By: Tabi Miller `17
Graceland University has been a tradition in many families. Generations and siblings have shared in the Graceland experience – sometimes at the same time. Since its early history, Graceland has also been host to international students from all over the world. The Maloku family brings these two traditions together.
Hava ‘06, Gëzim ‘10, Albana ‘11, Besa ‘14, Fatbardha ‘18 and Besnik ’20 – six siblings from the Republic of Kosovo – have all chosen to make Graceland University their home – one after another. And the Graceland legacy they have chosen to take home to Kosovo is one that will touch even more families.
The Malokus were introduced to Graceland when the eldest sister, Hava, was offered the opportunity to study in the United States by Ambassador John K. Menzies, Graceland’s 16th president, who was instrumental in bringing many students to Graceland from the Balkan States. “After that, it was sibling after sibling,” said Fatbardha, a current Graceland senior.
Coming to Graceland with the opportunity to learn fluent English was a blessing they wanted to share. So, in June, the siblings started their own school in their home country. Three of their siblings, Gëzim, Albana and Besa, remain in Kosovo to run the new enterprise.
Their school, located in Prishtina, Kosovo, is named Begema, and its goal is to teach English to children as a way to prepare them for the tests and processes required to apply to study in the United States. A Maloku family business, they have hired teachers and begun to create a professional learning experience.
The siblings have felt a sense of family at Graceland. Fatbardha shared, “People are very friendly here, and we always felt very welcomed.” Besnik added that they try to bring that happiness to the kids and help them to feel that same sense of connectedness as they learn English together, and no one is denied. The school even offers such opportunities to students whose families cannot afford the tuition. And in the aftermath of a recent war, this is especially impactful.
The Maloku legacy at Graceland continues by creating opportunities for other young people of Kosovo. Fatbardha and Besnik agreed they would love to see the tradition continue at Graceland.