in law and criminology brought her to the Oxford Centre for Criminology where she successfully completed the MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice in the academic year 2013/2014. During her time at Oxford she undertook several other activities at her College – Green Templeton. She was elected the Vice-President of Events at GTC, was a part of Green Templeton Boat Club and rowed on Summer Eights, and took part in Vagina Monologues that were staged in Oxford. Her MSc thesis explored Political Corruption in Transitional Settings with a focus on Croatia and South Africa. The Oxford experience helped her to realize that criminology research and practice can make a difference to the institutions and societies under study. It also made her eager to pursue further her research on the linkage between political corruption, law and criminology. Moreover, the degree she received from Oxford opened many doors for Furtuna back home in Kosovo, where she felt she could make a difference through her study and research in Oxford.

Thus, upon return to her home country, Furtuna started working as the Head of the Legal Office and Coordinator of the Court Monitoring Project in the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Kosovo (BIRN).

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BIRN Kosovo exists to provide momentum to the democratic transition process, promoting accountability, rule of law and policy reform. BIRN Kosovo in particular aims to serve as a watchdog of public institutions, monitoring the work of governing and public institutions and supporting their reform and their paths towards meeting the criteria and standards of the European Union . Given that Kosovo is the second newest country in the world and is still going through the transition phase that followed the war, the judicial system needs major improvements. Furtuna’s dream is to help Kosovo’s legal system improve and that is why no matter where she goes, she always ends up in Prishtina, applying her knowledge and expertise gained in Oxford to make a difference. At present, she is working hard on coordinating one of the biggest court-monitoring projects in the country – which is implemented by BIRN and which addresses the pitfalls of Judicial System in Kosovo.