About the Alumni Initiative

The Alumni Initiative is designed to encourage and support continued cooperation between fellows who have participated in the Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence, established in 2007.

The alumni project is supported by Open Society Foundation and ERSTE Foundation in cooperation with the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network.

“The Alumni initiative is a unique platform for continuous knowledge sharing and networking among journalists from the Balkan region. It is a place for smart partnerships and high quality reporting across borders, setting a benchmark for future generations of journalists."

Knut Neumayer, ERSTE Foundation, Programme Director 

“For any journalist it is incredible important to have a strong network. Stronger network journalist has, lauder voice she/he has. I believe that the Balkan Fellowship Alumni Initiative is extremely important and builds on the momentum of the Balkan Fellowship by connecting journalists in the Balkans. It gives them a chance to meet and further develop their articles and to report on topics they might not be able to otherwise. We believe that the Alumni Initiative is an irreplaceable part of the entire Balkan Fellowship."

Gordana Igric, Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, Director


Open Society Foundations

The network of Open Society Foundations (OSF) is a grantmaking operation founded by George Soros in 1993, aimed to shape public policy to promote democratic governance, human rights, and economic, legal, and social reform. On a local level, OSF implements a range of initiatives to support the rule of law, education, public health, and independent media. At the same time, OSF works to build alliances across borders and continents on issues such as combating corruption and rights abuses. One of the aims of the OSF is the development of civil society organizations (e.g., charities and community groups) to encourage participation in democracy and society.

ERSTE Foundation

ERSTE Foundation is active in the Central and South East European region. Together with its partners, it creates a hive of activity for common good. Founded in 2003, it began its work two years later by developing three programmes: Social Development, Culture and Europe. ERSTE Foundation is the legal successor to the 190-year-old “Erste oesterreichische Spar-Casse”, the first Austrian savings bank. Its two commitments are based on these historical roots: as the major shareholder ERSTE Foundation safeguards the future of Erste Group as an independent company and invests its dividend to support the common good.

The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) is a regional media development organisation, working with Balkan journalists to produce reports on a variety of political, economic and social issues. Its member organisations throughout the region run a range of training and public debate projects to enhance the capacity and impact of analytical and investigative journalism. Together, they produce Balkan Insight, the leading publication covering the region’s path to Europe.

The Alumni Network

What is the Alumni Network?

The Alumni Network is an ever-expanding group of journalists who have all participated in the Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence.


Turkey and the Balkans

The re-emergence of Turkey as a growing economic, political and religious power in the Balkans is the subject of the latest Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence Alumni Initiative project.

Roma Decade

Twelve countries, including several Balkan states, have signed up to the European Roma Decade 2005-2015 initiative. Halfway through the decade, has any real progress been made?

News and Events

29 Nov 2014 / 20:44

BIRN Fellowship First Prize Goes to Jeta Abazi

The top prize in the 2014 Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence has been awarded to Jeta Abazi, journalist from Kosovo at a closing ceremony held in Belgrade, on Friday.