Flying for Kosovo

Recognize Kosovo's Independence!

About Team Members

Posted by flyingforkosovo On December - 3 - 2011

What Flying for Kosovo is all about?

James Berisha, originally from Brestovc, Kosovo began his mission Flying for Kosovo in the Spring of 2009.  The mission first began as his dream to have the world recognize that his country became independent from Serbia (2/17/08) and to raise public awareness about Kosovo.  Unfortunately, that independence does not allow participation in such organizations as the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, etc. until it is also formally recognized by at least at 2/3 majority of the world’s countries.  Currently, there are 75 countries that have officially recognized Kosovo’s status.  You can track that progress at

The journey began with Mr. Berisha’s original goal of visiting the Central, South American and Caribbean island countries in order to meet with the pubic and media in each country.  It has since evolved into a diplomatic and humanitarian journey that involves not only meeting with the media, but also with the each country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to hand deliver a formal request for recognition from Kosovo’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Vlora Citaku.  Upon completion of his first phase, he returned to his homeland where it was then requested that he continue on with the journey by traveling throughout African continent.

Flying for Kosovo is a complete labor of love for James and all of the volunteers who participate in the daily details of the mission.  Over time, Mr. Berisha has gathered a multinational team who believe in his cause and have offer many hours of their individual skills, knowledge and dedication in order to see the mission succeed in its main goal of aligning Kosovo’s status with that of any other country in the world.

Pilot in Command

James Berisha
El Paso, Texas |
Born in Brestovc, Kosovo in 1972. At the age of 23, at Flight Safety Academy in Vero Beach, Florida, he accomplished his childhood dream of becoming a pilot and flight instructor. Since then he has been flying for several years in the arctic weathers of Alaska, the tropical weather of Florida, along the beautiful beaches of California, as well as the blazing hot weather of Texas. Working for Sierra West Airlines flying a Learjet, James has seen some of the most fascinating places on Earth. He will be the pilot in command for the upcoming journey to South America, and if successful he will pilot the aircraft to the rest of the countries of the world.

Aviation Consultant

Sokol Ymeri
Anchorage, Alaska|
Born in Ferizaj, Kosovo in 1986. In 1999, during the war in Kosovo, Sokol and his family came to the United States of America as refugees of Kosovo. This was his first time flying an airplane and he knew from that moment on his future would be in aviation. His aviation education started at the airport of Anchorage Alaska where he also developed a hobby in photography, photographing airplanes. Today, you can see his photos in magazines and printouts of his work in businesses around the world. Sokol is currently attending college in Anchorage and is in his 3rd year of his college degree for Aviation Administration Management.

Editor, Ghostwriter and Communications Specialist

Laurie Smith
Bethel, Alaska|
Born in small farm town in Michigan in 1976. Laurie was not born in Kosovo and is not a pilot – though she has flown in many planes, knows many pilots and has met many Albanians. After earning her graduate degree in social work from the University of Michigan, she began working with groups in our society whose voice often goes unheard because of their life circumstances. In 2005, she moved to the Alaskan Arctic to work with Native Alaskans, first dealing with issues of interpersonal and community violence and later working on health care and chronic disease prevention. After years of being driven around Bethel by Albanian cab drivers and learning about their culture she met James Berisha. It just made sense to help him fulfill his mission of raising awareness and educating the world about his country and providing a voice for those that can no longer speak.

Logistics, Communication, and Tech Specialist

Betim Deva
Phoenix, Arizona |
Betim is a  computer engineer who joined and supported Flying For Kosovo team  since the beginning of the mission by providing logistics, communication, and tech support for the mission, as well as helping it  with the online presence.  Betim, and James met in 2009 when James was planning to start his exciting mission on raising awareness about Kosovo independence in Central and South American countries.
Later that year, Betim took his first flying lesson instructed by James on a Cessna 172 plane.

Planning and Logistics

Eremira Ukehajdaraj
Prishtina, Kosovo |
Born in Prishtina, Kosovo in 1983.  Erimera is a former student of psychology and has been very much involved in humanitarian issues since those days.  Love for her country, respect for human rights and freedom of movement have made her volunteer for several causes and projects over the years.  She has supported James Berisha  and our cause since the beginning of the Mission in Africa.  Through her many volunteer hours,  she deals with ongoing logistics, planning and development of the project.


Media Monitoring

Fidan Bujupi
Prishtina, Kosovo |

Born in Prishtina, Kosovo in 1991.  Fidan finished his schooling at Xhevdet Doda in the year 2009 and is now in his second year as a student at UBT University in Prishtina.  He is studying Mekatronica (robotics asset management) and has offered his assistance in many different arenas as a volunteer.  He became involved in Flying for Kosovo when we launched our current phase, Mission in Africa.

Media Monitoring and Website Maintenance

Fatmir Jusufi
Prishtina, Kosovo |
Born in Prishtina, Kosovo in 1988.  Being in the field of aviation is his dream job. In 2007 he commenced studies in Applied Geography at University of Prishtina. In December 2008 he co-founded an aviation society group, called (Albania and Kosovo Flyers), where Albanians from all around the world could share their experiences and common interest of aviation. Currently he’s in his 4th year of bachelor studies and is expected to finish later this year.  He has provided a vast knowledge of aviation and many hours of help to our mission.

Bajram Mulaj
Switzerland |
Born in Isniq, Deçan, in 1963. In 1988 he was forced to leave Kosovo and flee to Switzerland, where he currently remains.  During the 1990’s, he began participating in many humanitarian activities, especially after the 1999 Kosovo War ended.  He has helped handicapped persons, veteran soldiers and many families for the very simple and humane reason of helping them make their lives easier.  He has been a tremendous help throughout the mission and has donated and fundraised since the beginning of this journey. At times, he has helped out in other activities closely linked with the cause as well.  His wish is to see Flying for Kosovo succeed and he has been a vital part of its overall success.