International Puppet Fest returns in Tirana

International Puppet Fest returns in Tirana

TIRANA, May 23- The second edition of the International Puppet Festival returns to the Metropol Theater scene on May 25 to June 1. Troops with a long tradition in this theater genre such as China, Spain, Italy, Mexico, Poland, Israel,

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Driant Zeneli represents Albanian at Venice Biennale

Driant Zeneli represents Albanian at Venice Biennale

TIRANA, May 14- Under the presence of Albanian and foreign artists and under the attention of international media, the Albanian pavilion was opened at the Venice Biennale on Friday. In this 58th edition, Albania was represented by artist Driant Zeneli

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Exhibition for things left behind by children taken from war

Exhibition for things left behind by children taken from war

TIRANA, May 16- How is to see an empty cradle? What about a vest hanging on a wooden pendant? Two sweaters that almost wander in a memory space? How is it to see a pair of almost brand new sneakers,

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Thomas Simaku performs at 2019 World Music Days

Thomas Simaku performs at 2019 World Music Days

TIRANA, May 12- The piece La Leggiadra Luna by Albanian composer Thomas Simaku was performed at the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) – World Music Days in Tallinn on 4 May 2019. Composed for mixed choir a cappella, this

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International Museum Day

International Museum Day

TIRANA, May 16- In the framework of International  Museum Day in May 18, the National History Museum in cooperation with the Directorate of Cultural Heritage and Tourism in the Municipality of Tirana will organize the project “Moving Museum” starting today.

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Culture heritage and Albanian as a priority

Culture heritage and Albanian as a priority

TIRANA, May 9- Businessman Stefan Pinguli recounts how the first International Assembly “The Historical-Language and Ethnocultural Continuity of Albanians Through Millennia,” which will take place from May 9 to 12 in Tirana and will be organized by the National Center

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National Theatre gets its name back

National Theatre gets its name back

TIRANA, May 9- There has been an ongoing clash between artists and government with Tirana Municipality regarding the demolition of the National Theatre in order to build a new complex with towers and perhaps a couple of other scenes within

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Four works of Odhise Paskali are discovered

Four works of Odhise Paskali are discovered

TIRANA, May 2- He was a writer, journalist, translator, painter, above all sculptor. Odhise Paskali (1903-1985) however, never achieved his dream of studying sculpture despite numerous requests. He studied for philosophy and literature in Turin, Italy, and during these studies

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Ylljet Alicka translates renowned book in German

Ylljet Alicka translates renowned book in German

TIRANA, May 2- Writer, professor and former Ambassador to France Ylljet Alicka has written a good many titles which have also been translated abroad, and some even adapted for theatre. One of his most renowned books is Stone Slogans has

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Drita Ivanaj chants the anthem of education and culture

Drita Ivanaj chants the anthem of education and culture

By Sonja Methoxha A buoyant lady extends her hand to me in a firm handshake, which means she is reliable, and starts talking as if she already knew me for a while. She does not speak Albanian very well, as

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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, May 23- The second edition of the International Puppet Festival returns to the Metropol Theater scene on May 25 to June 1. Troops with a long tradition in this theater genre such as China, Spain, Italy, Mexico, Poland, Israel, and England, will entertaining both children and all age groups. Albania is represented with two shows “Where the mountain meet the moon” written by Grace Lin, and the musical show “Goodwill” by Elona Hyseni. 

This second edition is organised by Tirana’s Metropol Theater in cooperation with Klau's Film Association. Armela Demaj who is Artistic Director at Metropol Theater said that a second edition which includes international troops is brought for the public follow last year’s success, where the shows were organized in two different locations within the Metropol Theater and at the Skanderbeg Square. One of the festival organizers explained how the selection of works was done and the plays chosen to be performed are so different from one-another, both from the content and techniques. Director Klajdi Ymeri said this confrontation serves not only to the public but also to the artists. 

Some of the representative performances during the festival are “Where the mountain meets the moon,” “Twisting the tail” from Israel, “Catching the puppets” from Mexico, “Ugly duckling” from Poland, “Spring Beauties” from China, “Bravo, Bravissimo!” from Italy, “Time Game” by Spanish writer David Zuazola, “The mirror” from England etc.. The troops will stage two performances each, one during the morning at the Metropol Theater and the other every evening at Skanderbeg Square. 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, May 14- Under the presence of Albanian and foreign artists and under the attention of international media, the Albanian pavilion was opened at the Venice Biennale on Friday. In this 58th edition, Albania was represented by artist Driant Zeneli with his video installation “Maybe the Cosmos is not so extraordinary,” curated by Alicia Knock. 

The ceremony was opened by Minister of Culture Elva Margariti, who said that Albania is presented in this artistic cosmos with a work that is born in Bulqiza and exceeds the local boundaries to convey a much more universal message. She thanked all those who were present and in support of the beauty that Albanian art creates and represents in a parade of world art. She expressed her gratitude for the representation by Driant, a young, energetic talent with a longstanding and dedication to his art, which according to Margariti is representing us well in this event, as noticed by the many foreign media writings.

“We join this biennial with a fracture of dimensions, bringing small stories from small towns and turning them to contemporary art and in the dimension of beauty. We are aware that his art also brings a controversy over which I would like to invite reflection and discussion,” said Margariti.

Curator Alicia Knock said that Zeneli's work shows how dreams can become a reality. She said that Driant's work speaks of a specific reality of Albania, of Bulqiza, of chrome, which travels from the heart of the mountain to the cosmos, describing a geopolitical, economic, and industrial journey in Zeneli's work.

“This cosmos is not only built by me, but many people have worked for one year to accomplish this work, starting with the five heroes who are the protagonists in the piece. My work is dedicated to all those who believe in dreams and seek to push their limits every day,” said artist Driant Zeneli.

The opening ceremony was attended by artists Anri Sala, Adrian Paci, Edi Muka, Alban Muja, Anila Rubiku and others. Curator Edi Muka praised the metaphor used by Zeneli to connect the overground with the subterranean. Artist Anri Sala focused on how Zeneli selected the topic with the general theme of the biennial, with the concerns and problems that this edition deals with, as well as trying to find other alternatives. Artist Adrian Paci calls the concept of Driant Zeneli's work a finding, linking reality with fantasy, the underworld of Albania with the cosmos. Kosovo's representative at the Venice Biennale, Alban Muja, praised not only the concept of the work, but also the installation of the pavilion. “You Live In Interesting Times” is the title of the 58th edition of the Venice Biennale and refers to an ancient Chinese curse that evokes times of uncertainty, crises and chaos. The interesting times as we are living. This edition is curated by Ralph Rugoff, under the chairmanship of Paolo Baratta. According to Rugoff, “maybe art, indirectly, can turn into a guide to how we can live and think.” In this edition located at the “Giardini e Arsenale”  90 countries participated, while 21 collateral events take place around Venice.

