The Kosovo – Israel Chamber of Commerce was established in Kosovo in late 2021 as a not-for-profit association under Kosovo law. The founders are American-Israeli-Kosovar companies which intend to facilitate and support business relationships between Israel and Kosovo, and build upon the formal diplomatic relationship established between Israel and Kosovo to expand commercial ties between the two countries.
The Mission of the Kosovo – Israel Chamber of Commerce is
To facilitate and support business relations between Israel and Kosovo
To support the formalized diplomatic relationship between Israel and Kosovo with specific business and other activities
To support and enhance business-to-business and people-to-people engagement and to facilitate scientific exchanges that will strengthen business relations between Israel and Kosovo
To expand opportunities for business cooperation, innovation and investment in all economic sectors
To strengthen and diversify Israel’s access to the Western Balkans market and to support Kosovo’s access to Israel’s market
In order to achieve its Mission, the Kosovo – Israel Chamber of Commerce will focus on the following activities:
To promote Israel as a valuable partner for Kosovo’s economic development
To establish a network of Israeli and Kosovo businesses that will strengthen business relations between Israel and Kosovo
To provide professional support services for Israeli and Kosovo businesses in an effort to establish communication and cooperation for trade and investment
To provide information to Israeli and Kosovo businesses on business and investment opportunities and other relevant information required to enable and facilitate business cooperation
To provide professional training and other capacity-building activities related to business cooperation, investment and trade
To organize and implement industry-specific missions to Israel, Kosovo and other countries in order to bring together potential business partners and to explore business opportunities
To perform any other activities that are required and relevant for facilitating business cooperation between Israel and Kosovo
The Assembly is the highest governing body of the Kosovo – Israel Chamber of Commerce. It shall consist of all members of the Kosovo – Israel Chamber of Commerce.
The Executive Board is the main executive and management body of the Kosovo – Israel Chamber of Commerce.
Chairman of the Executive Board
SHAI FRANKLIN | Chairman of the Executive Board
Shai Franklin, a Partner with Gotham Government Relations and Communications, is an international human rights advocate, non-profit consultant, and lobbyist. He formerly served as an executive with the World Jewish Congress, leading outreach and global campaigns involving the United Nations, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Organization of American States, Red Cross Movement, Interpol, and national governments. He has organized and addressed religious freedom and interfaith conferences in the United States and internationally, and represents a range of Ukrainian interests in the United States.
Mr. Franklin frequently shares his analysis on television and in print, and has served as a board member for several community and public interest organizations. An adjunct professor in Long Island University’s Hutton House Lectures, he graduated Temple University summa cum laude in political science and holds a Master’s in Middle East studies from the Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies
Member of the Executive Board
BRAD GERSTMAN | Member of the Executive Board
Brad Gerstman is a leading attorney, lobbyist, and government relations specialist with a diverse background in business, advocacy, tech, energy, education, and media. As both a personal donor and successful fundraiser, Brad has built a political career that spans all levels of government and encompasses pertinent figures from both sides of the political aisle. With years of professional experience, Brad expertly steers clients through complex legislative, political, and bureaucratic processes. Utilizing individualized strategies, he taps into political trends and fashions them to the advantage of his clients. This has proven especially important for those introducing disruptive technologies or operating within heavily regulated markets.
Brad’s exceptional reputation for building both relationships and coalitions has earned him the respect and support of policy makers. As a result, he has helped to push forward essential legislation for New Yorkers as it pertains to business, advocacy, land use, municipal matters, and education. In addition to serving on several finance committees, he has also been personally selected by prominent members of government to provide campaign guidance and fundraising aid. Most recently, Brad has joined the political action committee Striving For A Better New York, which is supported by NYC Mayor Eric Adams, as an Advisory Board Member.
