Aleksandar’s mission to empower the local youth of Gracanica by acting as a bridge between different communities

Open Data Kosovo
3 min readNov 18, 2019

Aleksandar Blagic is a co-founder of Gracanica Innovation Centre (GIC), who tirelessly contributes to Kosovo’s advancement for the purpose of creating equal opportunities for all through modern technology. Aleksandar started programming after graduating from gymnasium, and enrolled eventually in IT Academy in Belgrade to finish online courses of the programming language C#. A few years ago he joined the project organized by a local NGO “Young Active Gracanica”, where he began using new creative technologies, such as Arduino.

“I always liked to create innovative projects which makes life easier to people, and various workshops helped me network with people who are of similar beliefs and willingness to do something more!”

From here, the idea of Gracanica Innovation Centre was born, paving the way to create new applications, to empower the local youth, and to function as a bridge between different communities, through which Aleksandar and his peers learned that technology can connect people both virtually and in the real world.

This epiphany aligns with project Techstitution 3.0’s methods: to equip Kosovar youth with software engineering skills through their involvement in the digitization of platforms used by public institutions. The project engages youths between the ages of 14–24 in democratic processes, by supplying them with software skills related to digital production for institutions, thus contributing to the development of ‘smart institutions’. Techstitution is a UNICEF Innovations Lab Kosovo project co-funded by the Austrian Development Agency and implemented by Open Data Kosovo.

Now, as a co-founder of GIC, Aleksandar organizes courses that offer innovative and interactive ways of learning the basics of computer programming, robotics and digital creativity with a group of local Kosovo Serbian youth, who all are graduates of the ICT field and in the spirit of unity carry an idea to join resources to contribute to the local community.

Before receiving Techstitution training Aleksandar worked only with C++ and C# programming, so he attended the workshop wishing to learn more about Web Design, which would enable him to finalize different projects. Aside from learning programming at Techstitution, he also realized the importance of team work, gained confidence to develop his own digital solutions, and identified a high demand by the local and international market, but a low supply, which is ready to be served by a motivated youth. Techstitution thus inspired Aleksandar to extend the project’s aim to the youth of Gracanica in his own way via GIC.