Petrit Selimi

Pristina | Date: April 18, 2017 | Duration: 50 minutes

My apartment was in the city center and maybe that is why it was easier to start working there. A kind of youth center [English] was created, a youth center, we held  meetings, had exhibitions, events. We then organized music evenings in those buildings which were there, various coffee shops. So, a kind of…we started with the publication of an insert, a youth newspaper within the then magazine Koha Javore [Weekly Time]. While in Austria, the subject  of the name came up, ‘How will this network of organizations in former Yugoslavia call itself?’ And there had been an interview of Leonard Cohen, the famous Canadian singer who died last year. ‘Are you an optimist or a pessimist?’ And he said, ‘I am a post-pessimist.’ And it was an accurate name  for the period we were living in, because calling ourselves Lulediellat e Ballkanit [Balkan Sunflowers] at the time when there was total terror, was a little naive. But how to express our desire to get out of the trap of pessimism and defeatism and fight it, do something about it, without having a super optimistic name? Then someone proposed the name Post-pesimistët [Post-pessimists], and that remained the name of the organization and it was used for seven-eight years as the  platform of political, cultural and artistic activism of a great generation of Pristina youth.

Aurela Kadriu (Interviewer) Donjeta Berisha (Camera)

Petrit Selimi was born in Pristina in 1979. He studied Social Anthropology and Urbanism in Oslo, Norway. He is one of the founders of IPKO and the daily paper Express, where he was the Executive Director. He’s been involved in politics since 2010, first as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for two mandates, then as acting Minister of Foreign Affairs. Currently, he is engaged in the Office of the Prime Minister as the Coordinator of the American Program Millennium Challenges Corporation.