Driant Zeneli was born in Shkoder in 1983, and lives between Milan and Tirana. In 2011 he was one of the artists who represented Albania at the 54th International Art Exhibition – Venice Biennale. In 2008 he won the Onufri International Contemporary Art Prize, Tirana; the Young European Artist Award Trieste Contemporanea in 2009, and the MOROSO Prize, Italy, in 2017. He was the artistic director of Mediterranea 18, the Young Artists Biennale from Europe and Mediterranean, taking place for the first time in 2017 between Tirana and Durres. He has exhibited at Passerelle, Centre d’Art Contemporain, Brest, (2018); Mostyn Gallery, Wales, UK (2017); MuCEM, Marseille, (2016); Academie de France à Roma, (2016); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2016); MSFAU Tophane-i Aime, Istanbul, (2016); Prometeogallery di Ida Pisani, Milan (2015; 2010); IV Bienal del Fin del Mundo, Chile (2015); Viafarini, Milan (2014); GAM, Museum of Modern and Contemporaryart Turin (2013); White House Biennial, Athens (2013); KCCC, Klaipeda, Lithuania (2013); ZKM, Karlsruhe (2012); MUSAC, Castilla León. Spain,(2012); TICA, Tirana (2012); Prague Biennale 5, Prague (2011); 98 weeks Project Space, Beirut (2011); Trongate 103, Glasgow (2011); National Gallery of Kosove, Prishtine (2010); Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Villa Croce, Genoa (2009); National Gallery of Tirana, (2008).

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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, May 16- How is to see an empty cradle? What about a vest hanging on a wooden pendant? Two sweaters that almost wander in a memory space? How is it to see a pair of almost brand new sneakers, because the one who wears them is no longer there, because they did not let him wear them until torn? What about a sweater inside a mosque, stopped in a moment of eternity? How is it looking at many tearful eyes, the mothers of children who never grew up? 

20 years later, the colors of their drawings have faded. The paper of their books, as well. 20 years later, just the image of their portraits hurts all the same. Parents still mourn, but no longer have to feel that this is a dream. They almost never find the power to believe this is just a dream. It's ironic to see a child's list of grades below a clean glass. The child is here no longer, but the list remains. How does human life die faster than a piece of paper that proves that in the ether we feel today, once breathed a daughter or a son.

“Once upon a time” is the natural beginning of every fable. In this case, it is the beginning of a war confession. Under the naive eyesight of our children, a world that does not belong to reality, like fairy tales, is opened to us. Blerta Hoçia launches the curatorial text of an exhibition that remembers Kosovo children who never grew up as a fairytale. They would be in their 30s today, but they were killed somewhere, their lives were taken somewhere else, turning their fairy tale into a tragedy. The things they left behind create the slumber of a life torn from the sprout, and their weight in the air passes every pain of pain.

“They were soldiers dressed in the KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army), but they are children, I do not know what the child did that they killed it ... I wish the bullets would have taken me instead of my children, to have been with them instead of seeing their photos here today,” says Mejremja (for ‘Life’ in Kosovo), the mother of one of the children shot, while she sees photographs at the exhibition that reminded 1,133 children killed in the Kosovo war between 1998 and 2000.

“A glass room inside the space contains all the weight of the objects. To remind us that this exhibition can be seen from the children's point of view, these objects are suspended in the tale as dormant inside the box. A seemingly sleepiness of these objects left in the darkness of unconsciousness that arouses personal and collective memory from the need to constantly forget,” curator Hochia noted. 

The windshield creates the same sensation as the memories, they are there but you can not touch them. Like the love for those who are no longer, you feel it, but you can not embrace it. Like the longing for ones you no longer have, they are somewhere in your heart, you are talking, scream the pain and love, but in the suspense of the memorial room you receive no answer. The items and outfits here cease to be objects and clothing. They turn into personal stories that accompany the presence of the children themselves. This presence of another dimension, blended with bullets and fairy tales that break suddenly like the glass containing them, carrying all the implied symbolism.

This exhibition comes as an invitation for confrontation and reflection, for dialogue and recovery, to start building a collective memory through these objects and others that will be added in the future. The objects belonging to children remind us of everyday life, monotonous life, the little precious things that we do not always notice. Some of them tell us about a silent game that still continues.

“Perhaps a game that accompanied coexistence with the war and continues to be reflected in all the remaining items that convey the gentle eyes of the children, which heal and release a ray of hope by making their memory eternal,” said exhibition curator Blerta Hocia.

She cares to point out that more than an exhibition, this is a memorial dedicated to children killed and disappeared in the war. Why are memorials made and the ruins of the consequences of serious human rights violations preserved? The answer is clear, they are not just to remind and honor the victims and the survivors, but also to seek the truth. In seeking this truth, the Humanitarian Law Center Kosovo is fully committed, and for the creation of this memorial it was discussed with the parents and the relatives of the victims, thus this exhibition expresses their wish to reminisce them through the few things left from an interrupted childhood.

The exhibition was brought by the Humanitarian Law Center Kosovo and supported by NED, Municipality of Prishtina, Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports. It was opened on May 13, 2019 at the Kosovo Documentation Center. The Humanitarian Law Center Kosovo (HLCK) since 1997 deals with documenting victims of war crimes and other serious violations of human rights. All HLCK activities are in the field of Transitional Justice and contribute to achieving justice for victims, establishing accurate narratives on the war, supporting victims in realizing their right to reparations and educating young people on Transitional Justice . Finally, the HLCK also contributes to the memorialization of the war victims.

Items are all stored by family members, and for many of them, they are the only remaining items they have from their children. With the collection of items and contacts with family members has dealt the Kosovo Humanitarian Law Center. Hocia said it was very difficult for her preparing the exhibition. She added that the theme is very sensitive and painful, but nevertheless she tried this exhibition to convey empathy, and to reflect on the past and make it easier to confront it. Hocia who has a long experience with exhibitions, said she has learned a lot about the war and that period during her research ,and realized that much of that information in Albania has not come either at that time or now. 

“It is important to see this as a first step in building a collective memory or a memory museum,” she said.

