Mark Kosmo is an Albanian born and raised in Braintree, Massachusetts by Albanian parents who emigrated in US 100 years ago from Albania.
The motivation to help Albanians came when he visited Albania for the first time in May 1992. Later on, the activist from the USA, Mark Kosmo, has helped the diaspora through the “Global Albanian Foundation” as well as with the work they are doing with the GERMIN organization where he is an external advisor.
Now, he has created the “OriginAL” program, through which the connection is made between the diaspora of Kosovo, Albania and Macedonia and other countries.
“The idea of OriginAL is based on Birthright Israel where young diaspora adults visit their homeland to experience their roots. I first heard of Birthright Israel probably in 2019 or 2020 from one of my colleagues from Germin in Prishtina — Lirim Krasniqi. Then in the summer or fall of 2021 I was discussing with Lirim and his colleague Sihana Bejtullahu about how the Global Albanians Foundation which I run from Boston can better collaborate with Germin. That was when we decided “let’s go for it with OriginAL”. It was not called OriginAL at that time — it took a few months before we decided on the name OriginAL.” – says Kosmo for Atlantiku.
Although it is still in its infancy, the program is proving to be successful.
“Success is like beauty — it is in the eyes of the beholder. To me it’s been successful so far, but it’s like a one year old infant — still a lot to do to grow it into something strong and sustainable. In the first year we had 40 young Albanian adults participate in the program in August 2022. I don’t know the exact numbers, but we probably raised close to $100,000 to finance that. Our goal for 2023 is to raise $200,000 to finance 100 participants. So far we have raised maybe $40,000 so still a long ways to go. We want to double the size of the program every year for the next 5 years to get it to 1,000 participants.”- he added during the interview.
Mark Kosmo has no intention of stopping in the direction he has started.
In an interview with Atlantiku.com, he revealed his plans for the future.
“I plan to continue promoting OriginAL and also the crowdfunding that the Global Albanians Foundation does for Albanian not-for-profit organizations. Over the last 4 years we raised several hundred thousand dollars for Albanian NGOs — probably half of which was related to the Earthquake in November 2019.”
The Albanian-American from Massachusetts has this message for all young Albanians wherever they are:
Be positive, believe in yourself, believe in your country, don’t be lazy, and have fun. There are plenty of good things to do in life to help other people and you can have a lot of fun making the world a better place.