Human-rights related “Movies That Matter” week marks tenth anniversary

Human-rights related “Movies That Matter” week marks tenth anniversary

Another year marked the annual tradition launched by the Embassy of Netherlands in Albania for holding the event Movies That Matter, corresponding to human rights issues. This year was the tenth anniversary of the event, which symbolically started on Dec.

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Convergence at Kalo gallery

Convergence at Kalo gallery

Galeria Kalo, a new emerging private arts gallery in Tirana where one can appreciate great pieces of artwork by Albanian renowned artists, including works of ambitious young modern artists, and international artists too. The Gallery promotes visual art through exhibitions

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Pan-National musical competition ends

Pan-National musical competition ends

On Apr. 2018 the Ministry of Culture opened the Pan-National Competition for Musical Composition for the genres of opera, ballet, and musical. The theme was concerning the figure of Skanderbeg, since 2018 was declared the year of Skanderbeg as it

Read Full Article
High school students exhibit ‘Identity’

High school students exhibit ‘Identity’

Students from the World Academy of Tirana have opened an arts exhibition titled ‘Identity’ at Tirana Youth Center. Students from the 10th, 11th and 12th grades that took the Visual Art class, created 35 various art pieces for the project

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State archive introduces restoration lab

State archive introduces restoration lab

The Albanian General Directorate of Archive has introduced on Monday Dec. 17 the newly constructed Central Laboratory of Restoration. This lab seeks to become a local and regional structure for the restoration of old archived documents. The laboratory was introduced

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Albanian-Chinese relations come with a new vitality

Albanian-Chinese relations come with a new vitality

Her Excellency Jiang Yu, the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Albania is ending her mission soon, leaving behind a progressive work in our country and developing the relations between Albania and China since she took office in

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Albania:  a nation of poets

Albania: a nation of poets

At the European Capital Strasbourg, was held from Nov. 19-24 the annual World Meeting of Poetry organised by the Mots-Arts Association in collaboration with the European Council. The event held at the Municipality of the city and hosted by Strasbourg

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‘From Austria with love’’ – a postcard literature

‘From Austria with love’’ – a postcard literature

One of the most notable and successful activities during the Austrian cultural year in Albania, resulted to be the one of literary postcards undertitled ‘’From Austria with love.’’ This activity brought to the Albanian readers some of the most renowned

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A friend to Albania sends greetings

A friend to Albania sends greetings

A professor of German to Elmira College in New York, Carrie Hooper, sends her greetings to Albania through the Voice of America for Balkans by singing the Albanian national anthem. Hooper is a connoisseur of six foreign languages, among which

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The ‘Sleepwalkers’ of Lek Gjeloshi

The ‘Sleepwalkers’ of Lek Gjeloshi

Zeta Gallery will be organizing a solo photo exhibition by artist Lek Gjeloshi, which opens in Dec. 14 at 7:30 p.m., and will remain open for the public until Jan. 10, 2019. Gjeloshi is a young emerging visual artist from

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                    [post_content] => Another year marked the annual tradition launched by the Embassy of Netherlands in Albania for holding the event Movies That Matter, corresponding to human rights issues. This year was the tenth anniversary of the event, which symbolically started on Dec. 10, the Human Rights Day.This event in Tirana is a derivative from the annual Movies That Matter event about human rights which takes place in the Netherlands. 

Five different movies were screened by different civil society organizations and educational institutions in Tirana and Fier. The films are human rights issues, peace and freedom followed by a discussion panel. 

The mission of Movies that Matter is to open people’s eyes to human rights through film. Moving images can create insight into human rights with their emotional and immediate impact, and encourage dialogue about it.

The festival consists of two main programs, one is the Activist (previously as A Matter of ACT), on human rights defenders, in partnership with Amnesty International, and the other is Camera Justitia, made possible by the vfonds foundation, which focuses on the importance of the rule of law, the ongoing fight against impunity, and related topics. 