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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, May 12- The piece La Leggiadra Luna by Albanian composer Thomas Simaku was performed at the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) – World Music Days in Tallinn on 4 May 2019. Composed for mixed choir a cappella, this work is a setting of Sappho’s poem translated from ancient Greek into modern Italian by the Nobel Prize-winning Sicilian poet Salvatore Quasimodo, and has previously received its world premiere by the 24 vocal ensemble at the University of York.

Simaku’s works have been selected by international juries in ten editions of this festival, which has been described as the “Music Olympics.” Founded in 1922, the ISCM Festival is the oldest forum of new music in the world, which takes place every year in a different country. Simaku’s piece in the 2019 edition of ISCM was performed by the Grammy Award-winning vocal ensemble the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, conducted by Kaspars Putniņš. The concert was broadcasted live on national radio, and transferred across Europe through the European Broadcasting Union. Thomas Simaku was one of three British composers representing the UK at this prestigious festival this year.

In his review of the concert Timmy Fisher wrote that “the most memorable moment of the evening, however, came at the climax of Thomas Simaku’s La Leggiadra Luna (The Beautiful Moon), in which a thundering eight-note chord reverberated around the St Nicholas’ rafters for what felt like an eternity.” 

Simaku was born in Kavaje in 1958 and grew up surrounded by music. He was sent to the music school of Durres when he was 14 years old to study oboe, accordion, harmony & counterpoint. After the music school in Durrës, Simaku enrolled in the State Conservatory of Music in the capital Tirana, studying composition under Tonin Harapi. Then he moved to England in 1991, when he was 33 years old, forced to start his career path all over again. As postgraduate studies he enrolled at York University for a PhD in composition, where he studied with David Blake. Blake introduced him to the Second Viennese School, where Simaku immersed himself into the music banned in Albania. Bartok, Stravinsky, Berio, Boulez, Birtwistle, Xenakis, Lutoslawski et al., have all had their input during his study years at York. But it was with the music of Ligeti and Kurtag that Simaku felt he discovered something very special, which was more than an inspiration to him.

Simaku faced many challenges while trying to settle in UK, both in learning a new language, but also having to miss his father’s funeral because he couldn’t leave the country. Nevertheless, he was the Leonard Bernstein Fellow in Composition at Tanglewood Music Centre, USA studying with Bernard Rands, and a fellow at the Composers’ Workshop, California State University with Brian Ferneyhough. Simaku’s music has been reaching audiences across Europe, the USA and further afield for more than two decades, and it has been awarded a host of accolades for its expressive qualities and its unique blend of intensity and modernism.

His latest piece was written for six musicians of Klangforum Wien. His latest String Quartet (No 5), commissioned by the HCMF and first performed in 2015, was written specifically for Quatuor Diotima, will be recorded later in 2019 for a new CD with the Swedish label BIS Records to be released in 2020. He has also composed The Scream for String orchestra based on the iconic painting by Edvard Munch, which received its world premiere in 2017 performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra.

“I could say that an important characteristic of my musical language is putting together elements from disparate musical cultures. Often, complex chordal structures or multi-layered textural formats are reduced to just one single note which becomes a kind of ‘atomistic compression’ with a magnetic quality, as it were, around which various colouristic elements orbit freely,” said Simaku regarding his musical language. 

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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, May 16- In the framework of International  Museum Day in May 18, the National History Museum in cooperation with the Directorate of Cultural Heritage and Tourism in the Municipality of Tirana will organize the project “Moving Museum” starting today. An ordinary bus will be turned into an exhibition where students of rural Tirana schools will get acquainted with the history of some of the Albanian cultural heritage sites. 

The “Moving Museum” exhibition features items from museum collections stored in National History Museum archives, which belong to different historical periods. Among them are vases from antiquity, portraits, cult objects, musical instruments, folk costumes etc. The first stop today was at the Administrative Unit Berzhite at its middle school with the same name. The National History Museum writes that this activity aims to involve the communities in the development of cultural policies in order to improve the quality of cultural life in Tirana and throughout Albania. “Through this project, the collection aims to become known to a wider public to make a more meaningful connection with the object while at the same time contributing to strengthening the museum's identity, including cooperation with citizens, the community and society in raising awareness in young people for the preservation of our cultural heritage,” the museum wrote in its announcement.

On May 17 the Museum will be also organizing two more events within the framework of the International Museum Day. One of the event will be an exhibition with children's paintings on the topic “Cultural Heritage” which comes in collaboration with the National Cultural Center for Children. The other event will be the International Scientific Conference : “The face of 'People's Enemy' during the dictatorship of the proletariat in Albania 1944-1990.” This conference is organised in collaboration between the Authority for Information on Former State Security Documents,the National History Museum, the Institute of History at the Academy of Albanological Studies, the Institute for the Studies of Communist Crimes and Consequences in Albania and the Institute of Integration of the Former Political Persecuted, and will take place at the UNESCO hall of the National History Museum at 9:30 am.

The National History Museum was inaugurated on 28 October 1981. For the establishment of this museum was gathered a team with the best specialists of the country in the fields of history, linguistics, archeology, ethnography, cartography, architecture and art. It was worked for almost three years in an organized manner for building this museum until its opening, according to the respective sections. The group was headed by distinguished personalities such as Aleks Buda, Stefanaq Pollo, Selami Pulaha, Skënder Anamali, Emin Riza, Burhan Çiraku, Kleanthi Dedi, Iljaz Goga, Rrok Zojzi, Abaz Dojaka, Ramadan Sokoli, Enver Faja, Nina Shehu, Vilson Kilica, Fatmir Haxhiu, Myrteza Fushekati, Met Deliu, Aleksander Meksi, and others. The National History Museum is the largest museal institution in Albania and one of its most important. There are about 5000 objects in the museum's premises, which belong to a relatively long period of time, beginning in the IV century BC and until the second half of the 20th century.

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                    [post_title] => International Museum Day
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, May 9- Businessman Stefan Pinguli recounts how the first International Assembly “The Historical-Language and Ethnocultural Continuity of Albanians Through Millennia,” which will take place from May 9 to 12 in Tirana and will be organized by the National Center “Our Roots.”. About 90 reference reporters, academics, scholars, but also ordinary people will address different topics in these areas throughout the four days at the National History Museum. Pinguli says that through this initiative will be said those truths that so far have not been said  from academics-officials for various reasons.

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Pinguli said that several conferences have been made so far, but throughout about a year they have been organizing this congress, which started as a national, but turned out international because of the great interest shown from Albanians everywhere in the world. He also added that even within the country there are many scholars who are hidden in the thought that “each one thinks for himself.”