Recognized throughout New York, Brad has received several awards and accolades including being named to the “2022 Political PR Power 50” list by City and State. He was also a 2020 Honoree of “The Kings of New York Award,” as well as the winner of the “Leadership in Law award” by Long Island Business News in the partners category. Previously, Brad was appointed by the Nassau County Legislature to act as a member of the Board of Directors for the Nassau Health Care Corporation. As Chairman of the Facility Committee, Brad spearheaded a 750-million-dollar makeover of the hospital, clinics, and senior living facility. He was also a member of other committees including Disciplinary Hearing, Governance, Legal & Audit, and Finance. In addition, he served on the Executive Committee for the hospital, and acted as Vice Chair and Board Member of the Long Island Medical Foundation. Finally, Brad was a Board Member of the Holocaust and Tolerance Center of Nassau County and the Adelphi President’s Council. Throughout his career Brad has served the special needs community in a variety of roles including Long Island Advocacy Chair for Autism Speaks, one of the nation’s largest autism advocacy organizations, Executive Committee Member and Advocacy Chair on the 2007 Long Island Walk Now for Autism Planning Committee, Chair of the Nassau County Autism Coalition, Counsel for the Long Island Autism Coalition Board, and Member of the Nassau/Suffolk Autism Society of America. He was also appointed by Governor Paterson through the nomination of Senate majority leader Dean Skelos to the Governor’s Council on Interactive Media and Child Violence and named an honoree at the Child Abuse Prevention Services yearly gala for his work in protecting children. Brad currently acts as Co-founder and Board Member of the Lisa Beth Gerstman Foundation, a family organization that provides summer camp experiences to children with physical and developmental disabilities.
At his alma mater Hofstra University, Brad played 4 years of varsity football. In his spare time, Brad enjoys fashion, competitive boxing, and supporting all professional New York sports teams, except for the Jets.
Member of the Executive Board
SKENDER HYSENI | Chairman of the Assembly
Chief Political Adviser to the Founder of the State of Kosovo Ibrahim Rugova, Skender Hyseni was also a Member of Kosovo Parliament in several legislatures. He is a signatory of the Kosovo Declaration of Independence and a member of the Commission for Drafting the First Constitution of an independent Kosovo. In 2008, Mr. Hyseni was appointed Minister of Culture, and and shortly after declaration of independence of Kosovo February 17, 2008, he became the first Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kosovo. He established the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after declaration of independence and within a short period of time he managed to build up from scratch the first diplomatic and consular service of the Republic of Kosovo. In his capacity as foreign minister, Mr. Hyseni was coordinator and represented Kosovo at the International Court of Justice, one of the greatest political and diplomatic achievements when in July, 2010 the ICJ confirmed that declaration of independence of Kosovo was in full compliance with International Law. In 2014, Mr. Hyseni was elected Minister of Internal Affairs in the Government of Kosovo and held this position up until 2017. In 2020, Mr. Hyseni was appointed State Coordinator for dialogue with Serbia. As chief negotiator, he headed the Kosovo delegation to EU-facilitated dialogue with Serbia till January 2021.
THE Honorary Committee
Membership in the Honorary Committee is the highest honor that the Kosovo-Israel Chamber of Commerce can bestow upon distinguished individuals. The Honorary Committee is composed of individuals who have demonstrated outstanding commitment and who have made exceptionally distinguished contributions to strengthen relations between Kosovo and Israel.
ELIOT L. ENGEL
ELIOT L. ENGEL | Honorary Committee
Eliot L. Engel, a Democrat from New York, served 32 years in the United States House of Representatives, rising to Chair the powerful Committee on Foreign Affairs. During his years in Congress, Rep. Engel wrote key bipartisan legislation on the Kosovo, Albania, Syria, Cyprus, the Western Hemisphere, and Global Health. Today, Rep. Engel lives in New York and is a consultant with various clients.
