Verena Knaus is a founding member of the European Stability Initiative (ESI), a non-profit think tank with offices in Priština, Istanbul, Brussels and Berlin. Before joining ESI, she studied modern history at Oxford and international relations and economics at The Johns Hopkins University. She first came to Kosovo in summer 2001 to set up a Lessons Learned and Analysis Unit, a joint project of ESI and the UN administration in Kosovo. During those years, she researched and published extensively on Kosovo's post-war economy, international governance, minorities and migration. In 2004, she moved to Turkey, where she researched and published on Turkey's Europeanisation. After a short stint at Yale as a World Fellow, she returned to Kosovo in January 2007, just in time for independence. Austrian by nationality, she is a passionate skier, camper, marathon runner and traveller. For many years, she led academic and biking tours across Europe. She speaks fluent German, Albanian, French, Italian and some Turkish.
Gail Warrander was a lawyer in the City of London and then for Reuters. On a commuter train she was drawn by an advert in The Economist and left ‘the big smoke' to help with the EU-funded economic reconstruction effort in Kosovo. After three years working on infrastructure and privatisation projects she switched to working directly for the business community of Kosovo, running her own commercial law firm in Kosovo and working extensively with foreign and local investors. She then returned to the UK to attend London Business School's Sloan Fellowship programme. She is a keen mountain biker and snowboarder and speaks fluent German, French and Albanian and basic Serbian. She has travelled extensively throughout the Balkans.
This edition has been updated by Bridget Nurre Jennions and Larissa Olenicoff. Nurre Jennions is an Emmy Award-winning former network news producer who worked as a communications expert for international development projects in Kosovo from 2013 to early 2017. During that time, she crafted communications strategies and products on behalf of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and its implementing partners, including a project to support Kosovo's nascent tourism sector. An avid traveller, Nurre Jennions maintains her own blog, Bridgekrieg, and has written extensively on travel in the Balkans for a variety of outlets. She holds a Master's in Global Diplomacy from the University of London and dual Bachelor's degrees in Journalism and Political Science from The George Washington University.
Larissa Olenicoff is an established travel blogger and consultant for destination marketing and tourism development with a Master of Arts in European Studies from Lund University in Sweden. Originally from California, she has lived in the UK, Ukraine, Sweden and most recently decided to make the move to Kosovo in 2015 to focus on the Balkans. She has worked with international agencies, NGOs, tourism boards, and the private sector on various tourism projects around the region, including helping to launch and coordinate the UBT Center for Tourism Economics and Innovation in Priština. Her travel blog, The Blonde Gypsy, is a colourful whirlwind of iPhone photography, travel tips, and unexpected adventures mainly through the Balkans. She is also a regular contributor to a wide range of other travel sites. It's become her mission to explore and uncover the best Kosovo and the region has to offer and encourage travellers to visit this true diamond in the rough of Europe.