The film screenings in Albania were from Dec. 10 until 17, and started and ended with the film The Poetess. The screened films are described as below:

The Poetess is a film documentary about  Hissa Hilal, a 43 –year-old woman from Saudi Arabia, who achieved international fame after being the only female in a televised talent competition for Arabic poets. Her poetry is controversial: she criticizes extremist fatwas and is an advocate of women’s rights. Based on talks with Hissa and TV clips from the show, the documentary paints a picture of Saudi society; how public life changed drastically for women over the years due to increasing strictness and increasingly extreme religious rules and regulations.

Jaha’s Promise is a documentary about the life and activism of Jaha Dukureh, a Gambian anti-female genital mutilation campaigner who returns to her country of birth to confront the harmful tradition that she and 200 million women and girls have undergone globally. This practice has mostly occurred in war prevailing countries in Africa, Middle East and Asia.

Mr. Gay Syria follows two gay Syrian refugees who are trying to rebuild their lives. Husein is a barber in Istanbul, living a double life between his conservative family and his gay identity. Mahmoud is the founder of Syria's LGBTI movement and is a refugee in Berlin. The dream to participate in an international beauty contest as an escape from their trapped lives and an answer to their invisibility is what brings these two men together. 

Joshua: Teenager vs Superpower is about teenager Joshua Wong who decides to save his city when the Chinese Communist Party backtracks on its promise of autonomy to Hong Kong. Rallying thousands of kids to skip school and occupy the streets, Joshua becomes an unlikely leader in Hong Kong and one of China's most notorious dissidents.

Truth Detectives, an interesting documentary about human rights activists, journalists and lawyers globally who collect evidence of human rights violations with the help of victims. Using mobile devices to film and photograph their experiences, they become digital witnesses. Amateur videos of bombs exploding, people being abused or even shot dead are distributed almost in real time via social media. Digital investigators use various forensic methods, from internet tracking to DNA analysis, to analyse and verify this deluge of images, supporting them with other evidence and scientific expertise. These criminological investigations have only one purpose: to bring to justice those who violate human rights.
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                    [post_content] => Galeria Kalo, a new emerging private arts gallery in Tirana where one can appreciate great pieces of artwork by Albanian renowned artists, including works of ambitious young modern artists, and international artists too. The Gallery promotes visual art through exhibitions of artworks which are sponsored and supported by various entities, mainly from the Fondacioni Kalo (Kalo Foundation) and its partners. 

The gallery wants to give its contribution in educating the society, especially the youth, with the art values and improvement of fine arts legal framework, and the establishment of an art market in Albania. So far, it has made a great presence in the contemporary Albanian art scene with various exhibitions.

The gallery participated at the International Contemporary Art Fair in Thessaloniki, which took place at Thessaloniki from Nov. 22-25, 2018. In the Fair participated 26 galleries, Albania represented by Galeria Kalo with five contemporary and modern art pieces from Albanian artists. The pieces included two sculptures and three paintings which will be exhibited at the space of Galeria Kalo on Dec. 21, 2018 at 6 p.m., remaining open to the public until Jan. 31, 2019. 

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                    [post_title] => Convergence at Kalo gallery
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                    [post_content] => On Apr. 2018 the Ministry of Culture opened the Pan-National Competition for Musical Composition for the genres of opera, ballet, and musical. The theme was concerning the figure of Skanderbeg, since 2018 was declared the year of Skanderbeg as it coincided with his 550th anniversary of death. 

The application deadline was by Oct. 10, however the Ministry postponed this date a few times so more composers and works could participate in the competition. Yet, the contest was left with the initial three competitors, Vasil Tole with his opera ‘’Skanderbeg: Suzerain of Arberia’’ from Fan Noli’s book, Fatos Qerimaj with his ballet ‘’Skanderbegian Eho’’ adapted from Petrit Ruka’s book, and Jetmir Zaganjoni with ‘’Balkan Express Ballet’’ based on Stefan Capaliku’s libretto. 

