Nadine Hennesey arrived in Mitrovicë with Global Neighbors Inc., a not-for-profit NGO, on July 5, 2001. After teaching several years in the U.S., Nadine arrived as an educator, widow, and single mom to help widows and their families that were struggling in the aftermath of the 1999 war. With a list of 700 Kosovar widows, she set out to find how to best help the children throughout the region.
When asked, “What do you want most for your child,” single mothers consistently answered, “An excellent education.” To begin fulfilling this desire for excellent education, the House of Laughter Educational Center was opened in September, 2001. It offered English, Albanian, and math classes, character development, tutoring, hot lunches, sports, and activities to students who had lost one or both parents.
As Kosovo moved further away from the war, many of the needs of Mitrovicë changed; however, the educational needs were ever present. Children wanted the challenge to learn and to discover what they were capable of accomplishing. Parents wanted better educational options and more opportunities for their children. Government officials wanted quality education offered to the community. Mitrovicë needed a model private school that would specialize in and focus on the application of problem-based learning, professional development, and leadership training, all unique for Kosovo.
In September 2014, the Global Neighbors team started the Kosovo Leadership Academy Preparation Program for grades 5 to 8. This program was designed to sharpen the students’ English skills and prepare them for future in-depth studies.
The Kosovo Leadership Academy opened its doors as a licensed private school for grades 6 to 9 in September of 2015. In June 2019, the Kosovo Leadership Academy will celebrate its first graduating class. Each succeeding year the school will continue to expand to ultimately include grades one to twelve.