SUSAN MOLINARI | Honorary Committee
Susan Molinari, a Republican from New York, served 7 years in the United States House of Representatives. In Congress, she developed a strong record of bipartisanship and was Co-Chair of the Albanian Issues Caucus. Today, Rep. Molinari is a member of APCO Worldwide’s International Advisory Council. She previously served as Google’s Vice President of Public Policy for the Americas.
ISA MUSTAFA| Honorary Committee
Isa Mustafa was born in Prapashtica, municipality of Prishtina, in 1951. He is a Member of the Academy of Sciences and Arts of Kosovo since 2008. He graduated from the Faculty of Economics in Prishtina (1974), received a master’s degree from the Faculty of Organizational Sciences in Belgrade (1985) and a doctorate from the Faculty of Economics of the University of Prishtina (2001). He is professor at the University of Prishtina for Microeconomics, Management Economics, Financial Management.
Isa Mustafa was Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo (November 2014-September 2017). Mayor of the Municipality of Prishtina (2008-2013), Senior Adviser to the President of Kosovo (2006-2008), Vice President of the Riinvest Development Research Institute (2002-2005) Minister of Finance in the Provisional Government of the Ruling Coalition (in exile, 1991-1999), Director of the Planning and Development of Kosovo (1988-1989), Mayor of Prishtina (1984-1988).
He was the President of the Democratic League of Kosovo (2009-2021), a member of the Board of the University of Prishtina, Board member of the Central Bank of Kosovo, a member of the Council of Higher Education Experts at the Ministry of Education. He has published numerous of scientific and professional papers in Kosovo and abroad.
ENVER HOXHAJ | Honorary Committee
Enver Hoxhaj has been one of the most active politicians in Kosovo for the last 20 years. Currently, he is the Deputy Speaker of the Assembly of Kosovo, while he has also served as Member of the Parliament in seven (7) legislatures. Mr. Hoxhaj was a member of Kosovo’s delegation in UN-led talks on Kosovo’s independence (2008-2011).
Mr. Hoxhaj has served as Minister of Education, Science and Technology (2008-2011), Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kosovo for two terms (2011-2014 and 2016-2017), whereas, from 2017 to 2020 Mr. Hoxhaj served as Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo. Prior to that he was a research associate at the London School of Economics and John Hopkins University, as well as professor of Political Science at the University of Prishtina since 2000. Hoxhaj has completed his doctoral studies in history at University of Vienna, and he is the author of many other academic works and books, such as “Ethnic Policy” and “Building a State – Kosovo’s Foreign Policy”. His latest book became very popular because it addressed the unique path of foreign policy, while providing a strategic vision on Kosovo’s future.
Hoxhaj is fluent in English, German and Serbo-Croatian.
THE Advisory Committee
The Advisory Committee is composed of individuals who have unique knowledge, experience, and skills in relation to Kosovo and Israel and who are willing to support the strengthening of relations between Kosovo and Israel. The members of the Advisory Committee provide advisory services to the governing bodies of the Kosovo-Israel Chamber of Commerce on the political, economic, and business-related aspects of relations between Kosovo and Israel with a view to supporting the effective management of the Kosovo-Israel Chamber of Commerce in accordance with its mission, values and principles.
JASON STEINBAUM | Advisory Committee
Jason Steinbaum is Non-Resident Fellow with the German Marshall Fund of the United States. He worked on Capitol Hill for more than three decades, during which he served as Staff Director of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and Washington Chief of Staff to Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-NY). Previously, he was Staff Director of the House Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere and worked for Senator Donald W. Riegle, Jr. (D-MI). During his extensive career in Congress, Mr. Steinbaum wrote key legislation affecting U.S. foreign policy, including the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act, the Missing in Cyprus Act, and the law providing normal trade relations with Albania. He was a leading staffer on U.S. policy toward the Balkans, including authoring several important amendments relating to Kosovo and Serbia, and has monitored elections in countries throughout the region. Mr. Steinbaum holds a JD and an MA in law and international affairs from The American University in Washington, DC. He received his BA with distinction from the University of Virginia. Mr. Steinbaum is a member of the bars of the States of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He and his family live in Northern Virginia.