“We thought that we would expand the freedom of thought by deciding that this assembly should not have a purely scientific character, but also an encyclopedic character that paves the way to free international opinion of all the historical truths that have not been said to date,” said Pinguli who is president of the assembly.

In this assembly there will be guests who will express their opinions, even if opposed to those that are officially recognized. Pinguli mentioned that within these academic cadres there are very well-versed people, but the assembly hopes to provoke the national feeling and get their best opinion, uninspired by the famous psychological genre of being careful of what has been already said. 90 reference reporters have signed so far, which have very important theses. The Assembly will also record all academic writers or historians, history, linguistics and etymology of our country, because members of the assembly believe they are a group of people that have not been echoed almost at all.

During the assembly Pinguli thinks a few theses will be proposed, but there will be no debate about them. However, a great deal of attention will be paid especially to the theses related to the Albanian language. Two of the main theses that will be proposed will not be debated, because it is not an assembly of scientific debate, but it is an assembly of freedom of thought regarding linguistics, history and etymology. The language to date is studied language in its comparative form. The linguistic predecessors, such as Çabej, Domi, etc., without a doubt have made a great contribution to this style of discovery, although Cabej writes that “we know what we got out of the world, but we do not know what we have given the world.” On this basis, there are young scholars who see our language not only as a comparative language, produced by comparative folklore, but also as an embryonic language, in which essence is the history of languages. A second objective is that, since 1972, the Scripture Congress which is considered to be extremely important basis, has been out of attention for about 50 years. 

“The language needs to be enriched, because over 50 percent of our country is from the North. The introduction of new gege structures would enrich and make them more comprehensible by international scholars, who reach a point on language but do not go further because they do not know the rest of the language,” said Pinguli.

On the other hand the Folklore Dpt. from the Academy for Albanological Studies organized the cycle “Trage” (Trails) which aims to bring together scholars, artists, research and artistic projects that deal with different expressive forms and practices. “Trampled trails, trails slightly trampled and not at all; trails that trace how certain expressions or concepts come back into an identity and cultural emblem; sometimes in conflicts and controversies, and at times in sources of regeneration and social-cultural revitalization,” writes the Academy in its website explaining the cycle. It also adds that they are encouraged to explore the conceptual and real world links between cultural heritage, folklore, tradition and arts; the links between secular and vernacular forms of expression and understanding between cultural policies as well as research and discourse derived from folklore, ethnomusicology, linguistics, history, anthropology and audiovisual studies.

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The first discourse was held at the “Rrok Zojzi” hall of the Institute of Anthropological Culture and Art Studies. The first lecture of the “Trage” cycle was held by Prof. As. Dr. Merita Bruci on Francesco Anton Santori (1819-1894), a highly productive Arberesh writer of the 19th century, whose contribution is briefly mentioned and taken into account. Santori lived and wrote in a period when romantics of all Europe populations were given after the collection and publishing of folk songs. This spirit of time was embraced even by many Arberesh writers who managed to awaken the bonds with the land of the ancestors, as a land and a collective memory, to avoid the danger of oblivion. They developed and kept alive the Albanian identity, elaborating the means to do so. Santori, as a contemporary and cooperative with Jeronim De Rada, was unavoidably involved in this national revival project through collecting and publishing folklore. This folkloric material served him as a starting point that made many motives. These became the basis on which he made drama, tragedy and novel. Santori is the second author behind De Rada who has left a rich collection, perhaps the richest we inherit, on popular songs of the Arbresh of Italy, which is preserved in several variants. Manuscript variants are found scattered in Kozenca and Copenhagen, and some of them were presented by Dr. Bruci during the lecture. 

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                    [post_title] => Culture heritage and Albanian as a priority
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, May 9- There has been an ongoing clash between artists and government with Tirana Municipality regarding the demolition of the National Theatre in order to build a new complex with towers and perhaps a couple of other scenes within that complex. The artists deemed corruptive the giving of the concession tender to Fusha Shpk without an open competition, and thus the project remains suspended, yet, it seems as the government is pushing some buttons for the building to be ruined.

During the early hours of April 26  the letters identifying the National Theatre as such, were mysteriously removed. The building was left for two weeks with the shadow of the 14 letters in its structure. Artists and activists from the Theatre Protection Alliance have accused Prime Minister Edi Rama and Mayor Erion Veliaj on this sneaky move, however the culprit who ordered this vandalism to be committed remains unknown. 

“The National Theater facade awoke violated, stripped of its identification letters. The Theatre Protection Alliance condemns this low act and asks the Ministry of Culture to hold an immediate and public stance for what has happened and to take care that the letters be restored where they were,” the Alliance wrote on Friday (April 26).

The Ministry of Culture didn’t react on this matter until a couple of days ago when the appointed minister Elva Margariti said during a televised show at Report TV channel that according to her knowledge the letters were on the risk of collapsing, just like the building is. She also added that the National Theatre has turned into a political debate more than a question of cultural heritage, hinting that a restoration won’t fix the problems and won’t add the value of the building. Margariti is an architect by profession. 

Two weeks later the letters were restored at the same size, font and color to the building by the Alliance and its artists. During the reclamation citizens also joined and clapped after the restoration was finished. This symbolic act was done after a silence from the respective institutions, while the Alliance had filed a lawsuit in the prosecutor’s office. 

The Theater Protection Alliance made the Municipality of Tirana responsible for this action, which in one year of debate has been designated as responsible for the PPP of the theater site while its head also leads the commissions with the interest groups. According to a law remaining somewhere in the assembly offices he will also direct the commission that will make the decision to select the winning project for the new theater on the site of two old theaters and surrounding areas.

“When we pointed the finger of the accusation by the mayor of Tirana, Erion Veliaj, as the person who had ordered this act, we were not speculating. We had statements from the staff of the third shift, who told us aloud: it was the Tirana Municipality employees who came around 4.30 am and removed the letters from the facade. Now it is loud and with a figure, the devious, the maggot, the enemy of the heritage and history of Tirana, Erion Veliaj! Shame is little to be said about this unscrupulous man,” wrote in its profile the Theater Protection Alliance on April 29.

This action was carried out at a time when the protest of activists for the protection of the National Theater building continues. Some pictures from when the act was being carried out also surfaced. Meanwhile, the government stands to its decision to break this condominium. The action sparked numerous reactions from artist groups, but no response from state-run institutions. The artists on the other hand are a bit separated as some continue to stage shows at the Experimental Theatre, while others have moved to ArTurbina.