The lack of participation shows two sides of the story. One of them obviously is that there is a lack of genuine Albanian composers in the operatic scene. Tole said that there are only a few composers, while Qerimaj said there are fewer certified, institutional pieces. This can come due to the time consuming process and lack of funding from the corresponding institutions. 

The lack of competitors showed the other side of the coin, which implies that this sort of competition is time consuming, requires commitment and professionalism. But it was also noticed a lack of motivating politics and support from the corresponding institutions and the state. The contest itself shouldn’t stand as the only motivating activity for musical composition. So, in that sense it portrays the lack of interest from the Culture Ministry and other state institutions for this cultural aspect of Albania. 

Tole won the first award for the genre of opera, Qerimaj the first place for ballet, and Zaganjori was given the Encouraging award for his ballet piece. The contemporary Albanian musical repertoire for opera and ballet is now expanded by the contribution of the aforementioned composers. 

‘’In his [Skanderbeg] 550th anniversary of death, I ascertain that in our musical tradition we don’t have one piece in which honors the memory of Skanderbeg, our national hero, as it is in European traditions where such personalities are honored in great musical pieces dedicated just for them,’’ said Tole regarding the event and its theme. 

The awarding process happened on Dec. 14, when the pieces were partially performed for the jury and public. The full performances will take place on years 2019 and 2020. The jury was formed by Thomas Simaku, Nicole LeFanu dhe Pedro Amaral.
                    [post_title] => Pan-National musical competition ends
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                    [post_date] => 2018-12-19 16:39:23
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                    [post_content] => Students from the World Academy of Tirana have opened an arts exhibition titled ‘Identity’ at Tirana Youth Center. Students from the 10th, 11th and 12th grades that took the Visual Art class, created 35 various art pieces for the project led by their teacher Ervin Dauti.

The students were approached to various styles of visual art creation in their class. The exhibition displays original work from the students using different techniques of drawing, paintings, photography, installation and mixed techniques. 

They sought to treat the theme of identity in diverse creative perspectives, dealing with relevant subjects as status, rediscovery, dilemmas, role models, changes, insecurities, etc.. More than focusing on the object of expression however, the students paid attention to focus more on their presented concepts. 

Transparency is a repeated element from the exhibition, which also implies its importance. There are transparent curtains separating the stage where the art pieces are dispersed within the vast space. The works can be thus seen in focus, but also allowing a personal relationship to be created with them, which is relevant to the concepts in portraying the contrast between individuality and interpersonal relationship. 

A piece of art on the display is ‘’With open wings’’ by Dea Bylykbashi, a 10th grader. Dea settled for a mixed technique to convey the message of her work, as previous sketches and trials failed to grasp her thoughts. The 200 wing feathers are hand made of paper, on which Dea has written words and thoughts that express her inner world and personality. The background blue represents the outer world as she sees it, the light color chosen to enhance the focus on the main figure which is preparing to depart in flight. 

Another work is an acrylic painting from student Andi Mane titled ‘’Father and Son.’’ The painting depicts two figures opposite the other in front of a mirror, the element of mirrored reflection used to emphasize Andi’s idea. Andi was inspired by Rene Magritte for the style of the painting, and his idea is that the paternal figure is an important model in shaping the child’s personality. 

A japanese saying has it that humans have three faces, one face they show the world, one face they show their closest circle, and one face they show to no one. This identity battle is experienced even in the daily mood swings, the differing versions of the being met by various individuals. One day we’re the happiest, the next we reflect negativity, another one we are outstandingly motivated. 

But just as you cannot choose a favorite painting from a set, in the same sense you cannot choose the best version of a person, because all these personality canvases represent the identity. Gisela Mecaj has tried to introduce her idea in three acrylic paintings, where she is each of them, and none of the canvases. All or nothing.

Visual arts exhibitions are an essential part of the educative program at the World Academy of Tirana. The students have an opportunity to depict their creativity and nature in front of an audience. The purpose of the exhibitions and other artistic activities is to encourage the students in getting familiar with all the necessary creative steps needed until the point of exhibition and public display. 

