|First Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo|
9 September 2017
|Prime Minister||Ramush Haradinaj|
|Preceded by||Hajredin Kuçi|
15 April 2011 – 9 December 2014
|Prime Minister||Hashim Thaçi|
|Preceded by||Hajredin Kuçi|
|Succeeded by||Hashim Thaçi|
|Minister of Foreign Affairs|
9 September 2017
|Prime Minister||Ramush Haradinaj|
|Preceded by||Emanuel Demaj (Acting)|
|2nd President of Kosovo|
22 February 2011 – 4 April 2011
|Prime Minister||Hashim Thaçi|
|Preceded by||Jakup Krasniqi|
|Succeeded by||Atifete Jahjaga|
30 August 1951 |
|Political party||New Kosovo Alliance (Before 2011; 2011–present)
Behgjet Isa Pacolli[a] (born 30 August 1951; Albanian pronunciation: [bɛhˈɟɛt päˈt͡so:ɫɪ]) is a Kosovo politician who is currently serving as the First Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo and Minister of Foreign Affairs. Pacolli is a former President of the Republic of Kosovo, and was previously served as the First Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo between 2011 and 2014. Pacolli was one of the signatories of 2008 Kosovo declaration of independence.
He is the major shareholder of Mabetex Group, a Swiss-based construction and civil-engineering company. Pacolli is also the President of the third biggest political party in Kosovo the New Kosovo Alliance. For the past four years, he has been involved in Kosovar politics. He is believed to be the world's richest ethnic Albanian.
As a young man, Pacolli contacted companies throughout Austria and Germany seeking work and soon after finishing his military service, he joined an Austrian company, for which he worked as a sales representative for ex-Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Poland and Russia. Two years later, he moved to Switzerland and joined a Swiss company he had gotten to know in Moscow.
- 1 Early life and education
- 2 Career
- 3 International projects
- 4 Political Career
- 5 Humanitarian Activities
- 6 Honors and awards
- 7 Publications
- 8 Notes and references
- 9 External links
Early life and education
Behgjet Pacolli (born in Marec, Prishtina) is the son of Isa and Nazmije, the second of ten children, married to Mrs. Masha Pacolli. He is the father of three daughters (Arbresha, Selena, Hana) and three sons (Isa, Diar and Arman). He completed his primary education in Marec and high school in Prishtina. He is Kosovo Albanian by ethnicity but has a Swiss citizenship as well. After receiving his bachelor's degree from the Hamburg Institute of Foreign Trade in Hamburg, Germany (1970-1973), in 1974, he completed his military service in the ex-Yugoslav army and returned to Kosovo.
Behgjet Pacolli went to graduate school at the Mösinger Zurich Institute, where he received his master’s degree in Marketing and Management (1980-1982). He speaks many foreign languages, including: English, French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish, and Serbo-Croatian.
In 1974, Behgjet Pacolli started his career as a Foreign Language Correspondent and Deputy Director for Development at the Textile Enterprise in Gjilan. He held this position until 1975 when he once again left Kosovo to move to the West to pursue career opportunities.
From 1976 to 1980, Behgjet Pacolli held important management positions in several companies, such as, Commercial Director for Regional Development of the company Peter Zimmer in Kufstein, Austria, Commercial Director of Interplastica Project Engineering in Morbio Inf., Switzerland, and afterwards he was named General Director at the same company (Interplastica).
In the fall of 1990, he founded Mabetex Project Management, a construction company based in Lugano, Switzerland, which has developed into a large business group now called the Mabetex Group, with interests in construction, banking, insurance, hospital, media, design, etc.
Mabetex undertook and completed many important projects to reconstruct, renovate and refurbish in Russia, among which, one of the most important was the reconstruction of all the buildings within Kremlin including the residence of the president of the Russian Federation, the offices of the president and his administration, and all its accompanying facilities. On behalf of this project executed by Mabetex, Behgjet Pacolli was honored by Russian president Boris Yeltsin with the highest order given by the Russian government to a foreign authority, that of The State Laureate for Architecture and Art.
- Russian Federation Parliament,
- Kremlin the Residence of the President of Russian Federation.
- State Duma
- The Russian Opera House
- Swiss Diamond Hotel
- Vatutinki Hotel and Health Complex
- Reforma Building
- Complex Combinat Stary Oskol
- National Drama Theatre (Sakha)
- Waste Water Treatment Plant (Sakha)
- Komdragmet Building (Sakha)
Upon the downfall of the then-President of the Russian Federation, Boris Yeltsin, in 1998 Prosecutor General of Russia Yuri Skuratov opened a bribery investigation against Mabetex, which was dropped when he left his office. In 2000, Behgjet Pacolli sued Skuratov in a Russian court for slander and defamation of his character and won the case. Skuratov was ordered to pay one million Russian ruble to Pacolli for damages.