ADRIAN NERITANI | Advisory Committee
Adrian Neritani served as Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Albania to the United Nations in New York, and concurrently non-resident Ambassador to Cuba. Then he joined the President of the UN General Assembly as his Legal Counsel. Later on, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appointed Amb. Neritani to serve as Political Director of the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM), a UN Security Council mandated body to identify perpetrators responsible in the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Amb. Neritani started his diplomatic career in 1991 and remained with the Foreign Service until 1999, holding a variety of positions of increasing responsibility (including DCM and Charge d’Affaires a.i. at the Albanian Embassy in Beijing, China). At the beginning of his career Adrian was a Lecturer, University of Shkodra, Albania, and most recently an Adjunct Professor of Law, John Marshall Law School in Chicago.Currently, Amb. Neritani is an Attorney and Counsellor at Law in New York City, focusing his practice in areas of international law and business transactions. Adrian serves as a pro bono legal adviser of the UN Women for Peace Association, a New York based not for profit committed to end violence against women and girls. He is also a board member of the International Association of Permanent Representatives to the United Nations in New York.Adrian holds Bachelor Degrees in Political Science and Law from the University of Tirana, a Master’s Degree in Diplomacy from the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies in Malta, and a Master of Laws (LLM) in International Business and Trade Law from the John Marshall Law School in Chicago, USA. He is a member of New York Bar.
DAVID SCHWARTZ | Advisory Committee
Schwartz is a nationally recognized AV rated trial attorney and a lobbyist for businesses, trade associations, not-for-profits and individuals. Mr. Schwartz is an aggressive advocate whether it’s the various courts in New York and DC, or in the halls of the legislature. Mr. Schwartz has represented many high profile clients in the litigation and lobbying arenas. Mr Schwartz has been a trustee of various bar association, a commissioner to the Commission on Judicial Nomination, Javits Center and most recently a Director of Globe Wholesale in Brooklyn. Mr. Schwartz has been named to the exclusive SuperLawyers list and many other prominent lists for lawyers, lobbyists and communications specialists.
KUJTIM KËRVESHI | Advisory Committee
Kujtim KËrveshi – an Attorney who has specialized in civil law, civil procedural law, commercial law, investment law and arbitration/mediation. Mr. Kërveshi is a former member of the Kosovo Prosecutors Council and vice-president of the Kosovo Prosecutors Council Disciplinary Panel. He has worked with several USAID programs in Kosovo in establishing the Alternative Dispute Resolution system in the country (arbitration and mediation), training mediators and arbitrators. He has provided substantial contribution in establishing the American Chamber of Commerce’s ADR Center as well as the Kosovo Chamber of Commerce’s Permanent Arbitration Tribunal and private enforcement system as well. Prior to these assignments, Mr. Kërveshi served as the Principal Legal Adviser to the Kosovo Minister of Justice and worked on several international programs. Mr. Kërveshi has served as the Deputy Chief in the Prime Minister’s Office of Legal Support Services. In 2005 he provided substantial support in establishing the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Interior, Kosovo Judicial and Prosecutorial Council, by leading the Kosovo team in developing the terms of the references for these institutions. Mr. Kërveshi is one of Kosovo’s leading attorneys currently litigating some of the most complex cases in the country. He is an experienced commercial arbitrator and mediator, and has attended several trainings at the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris. Mr. Kërveshi has over 12 years of experience lecturing at universities in civil contested procedures, arbitration, private international law and international transactions.
VIKTOR ULA | Advisory Committee
Viktor Ula –
ROBERT MUHARREMI | Executive Director
The Executive Director is responsible for implementing all functions and duties delegated to him/her by the Executive Board and for ensuring that the daily operations of the Kosovo – Israel Chamber of Commerce comply with applicable law and the Statute.