The World Academy of Tirana is a public school that offers an educative program for children aged from three until nineteen. It is part of the International Baccalaureate, an international education foundation that focuses on creating on teaching students to think critically and independently, and how to inquire with care and logic. 

WAT wants to cultivate internationally-minded students who connect their acquired knowledge to action in the real world, and to inspire children to become active, compassionate, lifelong learners who can relate harmoniously with other people and cultures. WAT offers an international curriculum taught in English, for children of many nationalities. The school community consists of the students, teaching and support staff, administration, parents, and the Board of Governors.

 

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                    [post_content] => The Albanian General Directorate of Archive has introduced on Monday Dec. 17 the newly constructed Central Laboratory of Restoration. This lab seeks to become a local and regional structure for the restoration of old archived documents. 

The laboratory was introduced by director of State Archives Ardit Bido, who said that the purpose of the lab will amount to preservation, recovery, rehabilitation, reclamation and rescue of the damaged documents. This is for the physical and esthetical securing and improving of the important, cultural and historical documents.

‘’In the priorities that exist at the Archive are of course  the oldest documents, which are towards their final degradation, with national historical significance, due to their specifics and are the first where the work will start with,’’ said Bido. 

The project comes from a collaboration between the Albanian and the Kosovo State Archives with state funding. The laboratory will be making the restoration of Kosovo’s documents, as half of the documentation there remains damaged, as claimed by Ram Manaj, the General Director of Kosovo’s Archive. 

‘’There are around four thousand damaged papers. An unregulated quantity which scale of damage we don’t know, but there is a damage scale, and a request for documentation,’’ said Manaj. 

Bido said that a laboratory has existed within the State Archive Directory, however it was lacking in professional and proper tools. This lab produced weak repairing and led to further damaging of the documents, as a paper would require multiple rehabilitations which thus damaged the text and document. 

Except proper rehabilitation tools, this lab lacked the proper preservation conditions and spaces for the newly restored pieces, and the already existing documents. Bido said that along with the lack of training of the employees this has led to slow restoration processes and countless of documents to end up damaged due to lack of care. 

Not only a priority will be put to proper preservation conditions, but so far five restorators that will be working with the documents of the Albanian State Archive and other countries, have received a traineeship in Turkey. 

‘’This investment for the updated working equipment and tools, and most of all for the traineeship of the employees at the best foreign labs, enables an opened path for both Albanian historically significant documents, but also to those of the diaspora,’’ said Bido.
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                    [post_date] => 2018-12-14 12:00:56
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                    [post_content] => Her Excellency Jiang Yu, the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Albania is ending her mission soon, leaving behind a progressive work in our country and developing the relations between Albania and China since she took office in 2015. 

Three main points highlight the progress of the relations; first regards the political leadership which has given a positive impulse to the bilateral relations by strengthening the reciprocal political faith through various high level meetings. This has led to exchanges between the legislative institutions and political parties, which on their hand have allowed communications and learning platforms and mutual collaboration interest on the heritage of the traditional friendship shared.

The second point was that of the pragmatic collaboration. Her Excellency said that in the last three years 28 collaboration documents in 17 different fields have been signed between the two countries. The first meeting of the eco-trade Mutual Commission between the two countries has been held, which has turned to the highest platform on the communication of policies and cooperation expansion. 

In 2017 the overall direct foreign investment from China amounted to $800 million, which makes the partner country the main foreign investment source for Albania. China is still the number one trade partner to Albania, the trade volume having increased by 18 percent.

智库负责人5(ambasadore me perfaqesuesit e Think-tankeve Shqiptare)

 

Previous cooperation in the fields of energy, transport and minerals have brought more positive outcomes, and the new points of cooperation are focusing on tourism, human resources and agriculture. 

Regarding tourism, her Excellency mentioned how Albania removed the visas for Chinese citizens for the summer of 2018 and this led to an increase of incoming tourists by 64 percent.