Mabetex is currently working in Kazakhstan, where it has played an important role in the construction of the new capital, Astana, with one of the awarded projects completed there being the new Presidential Palace. One of the greatest symbols of Mabetex’s achievements in Kazakhstan has been the transformation of the President’s residence. It is now a luxurious presidential residence whose splendor is a delight to visiting foreign dignitaries and to President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who works there. Situated on the left bank of the river Essy, its architecture combines classic, modern and ethnic influences. The president’s residence is part of a complex of modern administrative buildings in the new center of the city – and its main purpose is to symbolize the new face of Kazakhstan. The Group, is a major player in the Kazakhstan construction sector having built nearly 40% of the buildings in the New Astana City, such as: 
- Akorda, the Presidential Palace (which is known as the most important building of Kazakhstan)
- The Parliament
- The Prime Minister’s Office
- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Astana City Administration and Ministry of Sport & Tourism
- Kazakhstan’s State Residences
- The Hockey Hall
- The Olympic Center in Suchinsk
- Velodrome Saryarka 
- The Classic Theatre of Opera and Ballet
- Central Concert Hall
- Astana International Airport, In-Flight Catering Complex Astana Intl Airport , VIP Terminal Astana
- 5-Star Radisson Hotel and Shopping Center Arman
- Shopping Center Sine Tempore
- Restaurant Venezia
- B&A Center
- Expo 2017 Future Energy
In the years 2014-2017, Mabetex had the privilege of designing and implementing one of the latest projects, that of the Astana Expo 2017, which was inaugurated on June 10th, 2017.
Mabetex also operates in Uzbekistan, a country in which Mabetex built many facilities ranging from the City Hall, to other administrative, residential and banking premises. Regarding the City Hall, its new structure and interior decoration were designed with full respect for local architectural tradition. In addition to this building they have restored the Tashkent Bank Academy, a historical building highly valued in the town. To this day, Mabetex continues to be present in Central Asia.
In Italy, the Mabetex Group was responsible in the study and project for the refurbishment of the La Fenice theatre, an opera house in Venice, Italy, one of "the most famous and renowned landmarks in the history of Italian theatre" as well as those in Europe, after it was burned. This project also required the design of all the furniture.
In the 1990s Mabetex hired roughly four to five thousand people from Kosovo each year. Once the war ended in 1999, Behgjet Pacolli decided to directly involve Mabetex in Kosovo by investing in critical infrastructure such as banking, insurance, hospitals, design etc. The investments of The Group generate jobs for more than 4500 thousand people.
- Swiss Diamond Hotel, Prishtina
- The Parliament Building
- Rilindja Government Building
- IMK Pipe Factory
Lobbying for Kosovo Independence
Behgjet Pacolli's commitment to improving the livelihood in his homeland began soon after the war in Kosovo ended. In 2005 he created the lobbying company "The New Kosovo Alliance", through which he lobbied exclusively for the creation of the country of Kosovo. In this journey, Pacolli collaborated with many important figures in world politics, especially American leaders, such as Frank Carlucci, Morton Abramovitz, S. Waterman, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Janusz Bugajski, Henry Kissinger, and many others. For four years, he was also a member of the board of trustees of the Center for International and Strategic Studies (CSIS), in the Committee led by Henry Kissinger, during which time he continued his lobbying efforts towards creating the appropriate conditions for declaring Kosovo an independent country.
The New Kosovo Alliance's lobbying mission, was considered fulfilled by Pacolli and other members of the organization, at the time when President Bush during his visit to Tirana in June 2007, stated, "Kosovo must be a country, an independent republic, now".
Since Kosovo's declaration of independence in February 2008, Pacolli has been working diligently lobbying countries to officially recognize Kosovo as an independent country. Pacolli continues his lobbying activities all around the world, where he meets senior leaders of world countries in an attempt to convince them of the arguments in favor of recognizing Kosovo’s independence.
New Kosovo Alliance
In the 2007 elections, AKR becomes the third party and leads the parliamentary opposition in Kosovo, giving its contribution to the declaration of Kosovo’s independence on February 17th, 2008. During this period, although in opposition, Behgjet Pacolli continued to work towards achieving international recognition of Kosovo's independence.