[caption id="attachment_141676" align="aligncenter" width="720"]The artists with the letters to be restored The artists with the letters to be restored[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_141677" align="aligncenter" width="900"]The ground while putting the letters back The ground while putting the letters back[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_141678" align="aligncenter" width="720"]A picture from when the letters were being removed during early morning of April 26 A picture from when the letters were being removed during early morning of April 26[/caption]
                    [post_title] => National Theatre gets its name back
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, May 2- He was a writer, journalist, translator, painter, above all sculptor. Odhise Paskali (1903-1985) however, never achieved his dream of studying sculpture despite numerous requests. He studied for philosophy and literature in Turin, Italy, and during these studies he had shown the passion for the art of sculpture. Thanks to all this expressive and creative diapers, in the early 1920s, Odhise Pascal was recognized as one of the greatest intellectuals of the time. As he published his essays in the press of time, he did not leave aside the painting and sculpture. They were distinguished for characteristic and special works, for expressive qualities that prevailed with a rare genius of solid materials, making them so beautifully readable from the eyes of everyone.

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Here, in 1924, his scarce “The hungry” sculpture would make him known as the rarest artist in his youth. After this work, he was the sculptor who was entrusted with the most important works of national value, but also of other idyllic and lyric characters. He is the author of the Çerçiz Topulli monument in Gjirokastra, and dozens of monuments of freedom fighters, such as the “National Warrior” and others that were realized before the 1940s. And after many of them, one of his masterpieces comes along, the Skanderbeg's Portrait, which is considered the most complete for the National Hero. While in the period 1932-1937, several sculptural monuments, author's works, were set up in several cities of Albania. “Flamurtari” in Vlora, “Jeronim De Rada” and “Naim Frasheri” are works by Odhise Paskali.

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But among his hundreds of creations, there are many that have disappeared. It suffices to remember the works “The hungry” and “Girl's face”, who stayed at the King Zog I Palace and then ended up in Italy. That is why the works found in the “Minerva” of June 1935 are impressive and lead us to their footsteps. It is about original, accomplished works, and today it is not known where to find it. These are works that were evaluated at the time of the realization, which also points to the undisputed talent of the greatest Albanian sculptor.

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In the “Minerva” newspaper of June 1935, the article titled “Five Works of Paskali” presents four new works, which also specify the time when the author made them, while also recognizing them with their image. More specially the article wrote about the Warrior-monument work, where only one fragment is published. 

Minerva wrote “Here below we are publishing four works by our sculptor Odhise Paskali together with the head of the Warrior who rules the main road of Korca. We are convinced that the vast majority of people who see the monument in Korca won’t fail to feel how perfect this work from Paskali is. To see all the beauty of a sculptural work, you need to know how to make a living, in other words you need to have enough artistic talent. The expression of the Warrior's face, in its entirety, is seen in the photograph we are publishing here: the object's eye of the photographer - which in this case is Odhise himself - has captured all the details of this expression. Indeed, without the shadow of the photograph, the eyes of the Warrior would not be so penetrating and so dynamic, and without the shadow seen under the nose and under the lips, the face would not have that expression of the brave and voluntary Albanian who is given after the ideal on the Creation of a Free and Independent Albania. And the Albanian Warrior who, with a rifle in his hand and giving up any good of this world, as a family, a position, a comfort, and the other, was taught by the National Cause, could not have, in the concept of an artist with talented and soulful, but this noble face, alive at times with the willpower-full-fledged dynamism and the extreme melancholy seriousness seen in the admirable work of our artist. Paskali’s Warrior perpetuates, through generations, our only national epic of pre-independence, showing us alive to the representative of the tremendous movement of idealists who worked and were sacrificed to secure the Freedom and Independence dreaming for us of the uninitiated theirs.”

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                    [post_title] => Four works of Odhise Paskali are discovered
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, May 2- Writer, professor and former Ambassador to France Ylljet Alicka has written a good many titles which have also been translated abroad, and some even adapted for theatre. One of his most renowned books is Stone Slogans has been recently translated in German by Edmond Ludwig, and published by Monda Asembleo Socia (MAS).

This book has been previously translated in French, Czech, English, and Polish. The title has been turned into film with screenplay by Alicka and directed by Gjergj Xhuvani, and has received a few awards. Respectively, the Young critics award at the Festival de Cannes in France in 2001, the Grand Prix - Golden Prize at the Tokyo International Film Festival on the same year, and in 2006 it won Best screenplay at the Albanian Film Festival by the Ministry of Culture. 

The book is a collection of short stories which “besides the simple stories of his country, Albania, under Stalinist regime of Enver Hoxha, in his stories, the author describes the equally absurd events of the post-communist transition,” as the publisher writes to the German translation’s book introduction. The book could also be defined somehow by the French translator Patrick Chrismant who said that Aliçka writes at a time when the dreams of a just and unclassified society has collapsed, the dream of perpetuating dizziness towards a hateful economic system for a half-century, and the dream of an accelerated integration into the Euro-Atlantic political and military community.

Thirteen stories from where you realize that ideology is just an empty shell. Along the Party's nightmare, and under the liberal anarchy that replaced it, remains the same moral disintegration that devalishes the characters of Alicka. This is absurd with all its forms that leads stealthily to disgrace. The stories are the bearers of an Orwellian spirit which shows the authenticity of the Balkan region, and they are also viewed as a memory of the past and a warning to those societies where the government’s control over language is growing. Alicka’s message recalls that if we are to be upheld by propaganda, we have lost our own tune.

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The writer is largely appraised for the subtle workmanship and for his astonishingly surprising and humorous mood, Aliçka gives all the countries of the world a clear insight into the gloom of life during the communist dictatorship in his homeland. Mylada Jedrysik from “Gazeta Wyborcza” in Warsaw has written that “soon, Alicka is turning into one of the most prominent narratives of post-communism. For human weaknesses and attitude towards power, Alicka tells about Albania more than all that has been published in Poland. Everything can happen under his pen.”

Ylljet Alicka received the “Doctor of Didactic Sciences” degree in 1989 and was awarded the title of “Doctor Professor” in 1993. He has completed his professional duties as a teacher in the villages of the district of Mat from 1973-1983. He has also been editor and director at the School Book Publishing House from 1983-1992; Director of Foreign Relations at the Ministry of Culture from 1992-1997. He has been responsible for information and communication at the Delegation of the European Commission in Tirana from 1997-2007; the Ambassador of Albania to France, Portugal, Monaco, UNESCO, and the personal representative of the President of the Republic of France at the International Francophone Organization during 2007-2013. He has been a Professor at the European University of Tirana and at the University of Arts since 2013.

