“Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.“
- Albert Einstein
(impact year 2019)
Jon is currently an 11th grader at “Mehmet Akif” high school in Prishtina. He is a semi-professional chess player with a love for the natural sciences. He has won first place in the national Chemistry Competition and the Kosovar Physics Olympiad (three years in a row). He has also won first place at various debate tournaments. Besides being a member of the ATOMI institute for gifted students, Jon is also a piano player, a junior table tennis player and does a lot of volunteering in various charities around Kosovo.
Jon was chosen to represent Kosovo, for the first time in history, at the European Physics Olympiad (EuPhO) (https://eupho2019.lv/) held in Riga, Latvia this year. EuPhO is a contest for high school students. In addition to the International Physics Olympiad (started in 1967) there exist traditions of regional competitions such as Asian Physics Olympiad (since 2000) and Ibero-American Physics Olympiad (since 1991). The concept of EuPhO is similar to real research situations, with short problems description and plenty of space for creative solutions. Jon has never had the opportunity to attend these international contests and therefore sent in an application to our foundation, expressing his desire to be the first to represent his country.
In his application Jon stated:
”Physics is one my favourite fields and participating in EuPhO is a dream come true to get more depth of the field and module knowledge to get to the same levels as other parts of the world, so for me it’s the open chance to seek more through the impact of Physics in social life all over the world.”
As a foundation, we thought this was an excellent opportunity for Jon and wanted to fully support him in participating in this wonderful contest.
Here is what Jon sent to us after this experience:
”Those four days changed me in many aspects. Sitting for two consecutive days, in a five hours long exam, taught me something that no physics forum nor book could have. It made me understand that magnificence of physics stands in the creative thinking processes which go beyond syllabus and formulas. It made me realize that this thinking process is the physics that we need to solve modern-day problems.”
“Another special thing about EuPhO was the chance to meet some great physicists and professors from around the world (one of them a former member of CERN) who shared with us some of their experiences and difficulties they encountered during their career. What made one of the lectures special to me was the idea that studying physics is not only fun and fulfilling to some but is also one of the biggest contributions someone can make to their community; bringing humanity closer to solutions of problems that we face. “
“During those days I got to meet many students from other countries where we had a good time discussing problems and solutions from theoretical and especially experimental exam. Moreover, teams like the ones from Indonesia, Switzerland and many more made me understand that EuPhO and other events of this character are an ideal chance to bring a small piece of your culture and share it with other participants just simply by bringing a hat, a bookmark or even chocolate.”
“Being surrounded by some of the brightest physics minds in Europe and not only, who share the same eagerness about physics as I do, was one of the best moments during my entire experience with competitions and olympiads and that’s why I will be eternally grateful to the XhM Foundation for making this possible for me.”
(impact year 2018)
Raesa is currently a 10th grader at “Mileniumi i trete” high school in Prishtina. She has been a member of jCoders Academy (http://www.j-coders.com) since 2015, an organisation aiming to familiarise students from a very early age with coding. She is an avid coder herself, programming in: Scratch, Python, Stencyl, c++, etc. Last year she won ICT Albanian Awards - first place(Rising Star of The Year 2017) (https://ictawards.org/2017/), with her robotic hand to be used as a tool for sign language. She is also a member of the Mensa International community (https://www.mensa.org.uk/) and one of her biggest dreams is to have the opportunity to study at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).
Needless to say, this young lady is gifted, determined and hard working. She first got in touch with us in April 2018 and shortly thereafter sent in an application to our foundation stating her case to receive funding to attend the Young Yale Global Scholars (YYGS) programme (https://globalscholars.yale.edu/) in New Haven.
YYGS is a very prestigious summer academic enrichment and leadership programme for outstanding high school students from around the world. Raesa was accepted into the Frontiers of Science & Technology session (FST), which explores innovative developments at the forefront of science and technology, and received a partial scholarship from Yale. However, this was not enough for her to be able to attend this programme, therefore the Xheladin and Xhufe Morina foundation awarded her with its first scholarship.
For her application Raesa wrote:
”In the future I hope to continue my studies at a prestigious university in the field of technology and robotics and this experience might just bring me closer to that reality, by giving me a snapshot of what I should expect and prepare for. Coming from a small, war torn, under-developed country where the educational system is not particularly concerned with intellectual curiosity, initiative, and where innovation is still just a fancy word that is used to differentiate from others when in fact there isn’t anything innovative being done, participating in these lectures, discussions and seminars, and the capstones project, will be a life changing experience for me.”
After attending YYGS, Raesa was extremely grateful to the foundation for the opportunity and wrote about her experience:
”I think the most important thing I learned at Yale is that the more fundamental a question is, the easier it is to neglect, the harder it is to answer, and the more important it is to ask. I was taught to take everything I know as true and question it, tear it apart, dissect it into its rawest form. As a result, I emerged not only stronger in my beliefs but also a more passionate and eloquent defender of them. My experience at YYGS has left me with something profoundly more important than facts and stories; it has left me with a new way of thinking and interacting that I can apply in or outside of the classroom and that will last far beyond my schooling. “