Gorani are a Slavic people who converted to Islam in the 18th and 19th centuries. They speak Gorani, a Slavic language similar to Macedonian. The community originates in and is named after the Gora region, after the Slavic word for ‘mountains’, in Kosovo’s mountainous and southernmost Dragash municipality. Numbers in Kosovo are estimated to have declined in the wake of the conflict, but the community was estimated in the 2011 census (excluding North Kosovo) at 10,265 persons. Residing primarily south of Prizren, Gorani have one designated seat in the Kosovo Assembly but are largely excluded from meaningful political participation.
The Gorani minority educated in Serbian have been caught in the middle of the political stand-off between Kosovo Serbs and Albanians, which has seen the effective creation of two education systems in Kosovo. Education in the Serbian language in regions where Serbs, Gorani and Roma reside is currently managed and funded by the Serbian Ministry of Education, and follows a Serbian curriculum, which differs from that in other Kosovo schools. Gorani were previously unable to receive education under the former Serbian curriculum from Kosovo educational authorities. Many Gorani also reportedly see speaking Serbian rather than Albanian as an impediment to relating to new Albanian majority national institutions.
Gorani have also been hit by bad economic conditions, with many now living and working abroad for 11 months of the year. Their situation is exacerbated by the fact that Gorani businesses have been boycotted by Albanians, who see them as Serb collaborators because most are educated and speak in Serbian, and Gorani politicians were pro-Serb prior to the war. Like Roma and Egyptians, there is little in the way of financial assistance to support integration for Gorani, and community members have little faith in the ability or willingness of local institutions such as the criminal justice system to protect their rights.
Updated March 2018
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