Alicka has also won a number of awards in literature, the First prize at the International competition of short stories in Teramo, Italy in 1999; the Bronze Medal by the International Academy of Lutece in Paris in 2000; the Second prize at the International competition “Arts et lettres de France” in Bordeaux in 2000; the silver medal in prose by the Albanian Ministry of Culture in 2001; the Prix de la francophonie by the Albanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2002; the Best novel of the year by KULT prizes in Tirana in 2007; the Special prize by VII Premio Letterario Nazionale “Libri Editi” in Rome in 2009; and the Silver medal in prose for Valsi i lumturisë by the Albanian Ministry of Culture in 2013.
                    [post_title] => Ylljet Alicka translates renowned book in German
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                    [post_date] => 2019-04-29 13:31:33
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                    [post_content] => By Sonja Methoxha

A buoyant lady extends her hand to me in a firm handshake, which means she is reliable, and starts talking as if she already knew me for a while. She does not speak Albanian very well, as she left the country with her mother in 1939, when she was five, and returning to her home-country became possible only in 1993.

World War II and Enver Hoxha’s communist regime of 40 years meant a whole lot of changes for Albania. She always wondered as to what had happened to the country during that time.  Even though she missed Albania and Tirana only through her vague memories, her return had a deeper purpose: to carry on a legacy. In 1996 she opened in Tirana the Martin & Mirash Ivanaj Institute, a foundation to serve education and culture for Albanian pupils and students.

Drita Ivanaj is the only heir to these two Ivanaj brothers. Her father, Martin Ivanaj, was ultimately Chief of the Supreme Court of Albania. Starting off as a lawyer in Korca and then briefly in Shkodra, he established the first modern Civil and Penal Codes for the judicial system in Albania, rendered many judgments in a variety of fields, and started a collection of legal documents contained in over 20 manuscripts intended to be published after his retirement. Unfortunately, after the Italian invasion of Albania in 1939, followed by World War II, and the Albanian dictatorship, these precious documents were pilfered and disappeared together with the considerable collection of 16,600 books of the Ivanajs’ private library.

Drita’s uncle, Mirash Ivanaj, after graduating with two degrees from the University of Rome (‘La Sapienza’ of today), started his career as a teacher, who became also headmaster of the high school “28 Nentori” (November 28) in Shkodra. During the 1930s King Zog asked him to serve as Minister of Public Education. The King knew that the Ivanaj brothers, and especially Mirash, did not agree with his ruling, “but you [Mirash] are the only one I can trust to give a valid contribution to our country”.  So Mirash opened the first public schools in Albania, known as the Ivanaj Reform of 1936. He later resigned from this position, as his reforms created a lot of opposition due to the educational standards he sought to apply throughout the Albanian educational system.

Large portraits of her family members adorn one of Drita’s office walls, where she has a large desk, a work table for holding meetings, and a setup of chairs and coffee table to share with visitors some relaxing moments. The corridor outside her office is filled with display cabinets, in which various items of her past are exhibited, such as some of her father’s and uncle’s documents, old photos, a family tree, objects and mementos inherited from her relatives on both maternal and paternal sides. The paternal family tree shows ancestors since 1444, during Skanderbeg’s era, while her maternal heritage, dating back to 1664, includes prelates, and distinguished society members, such as Lady Collins, her maternal grandmother’s aunt, who was Lady in Waiting to Queen Victoria in London.

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The Ivanaj Foundations of New York and Tirana that Drita founded, are lodged and occupy an entire floor in the new building complex located in the heart of Tirana e Re that includes offices and training rooms, a full size Library suitable for study and research, a Conference room with telecommunication facilities, and a large hall (Salla Ivanaj) for special events, and social activities. The overall setting of this Institute is a well-lit and technically equipped environment, with spacious areas, and comfortable climate conditions that contribute to a quiet and relaxed atmosphere for visitors and occupants alike. The land on which this complex was recently erected (and completed in 2017), belonged to Drita’s family, and included the residence that her father and uncle built when they returned from their studies in Italy and settled back in their country. The original 2-story villa of the Ivanajs was first confiscated and became the headquarter of the Italian occupying forces during WWII. Later on it was seized and used by the communist regime for a variety of purposes, such as the National Informative Service (SHIK), and as a bureau and depot at the service of the Guards of the Republic.

Drita started the proceedings of retrieving her properties in 1995, but could only set foot back into them in 2009, after indescribable hurdles of all sorts.

“When I finally entered into my property that was stripped of everything, I saw they had removed even the toilets,” says Drita in amazement.

Drita happened to be born in Italy, but from Albanian parents, and thus always had Albanian nationality. Her mother was Italian and met her future husband, Martin, while studying in Rome. Her father, however, had promised his in-laws to have their daughter return for visits, after their wedding since they had to reside in Albania. Her mother also acquired Albanian citizenship by marriage. Mirash on the other hand remained unmarried throughout his life since the woman he loved untimely passed away from natural causes at a young age.

So, they all settled in Tirana where the Ivanaj brothers built their residence. Drita recounts with a smile that Tirana had only 30 thousand residents back in the 30s, and in the area of Tirana e Re where she lived then there were only three villas.

“I was raised here, in this particular lot of land where now you see the garden of this complex,” says Drita, but, after the first 5 years, and the development of WWII, she lived in Italy with her mother for the next 12 years, where she grew up and finished her initial studies.

On Apr. 7, 1939, the Italians invaded Tirana. There was a turmoil in the city, no one knew what was happening on that day, and most left to return at later times. Her father and uncle were also involved in trying to figure out what was going on in various state offices, and at the end of that day they also left the country and ultimately reached Istanbul.

Drita and her mother never saw them again. Her father died 14 months later in an Istanbul hospital from a kidney infection, whereas her uncle returned to Albania six years later at the end of WWII. Enver Hoxha was ruling the country by then. Mirash was allowed to resume his teaching profession, while he was in the process of getting back the Ivanaj residence that, by them was housing 10 other families. He lived in one small room of it with a single bed, table and chair. Mirash was also asked to be politically involved, but he refused, and months later one night he was arrested.

While he was Minister of Public Education he had granted former dictator Hoxha a scholarship for his studies in France. But after three years Mirash cut the funds, as Hoxha was failing his exams, and spending his money on women and entertainment.

