The story of the B3P
Like many other organizations, B3P was started by a group of people who passionately believed in an idea and were determined to make it happen. B3P is a genuinely grassroots network bringing together a diverse selection of people: academics, artists, environmental activists both in the Balkans around the globe, and of course local people living and working in the valleys and villages of Northern Albania, Montenegro and Kosovo.
Graham Watson, former Liberal Democrat Member of the European Parliament for South West England and Gibraltar, is a Patron of the Balkans Peace Park Project.
“The European Union has done a great deal to secure peace and prosperity for its members, but has been deeply troubled by conflict in South East Europe. Whilst EU membership remains a beacon of hope for Balkan countries, schemes like the Balkan Peace Park Project are vitally important to peace in Europe. The Project rises above the politics that have plagued the region, and instead focuses on the issues that are common to Albanians, Kosovans and Montenegrins alike; protecting the shared natural environment and promoting a sustainable economic prosperity for all those living in the area. For me, this embodies both the spirit of liberalism and European integration, and I am therefore proud to be a Patron of the Balkans Peace Park Project.” (former MEP Graham Watson:, 2010)
What is a Peace Park?
The idea of a peace park is not new or far-fetched. The IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature), based in Switzerland, has listed over 600 ‘transboundary protected areas’ which straddle international boundaries (see Links section). About 25 of these are specifically dedicated as ‘Peace Parks,’ symbols of peace and cooperation between countries where sometimes there has been serious conflict. One of the first was the Morokulien between Norway and Sweden set up in 1914.
The people of B3P include individuals from Albania, Kosovo/a, and Montenegro; volunteers, academics, and financial supports from around the world; and our Committee.
Joint Chairperson(s): Kelsey Aho and Teresa Lappe-Osthege
Kelsey first volunteered with B3P Summer Programmes in 2012 in Vermosh and Lëpushë. Inspired, she co-coordinated three of the Summer Programmes in 2014 (Peje, Kosovo; Plav, Montenegro; Vermosh and Lëpushë, Albania) and 2015 (Valbona, Vermosh, and Plav). Kelsey works for a Regional Environmental Center of Central and Eastern Europe – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency project. Kelsey’s family is from Sisak, Croatia.
Teresa first worked with B3P in Theth (Albania) in the summer of 2013. Having become interested in the region, its warm-hearted people and breath-taking landscape, she returned to the B3P area in 2014 and 2015 to conduct research into the advantages and disadvantages of transboundary community-based conservation in the national parks. Originally from Germany and a political scientist by training, Teresa is now based in Sheffield UK, where she is studying for a PhD.
Secretary: Ulrike Gös
Ulrike, who comes from Hamburg, was a volunteer on all the 2016 Summer Programmes (Rugova, Kosovo/a; Valbona, Lëpushë, Vermosh, Albania; Babino Polje and Grbaje, Montenegro). She was back again for Lëpushë in 2017. She has also done some mountain trekking from Vermosh with Jonid (Tirana). Early in 2018, Ulrike snowshoed her way through Lëpushë with Regina and Jonid. A truly ardent B3P supporter!
Other Committee Members: Gillian Akhtar, Jen Dyer, Richard Hargreaves, Antonela Melonari, John Milsom, Antonia Young, Nigel Young
Previous Committee Members: , Keith Bowden, Howard Boyd, Ted Brown, Marjana Dworski, Jen Dyer (Chair 2016-7), Gina Greenley, Artan Karini, Ann Kennard (President 2014, Chairperson 2009-2013), Barry O’Conner, Ebru Oliver, Nick Oliver, Tom Phillips, Wendy Price, Angela Selmani, Peter Spafford (Chair 2014), Sylvia Shatwell