Pacolli became a deputy in the Assembly of Kosovo and a member of the Committee for Budget and Finance. With Pacolli's rise in politics, he was seen as a great asset not only to Kosovo but to its development.
In 2011, Behgjet Pacolli was elected the 3rd President of the Republic of Kosovo.
Immediately after being sworn in as the President of the Republic, Behgjet Pacolli began a dynamic activity as the head of the country. During the first days in his new role, he visited the northern part of Kosovo for the first time after the war, as a territory in which the authority and sovereignty of Kosovo as a country wasn’t fully recognized.
After less than two months, he withdrew from this role due to mistakes in the election procedure, which were caused by the then-President of the Assembly of Kosovo. He had allowed those mistakes which created a precedent for an unreasonable decision of the Constitutional Court. This decision was opposed by the international members of this court (Robert Carolan, judge; Almiro Rodrigues, judge), but was approved by local judges. Even though Behgjet Pacolli could continue to exercise the president’s role, he withdrew, thus intending to prevent an institutional crisis.
First Deputy Prime Minister
After his withdrawal from the president’s office, Behgjet Pacolli decided to continue the co-governance and took on the role of the First Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo.During this time, with a mandate for recognitions and for foreign investments, he led the lobbying campaign for the recognition and inclusion of Kosovo as a country in the international arena, holding meetings with more than 100 presidents, prime ministers, and kings from many different countries of the world. Pacolli has proven a creative approach to his work, focusing in the African region, in influential countries and the change of institutional regulations for foreign investment, with the aim of creating an attractive environment for business.
Behgjet Pacolli continues to lead The New Kosovo Alliance, whose sole mission is the economic development of the Republic of Kosovo, thus improving the livelihood of its citizens and especially the perspective for the youth.
Throughout his career in global business, Behgjet Pacolli also developed philanthropic activities. Through the foundation which holds his name, he stimulates the education of youth in elite schools, helps the poor, builds schools, hospitals, supports sports, culture, etc. In 1993, Pacolli established "Les Enfants du Sakha", presently known as "Ibrahim Kodra Foundation" a fund with the stated goal of providing help in the medical care, education and recreation of children. Several times, Pacolli has also been directly involved in the release of hostages in Afghanistan and in other countries undergoing conflict. In 2004, three United Nations workers were taken hostage in Kabul, Annette Flannigan, Angelito Nayan and Shqipe Hebibi, who was from Kosovo and had neither representation nor support from the outside. Behgjet Pacolli traveled to Afghanistan for one month of intensive personal work and negotiations on their behalf and has been credited with securing their release. It was two years later that the whole story repeated itself when the Italian citizen, Gabrielle Torsello was kidnapped in Afghanistan. Behgjet Pacolli was contacted by the Italian services in order to negotiate his liberation and was successful in doing so.
Just in Kosovo, "Behgjet Pacolli Foundation" has donated over 20 million euros for various projects. Its national and international activities include:
- Main sponsor of the Aleksandër Moisiu Foundation
- Founder of the Foundation and Orphanages “Bambimi Di Sakha”
- 1993 – Founder and sponsor of the hospital for the shelter and care of abandoned children born with physical disabilities in Sakha
- 1999 – In cooperation with the Foundation “Insieme per la pace” and Ms. Fanfani, intervenes massively in offering aid in Kukës, Ivangrad, for the refugees expelled from Kosovo
- 1999 – Foundation for Rebuilding Kosovo (FORK), Prishtina
- Support to Kosovo hospitals with pharmaceuticals
- Founder of the Ibrahim Kodra Foundation, Lugano
- 2000 – Founder of Union of Albanian Businessmen (UAB), Lugano
- 2000-2004 – Support for building the infrastructure of Kosovo Protection Corps (TMK) in Prishtina and contribution towards its professional equipment
- 2004 – The mediation and release of hostages in Afghanistan (after a three-week successful stay, succeeds in releasing three hostages, UN workers, Shqipe Hebibi, Annete Flaninghan and Angilito Najan)
- 2004 – Founder of the foundation South East European Development (SEED), Washington D.C., (foundation for lobbying and promoting the independence of Kosovo)
- 2005 – Support for the establishment of the Memorial Center in Penuhë of Podujevë
- 2005 – Founder of the New Kosovo Alliance organization, Washington (lobbying organization for the independence of Kosovo, 2004-2006)
- 2006 – Founder and head of the New Kosovo Alliance (Aleanca Kosova e Re - AKR) political party (AKR is ranked as the third political party in the country, during its first elections in 2007)
- 2006 – Mediation and release of the journalist taken hostage in Afghanistan, Gabriele Torsello
- 2006 – Foundation Behgjet Pacolli, Prishtinë, contributes in scholarships, social assistance for people in need, building houses for the poor and other social and cultural contributions
- 2007 – Contributed in the mediation and release of 23 Korean hostages in Afghanistan
- 2007 – Designed, sponsored and funded the building of the American University in Kosovo’ campus.