A senseless trial process was held against Mirash by the government, as versus many other persons then. Mirash was tortured for several months prior to his trial, and then he was absurdly accused and condemned for being an enemy of Albania due to alleged collaboration with Americans. He was thus convicted to prison for seven years. At sentencing time when the judge asked his reaction, Mirash replied with a question that became the quote that shaped the nature of a 40 year long dictatorship and suffering of the Albanian people: “Is there a law that has a power over one’s thought?” He was allowed a letter a month, with which he kept contact with Drita and her mother. Correspondence was of course censored, Drita says, but it was enough to just keep some sort of contact. Only 12 days prior to his release, Mirash died due to unspecified stomach and intestinal complications.

By the time Mirash died the first medical school had opened in Tirana. The bodies of the deceased prisoners were given to this faculty to conduct autopsies for anatomical studies since there were not provided with any other practical teaching methods in the laboratories. However, she recalls in gratitude that the medical students refused to touch the body of her uncle Mirash.

Although Drita lived with her father and uncle for only five years of her life, she inherited their intellect, strength, will, and dedication. Martin and Mirash were the youngest children among eight in the family. Having lost both their parents at a young age, they only had each other, when they studied abroad. They, however, constantly sustained themselves, having each other’s back. They were prolific writers, were actively involved in students’ organizations and excelled in everything they did.

When Drita left for Italy, she had only her mother, who was the one to pass along to her family history and education. She constantly reminded her that “life is the ultimate school”, and Drita learned the lessons well.

She first completed her studies in Italy receiving a Baccalaureate Degree in Science. In 1951 she and her mother emigrated to the USA, and settled in Manhattan. Drita was left alone when her mother passed away eight years later; nevertheless, through her fierceness and the many experiences she had overcome, Drita managed to outplay life in her own way, and today she runs two educational and cultural foundations with inestimable heart.

Drita received also a Baccalaureate Degree of Art in New York. She attended the IBM Systems Science Institute, and took a variety of other courses, for which she obtained specializations in Business Management, Information Systems, Computer Operations, Tactical and Strategic Planning.

Her first career was in business management. She managed the representative office of the Italian FIAT conglomerate in the USA for 15 years, way before the company started importing cars into that continent. She directed large contracts administration to provide specialized materials produced in the USA, but needed for the manufacturing of equipment in Italy that served other European countries, and even a new car factory built in Russia. For all this work she dealt with large contractors in the USA, such as General Motors, Lockheed, Boeing, Budd etc., and handled the purchases and shipments overseas of what eventually went into the production of equipment servicing the fields of aviation, naval engines, railroad cars, trucks, etc. Later on she also took care of setting up the launching of cars importing, and established car rental plans for American tourists that wanted to visit Italy. During the 15 years in this business, Drita also diversified her learning by taking evening classes in a variety of subjects, eventually zeroing in the then emerging computer industry.

In the mid 1960’s she took a course in data processing and software programming. She blithely recalls how her class included 15 people, all of whom wanted to start a better job, while she already had a good one in management, but was seeking instead a change in her career path.

“I am of those people that when I make a plan, I also have a backup one in case the first does not work out, so I am prepared for what to do next. I also take full responsibility for my actions and decisions”,   Drita adds in a serious manner, and, thus, she explains how, among six different offers that became available to her at that time, she accepted a job opportunity in data processing at Columbia University, where she continued the rest of her Information Systems career until retirement.

When Drita came on board, Columbia had six large mainframes, dedicated to academia work and research, but no administrative digitized systems to manage 10,000 employees (at different level of service, from professors and lecturers to gardeners, janitors, security personnel, etc.), plus thousands of students and alumni, numerous department faculties and their administrative staff, payroll processing, and financial reporting.

Drita’s business background and her years-long experience in management gave her an advantage in achieving the objectives set for the computerization of administrative systems, and, within 6 months of her new employment at Columbia, she was promoted Project Manager and brought to successful conclusion several large applications and related computerized systems that affected several departments across the University Campus. The complexity of the things she managed and solved gave her the reputation of a problem-solver.

At Columbia she dealt with telecommunications, had access to operational hardware, interacted with academia, dealt with and supported the administration in a variety of ways. She also managed the renovation of the university’s main computer center (a 70 million dollar installation at the time), provided technical assistance and management consulting to students, colleagues and department members, and handled a data processing reorganization on campus that involved more than 120 individuals. She compiled procedural manuals for administrative staff, and in 1985 introduced computer security on campus, for which she also wrote a newsletter, and conducted specific training. “When I hear today about computer security issues, it makes me laugh,” says Drita, who thinks of herself now as a dinosaur in the field.

During her career at Columbia (over 22 years in 9 different positions) she was a member of several systems organizations and associations, for which she held office and organized meetings, trainings and courses, and annually participated in their variety of seminars, assemblies, and conferences.

Throughout her working careers, thoughts of Albania resurfaced from time to time. In 1975 she decided to visit Turkey to retrace where her father and uncle had been and where her father was buried since 1940.  She sifted through old correspondence to find names and addresses, where her uncle lived and she confesses that her visit there was one of the most emotional episodes in her life. Her uncle had left two sealed packages of documents for her with some local acquaintances, not knowing whether she would able to ever fetch them.

Once she arrived in Istanbul she visited the cemetery where her father was buried, paid the overdue rent she had no knowledge had accumulated for it there, and the whole visit turned out to be a greatly moving experience.  She found a beautiful headstone with two inscripted lines in Albanian for which she needed help in translation. The cemetery office staff put her in contact with an Albanian journalist, whose last name was Prodani. On the phone he asked her who she was. When he found out she was Drita Ivanaj, he insisted in meeting her that evening at 6 p.m. in the lobby of the Hilton hotel where she was staying. She recalls a mature gentleman coming in, about 20 meters away, who, after spotting her, walked toward her and said: “You are Drita Ivanaj. You are the spit image of your father!” - laughs Drita.

The journalist, however, soon became very emotional and the next day took her to the ex-consul of Albania in Turkey, who, he knew, had the packages that her uncle Mirash had left for her. From them she found out many details and some mementos, how her uncle had gone to Jerusalem to help his friend, Qemal Butka, a former mayor of Tirana, and how he had traveled to support other Albanians during his stay in Turkey. Some clues that relate to her uncle’s trial later on in Albania also surfaced from the content of these packages.
Many years later, in 1995, she was able to bring her father’s remains home in Albania and buried him beside her uncle.

