The small Balkan country of Kosovo might not have a seat at the United Nations, but it has won recognition from an organization that may be more influential: Facebook. In November, the social media site began letting Kosovars list Kosovo as their country of origin on their profiles.
Kosovo gained independence from Serbia in 2008, almost a decade after a NATO-led air campaign helped end a bloody conflict in the region. Since then, international recognition for the majority-Albanian country has been fleeting. While over 100 countries, including the United States, have recognized Kosovo, the United Nations and several countries in the European Union have not. Facebook generally only lists UN-recognized countries, but a lobbying campaign by Kosovars and by New York Representative Eliot L. Engel, a steadfast supporter of the country, convinced Facebook to make the change.
Recognition by Facebook is just one entry on Kosovo’s wish list. The government also wants a slot in the ever-popular Eurovision song contest and the right to field an international soccer team. And who knows? In light of how Tonibler — an Albanian-language rendering of Tony Blair — has become a popular boys’ name in honor of the former British prime minister’s role in the NATO air strikes, it’s possible that the first Kosovar winner of the Eurovision song contest will be named after Mark Zuckerberg.