HDP Alumni Profile: Hon. Milazim Salijaj, Kosovo

The House Democracy Partnership (HDP) is a bipartisan commission of the U.S. House of Representatives that works directly with 22 partner parliaments around the world to support the development of effective, independent, and responsive legislatures. HDP is proudly implemented by the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI).

In July 2021, IRI conducted an in-person HDP technical assistance consultancy in Pristina, Kosovo to engage the Assembly’s Committee on Agriculture, Forestry, Rural Development, Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure. This program came as a result of a direct request to CEPPS/IRI from the Committee’s Chairwoman, Hon. Fitore Pacolli, to support and strengthen the Committee’s operations and procedures. The U.S. delegation included three former members of Congress: former HDP chairman and current NED Vice-Chair Peter Roskam (R-IL), Nick Rahall (D-WV), and Mike Conaway (R-TX).  The week’s events included meetings with legislators from the committee, Assembly leadership, professional staff, party leaders, and caucus heads to contextualize Kosovo’s political environment, as well as to better understand the challenges and strengths members and staff see within their legislative institution.

In this monthly series, we profile HDP alumni to show how they are applying the lessons they’ve learned to their legislative work. This month we feature Hon. Milazim Salijaj, a member of parliament in the Assembly for the Republic of Kosovo, who participated in the aforementioned program. 

What Parliament and chamber are you a member of?

I am a Member of the Parliament in the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo, as well as a Member of the Committee on Agriculture, Forestry, Rural Development, Environment and Infrastructure.

What HDP program did you participate in?

I participated in a House Democracy Partnership technical assistance consultancy implemented in July 2021 in Prishtina, Kosovo for members of the Committee on Agriculture, Forestry, Rural Development, Environment and Infrastructure.

What is your favorite thing about your country?

The traditional hospitality, wisdom, sound communication among people, and tolerance between people of different religious faiths.

Why did you decide to become a member of Parliament?

I decided to run to become a Member in the Parliament to represent the voice of citizens, which was determined by their free vote.

Looking back on the HDP program, what was most impactful for you?

Citizen engagement is very important for us and highlighting it will help the committee achieve its goals and fulfill our obligations we have towards citizens.

How are you applying your experience from the HDP mission to your role as a member of Parliament?

By sharing the experience with other members of Parliament, but also communicating continuously with the citizens on their needs and discussing jointly about possible solutions to various problems, especially where there are disagreements or different opinions.

What advice would you give to new members of Parliament?

To be reasonable, responsible, and accountable in their performance of their duties and obligations as members of Parliament. I also recommend establishing good communication between members of Parliament and to be united for the interest of the citizens and the general interest of the State.

What accomplishments in Parliament are you most proud of?

As part of the Committee for Agriculture, Forestry, Rural Development, Environment and Infrastructure, we are engaged in field visits and analyze in the office the ways that laws may protect our rivers, forests, and nature. As a relatively new member of Parliament, as I was only elected in March 2021, I can say that the committee is strongly committed to the requests and engagements that are ahead of us in order to fulfill citizens’ needs and obligations.

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