The first time she returned to Albania was in 1993. The communist regime was overthrown by protesting students in 1991, the borders opened to allow free movement of domestic citizens and Albanians who had left the country years ago, and democracy was emerging. Former Prime Minister and founder (also former leader) of the Democratic Party, Sali Berisha, was serving in office as President of Albania in 1993. A number of all democracy martyrs of the country, were granted by him posthumous decorations in November 1992. At that time the government had organized such a ceremony in Shkodra and, as Drita later found out, Mirash Ivanaj was the first in that list of awards, as the father of Albania’s public school system. But Drita, the only living heir of him, was living, uninformed, in New York and thus no family member was present to accept such a reward.

Drita thankfully recalls: “In 1993 someone came looking for me in New York knowing that I existed, but nobody knew where I was. So I came to Albania in May 1993, and they redid the entire ceremony for me in Shkodra in the fall of that year. Then, I had the unexpected great pleasure and the honor of meeting some of my uncle’s ex students who were then 85 years old. I was amazed as to what they remembered from their life as students in his time.”

When Drita returned in 1993 she was amazed about how many people knew of and greatly regarded her family. She learned from them many details that she was not aware of. Former students of her uncle shared their memories with her, and during the ceremony held in Shkodra she also learned how her uncle had built the first sports field in Albania.

Over the years she was disappointed in learning how many people have used surviving documents of her family for their political purposes, and pilfered some of them from national archives. Explicit handwritten note appended by her uncle to private documents: “not to be made public unless specifically approved by my niece Drita”, were totally disregarded and abused.  She had the nerve to face these situations and exposed who had no right to such mishandling and used the Ivanaj name for their own political purposes.

Meantime, a long term family friend, historian Sherif Delvina, when he found that Drita returned to Albania, conducted on his own, unsolicited research in the National Archives, and collected several hundred judgments and legal documents bearing the signature of Martin Ivanaj which he put at Drita’s disposal, soliciting her to publish them one day.

The disappointing and unacceptable experiences indicated above brought to light several issues and the fact that especially students of jurisprudence do not have much documentation from the past that they can study and use as reference in the solution of today legal cases. This means that they don’t have an archive of past similar cases and thus have no precedence they can rely upon. And this was confirmed to her by lawyers she has dealt with and students of law, who admit hardship in this achievement.

Drita stands firmly as an individual that believes in fundamental transparency of actions and justice, and situations such as the ones she was involved with and subjected to, are unacceptable and must be fought. This is one of the reasons why Drita thinks the past is so important, because one can learn from it, avoid the traps of similar mistakes, and learn how to cope with certain similar situations. ‘If there is no precedence, one cannot know something has happened before, and wheels have to be reinvented…..that is why it is so important to learn the past, in order to build the future” says Drita.

And her past is what has brought her back and she is here today. She established the Ivanaj Foundation first in New York in 1995 and the Ivanaj Foundation Institute in Tirana in 1996 for the advancement of Albanian education and culture. It took her more than a quarter of a century of persistent hard work and faith in her vision to build these institutions that carry on the legacy her family left. She admits being amazed by what she has achieved. Since she is still working and putting every bit of energy in the path she is pursuing, she doesn’t have time to contemplate about her past, and on what she did to make all this happen. “But I feel happy that at least I’ve reached these results so far,” Drita cheerfully comments.

She hopes her work will remain and continue to be expanded also after she will be gone. She says she is trying to set up whatever exists in such a way that it will perpetuate the scope and the goal that the Ivanaj brothers had worked for throughout their lives for the benefit of their country, for which she also feels strongly about, as they did.

Drita always wanted to return to Albania and establish an Ivanaj Foundation. Coincidentally, many years after she did, she found, mentioned in a document her uncle left, that he had expressed the wish that his niece would establish one day a foundation on her father’s name. She dedicated her work to both of them, for the positive impact they had on Albania in the past, but also to her life indirectly, as a message of strength and love for one’s country and people. She took early retirement to dedicate her full time to this path. The foundation in New York serves the purpose of fundraising among foreign donors and Albanian ethnics, born and raised in the US for many generations, to carry out programs and projects in Albania and surrounding neighboring countries.

She does not have children of her own, but she wants to leave this portion of contribution for the youth of Albania to use. The various trainings and workshops the Ivanaj Institute in Tirana has organized have brought so far many positive results and smiles on children, both for providing better learning practices and teaching them something new, but also for establishing stronger communities. She has perceived the kids always being ready to interact and the parents being more than grateful for their children to be able to spend time in something useful, engaging, and fun. This has proven to Drita that her investment in Albania is having a positive effect in the changes that are ongoing and will continue in one of the youngest countries in the world, thanks to its youth.

“We need fresh blood, a blood which doesn’t carry the problematics of the past, but knows the values of its past and thus should and can create a better future for itself,” she declares in hopeful tone.

Regardless of some issues that Albania is facing right now, such as the justice reform which might take a while, but will certainly give constructive future results, or the institutional bureaucracies and complexities that do need reforms to better serve the country, or the heartbreaking brain drainage that has affected the country, but could be reversed, Drita feels that Albania also has a host of other valuable assets to offer. Our country has many beautiful resources and not only natural ones. We are living in a world of transformation, which indeed provides many challenges, but, she says, life is a school and we should not be indifferent. We should be open to learning and take the lead ourselves; start working and collaborating with each other as a single entity and not as separate units.

“Democracy is freedom, but that implies self-discipline of actions, while the key to success are coordination and organization,” is Drita’s concluding statement.

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Note: this article is a suggested edit by the MMIFI press office, thus appears different from print
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            [post_content] => TIRANA, May 23- The second edition of the International Puppet Festival returns to the Metropol Theater scene on May 25 to June 1. Troops with a long tradition in this theater genre such as China, Spain, Italy, Mexico, Poland, Israel, and England, will entertaining both children and all age groups. Albania is represented with two shows “Where the mountain meet the moon” written by Grace Lin, and the musical show “Goodwill” by Elona Hyseni. 

This second edition is organised by Tirana’s Metropol Theater in cooperation with Klau's Film Association. Armela Demaj who is Artistic Director at Metropol Theater said that a second edition which includes international troops is brought for the public follow last year’s success, where the shows were organized in two different locations within the Metropol Theater and at the Skanderbeg Square. One of the festival organizers explained how the selection of works was done and the plays chosen to be performed are so different from one-another, both from the content and techniques. Director Klajdi Ymeri said this confrontation serves not only to the public but also to the artists. 

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