- 2008-2011 – Permanent lobbying for the recognition of the Republic of Kosovo as an independent and sovereign country
- 2008 – Financed the reconstruction and restoration of the Mosque of Llap (Xhamia e Llapit) in Prishtina, a building which is enlisted as part of the cultural heritage of Kosovo
- 2009 – Financed the expansion and construction of the College of Philosophy within the University of Prishtina
- 2011 – Initiator and signatory of the political consensus agreement on constitutional and electoral reforms
- 2011 – Founder and President of the Movement for the Albanian Economic Union
- 2012 – Release of the pilot James Berisha, who was taken hostage in Eritrea. Intensive engagement for the release of Swedish-Eritrean journalist Dawit Isaak, arrested by the Eritrean authorities in 2001
- 2012 - Founder of the Movement for the Albanian Economic Union, along with former presidents of Albania, Rexhep Meidani dhe Alfred Moisiu, University Rectors, promiment personalities from all over Albania.
- Sponsor of sports and culture in Kosovo
- Full support in the construction of houses for the poor (ongoing)
- Assistance for dozens of patients in receiving the necessary treatment out of the country (ongoing)
- Social aid for people with disabilities and people in need (monthly stipend) (ongoing)
- Member of the Center for International and Strategic Studies (CSIS),] Washington, permanent adviser to the committee led by Henry Kissinger
Honors and awards
- “The Acknowledgement of the City of Tirana” honor, given by the mayor of Tirana, Lulëzim Basha, in 2015
- Recognition and Honorary Degrees from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)
- Honors from the American University of Kosova (AUK)
- Peace Ambassador from the Universal Peace Federation
- Recognition by the Clinton Global Initiative Foundation
- Global Peace Knight of the Millennium, given by the Centro Internazionale per la Pace fra i Popoli (The International Center for Peace among Nations).
- Russia: Highest honors of the country of Russian Federation
- Kazakhstan: Honorable citizen of Astana, Kazakhstan Republic
- Honors by the Kosovo Protection Corps (TMK)
- Peru: Highest honors of Country of Peru, President of Peru
- Recognition from Nelson Mandela Foundation
- Recognition from President Clinton
- Liberia: Honorable Diplomat of country Liberia
- Albania: Honorary citizen of Lezha and Korça
- 2014 Special Leadership Award of Co-Plan Foundation in Albania for his life achievements
- Doctor honoris causa of European University of Tirana
- Albania: On 21 March 2011 received a copy of the key of the city of Tirana on the occasion of his state visit to Albania.
- Philippines: Gusi Peace Prize for statesmanship 
- United States: Honorary citizen and Honorary Mayor of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States
- Albania: On 2015 President Nishani decorates Behgjet Pacolli with the Honor of Nation Order
- United States:Chancellor's Gold Medal of Community College of Baton Rouge, Louisiana 
- Key of city of New Orleans and State of Louisiana 
- On July 2010, International Union for Peace honored the president of AKR (New Kosovo Alliance), Behgjet Pacolli with the special prize "Cavaliere della Pace", (Cavalier of Peace).
- Various publications in the areas of socio-economics, politics, and culture
- Founder and publisher of the magazine “Albanica”
- Founder of the daily newspaper “Lajm” (Eng.: News), founded in 2004.
- Author of the autobiography “From Challenge to Challenge: Life Behgjet Pacolli”, published in 2010
- Author of the book “The Unification Begins with the Economy” – a treatise of Albanian regions’ national economic and financial development, published in 2014.
- Author of the documentary book “To lobby for Kosovo”. The book is a summary of documents, articles, experiences, and comments on lobbying for the international recognition of Kosovo’s independence. The book was published in 2014.
- Author of the book "15 Rules of Success according to Behgjet Pacolli”, published in 2010.
Notes and references
|a.||^ Albanian: Behgjet Isa Pacolli, Serbo-Croatian: Behđet Isa Pacoli.|
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Behgjet Pacolli.|
- Personal website
- Behdjet Pacolli on the New Kosovo Alliance website
- Behgjet Pacolli at the Assembly of Kosovo
|President of Kosovo
|First Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo
|First Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo
|Minister of Foreign Affairs