Below are outlined the core operating principles of Democracy Lab which will guide the organization’s development trajectory from its inception. We pledge our team will remain steadfast in embodying and promoting these values in order to foster a democracy that works for everyone.
Democracy Lab is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization aiming to strengthen democratic values in Macedonia and the Western Balkan States.
We believe in functional democracy.
We believe that the core value of a democratic state is its citizens.
We believe that only through active civic participation can we build strong democratic institutions.
We believe that strong democratic institutions operate transparently, with accountability, and are guided by the highest standards of good governance.
We believe that a civic society organization should play an active role in promoting these values.
Our organizational culture:
Within the organization we nurture a conducive work environment for professional development, respect, dignity and confidence for our members.
A good idea is the only currency in Democracy Lab.
We help, support, and motivate each other;
We do not have problems; we have challenges;
We encourage constructive debate;
We believe in critical thinking as a tool to provide the best solutions to our challenges;
We encourage our members to be proactive, responsive, flexible and initiate action;
We love creativity.
Our code of conduct:
Act honestly, truthfully and with integrity in all our transactions and dealings;
Build strong partnerships though respect, correctness, reliability and transparency;
Build inclusive communities, responsible citizens, and good governance.
Sefer Selimi Jr.
FOUNDER & CEO
Sefer Selimi is the Founder and CEO of Democracy Lab. He holds a BA in Business Administration from South East European University (SEEU) and a MSc in Diplomacy and International Relations from the International University of Struga. He is a 2016 alumnus of the Community Solutions Program, a U.S. department of State leadership program implemented by IREX. Over the course of his career he has worked as project manager for different local NGOs, implementing projects in the fields of transparency and accountability of local government.
Blerton Zejneli is the Program Officer for Digital Democracy at Democracy Lab. He has a BSc in Management and Information Systems from South East European University. He is an alumnus of the prestigious Global UGRAD Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. Moreover, in 2012 he co-founded the Youth Council of the U.S. Embassy in the Republic of Macedonia, and is currently part of the governing board.
MANAGER OF INTERNATIONAL PARTNERSHIPS
Haris Fazliu is the Manager of International Partnerships at Democracy Lab. He has a BA in Government and International Politics from George Mason University (GMU). During his time as a student, he cofounded Agora, a student organization focused on conflict resolution where students network, discuss current events, and learn about conflict theory. Upon graduation he worked at the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS) as a research intern, specializing in energy security in Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Balkans.
COMMUNICATION AND OUTREACH MANAGER
Dina is the Communication and Outreach Manager at Democracy Lab. She is currently enrolled as a third-year student, majoring in Foreign Trade at the University of Ss. Cyril and Methodius, Faculty of Economics. Graduating from NOVA International Schools introduced her to volunteering in different fields. She’s passionate about problem-solving and debate, hence why she’s attended more than ten Model UN conferences during her high school and university years.
Aleksandar is a Project Coordinator at Democracy Lab. He holds a BSc in Political Science from the Iustinianus Primus Law Faculty of Skopje and currently is pursuing a Master’s Degree in European Policy and Institutions at the same faculty. Aleksandar has four years of experience in managing projects for several non-governmental organizations as well as working in the HR department at Ernst&Young’s office in Serbia and working as an intern in the office of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Macedonia.
Eroll Arapi is a Graphic Designer and Web Developer at Democracy Lab. He holds a BSc in Computer Science from South East European University in Tetovo. During his undergraduate studies he also pursued an Erasmus exchange semester at Gjøvik Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Currently, Eroll is actively researching at NFC Technologies, which will lead to his MSc graduation with honors in Business Informatics from South East European University in Skopje.
Aziz Sulejmani is an Intern at Democracy Lab. He graduated with honors from Kiril Pejcinovic High School in Tetovo and is currently taking a gap year to volunteer and apply to undergraduate programs in renowned universities around the globe. While in high school, he volunteered for various youth organizations and youth initiatives in Tetovo and beyond. Aziz is highly passionate about politics and is motivated to make a positive impact in his community.
Klaudija Velkova Manovska is an Administrative Assistant at Democracy Lab. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English Language and Literature from South East European University and a Master’s in Education from the Ss. Cyril and Methodius in Skopje. Throughout the last seven years she has been teaching English as well as working as a Permanent Court Translator in Macedonian and English languages. She is highly interested in planning, organizing and managing events by moving ideas from projects to success stories.
Rrona is a Researcher at Democracy Lab. She holds a BSc in Business Informatics from South East European University and is currently pursuing her MBA. She has previously interned at the Human Resources Department of Ecolog International. In addition, she has successfully administrated and supervised various projects in business organizations in Macedonia.
Elton is a Researcher at Democracy Lab. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Sciences from South East European University, and is currently enrolled in SEEU’s Political Sciences Master’s Program. He is fluent in Albanian, Macedonian, English, and Serbo-Croatian. Elton is highly interested in enhancing political and democratic processes, research in sociological phenomena in our society and building conditions and capacities for civil rights progress and freedom of speech.
Artina is a Researcher at Democracy Lab. She holds a BSc in Management and Marketing from the Faculty of Business and Economics at South East European University. She has also been an Erasmus exchange student in Otto-Friedrich University in Germany with a focus in management studies. She is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Management at South East European University.
Rijat Abdullai is the Deputy Head of the IT department at the National Bank of the Republic of Macedonia. He has been an IT professional for more than 20 years, and has experience in different IT fields, especially in software development, databases, and in the last 6 years, project management mainly in IT projects and services. Moreover, he has been part of many international trainings and workshops on project management services, governance and management of projects, IT service management and design and other related topics.
Shefik Osmani has worked as the Head of the Software Development Office at South East European University since 2010. He has more than 22 years of experience, with a focus on software development and databases. In addition, Shefik has also been part of many other projects and workshops, including the project iKnow (an application for student services), which was led by the Faculty of Computer Science and Engineering at Ss. Cyril and Methodius in Skopje.
PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEER
Alexander Pachman is a volunteer working with the United States Peace Corps, and a founding member of Democracy Lab. He holds a BS in Business Administration (with honors) from Indiana University. Alexander has been a volunteer in Macedonia since 2015, and also has worked with the Municipality of Gostivar, the Youth Empowerment Platform, and other youth groups and NGOs throughout the country.
PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEER
Sam Blurton is a United States Peace Corps Volunteer working at Democracy Lab. He holds a BA in History from the University of Maryland, College Park. Prior to his arrival in Macedonia, Sam was an AmeriCorps volunteer working with City Year, an organization working in high-poverty communities to empower students to meet their potential. Sam is passionate about human rights and development of young people.
Sara Idrizi is an Intern at Democracy Lab. She is an outstanding senior student of Political Science at South East European University. In addition, she is an Erasmus exchange student alumn of the University of Ljubljana, where she studied and researched for a semester at the department of Political Science. She has a passion for women’s rights and is developing project ideas for the empowerment of women in our society.
Ellie Dawson is a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant volunteering at Democracy Lab. Prior to arriving in Macedonia, she taught English as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in Kosovo. She holds a BA in English and Anthropology from Kenyon College and currently works at South East European University’s Language Center.