The third point Miss Jiang Yu wanted to stress was the friendship between the two nations which lead to further, stronger cooperation between the countries. Human and cultural exchange is increasing, and an agreement for the establishment of the Chinese Cultural Center in Albania is signed to strengthen this cultural exchange among the people. The language lessons on both countries is on the rise and universities have signed agreements for student exchanges and collaboration. 

Exchanges and collaborations are increasing among local power too, with various cities and provinces having reached a sort of twining. More exchange is also on the level of think-tanks, media, radio, television and youth giving the relations a new positive shift and impact. 

This increased cooperation comes from the wide consensus of friendship through the centuries between the two nations, which is based in the deep foundations of the public volition of the two countries. Also by holding solid the overall course, the Albanian-Chinese relations are treated in the framework of the Chinese-European relations. 

This cooperation follows the general trend allowed by the 16+1 Initiative and the ‘’One  Belt, One Road’’ Initiative, and moreover it becomes concrete and deepened by the various agreements of collaboration, which seek to bring fruitful volatilities in the bilateral relations. 

As her Excellency leaves office, she seems positive of the future cooperation between Albania and China, as it is a mutual interests benefit for both countries that this friendship is maintained. She said that China is ready to work with Albania in establishing a new consensus, collect new stimulating energies, to strengthen the political faith and communication, to deepen and expand the pragmatic collaboration, to consolidate the friendship basis, and inspire a full potential of cooperation which would bring the Albania-China relations to higher levels. 

‘’I want to express my warmest gratitude to the media and friends from various Albanian districts for their support and help in fulfilling my duty. Wherever I am, as always, I will take care and support the course of Albania-China friendship, and give it my potential contribute,’’ concluded her Excellency, Ambassador Jiang Yu.  

4 阿中友好协会文化协会成员(ambasadore me perfaqesuesit e Shoqates se Kultures Shqiperi-Kine, dhe Shoqates se Miqesise Shqiperi-Kine

 

 

Note: The article was updated due to wrongfully assumed ''One Belt, One Road'' as ''One Generation, One Path''. Thank you Embassy of People's Republic of China for pointing out the mistake.
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                    [post_date] => 2018-12-14 10:33:25
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                    [post_content] => At the European Capital Strasbourg, was held from Nov. 19-24 the annual World Meeting of Poetry organised by the Mots-Arts Association in collaboration with the European Council. The event held at the Municipality of the city and hosted by Strasbourg University professor Enrique Uribe, gathered poets, writers, scholars and researchers, professors and publishers from five continents in a conference titled ‘’Poetry, what do you have to tell us?’’.

MEP_02_Mail

The forum was organized in various panels with its speakers. Along with poets, publishers, professors, etc., were also librarians, students and pupils who wanted to discuss the period named ‘’Crisis of society, crisis of poetry’’. This comes in the face of the human apathy for safeguarding the world democracy and peace, for their cultivation and preservation through democratic institutions, and people’s unification and collaboration, by declining any sort of fatalizm, and loss of faith in the European democracy and integration.

In the concluding manifesto titled ‘’Beware Europe, Europe for Europeans,’’ it was pointed out that poets and poetry have a power to revive the faith in democratic values. The poetic passion doesn’t contain itself only in a verse, but we experience it everyday as citizens of this world, and poetry remains essentially inseparable from the notion of freedom and faith in the human society.

Among the many poets and scholars from the various participating countries, a special panel was reserved for Albania. The panel held by translator and Francophone Fotaq Andrea, who on Nov. 23 held the lecture ‘’Albanians: a poet nation’’ at Villa Schutzenberger, and then on Nov. 24 at Cinema Odysee introduced two Albanian poets, democracy martyr Havzi Nela, and Moikom Zeqo, with translated poetry specially for this event. 

In the lecture held by Andrea, he made a short introduction and recap of the Albanian poetry through centuries focused on three stages, Renaissance, post-Renaissance, and contemporary poetry, with an output to the similarities between the Albanian poetry and European one, and especially with French poetry. Andrea pointed out an instance when French writer Lamartin wrote to Arberesh writer Jeronim De Rada that ‘’poetry came from your shores, and thus shall return there.’’ 

Another instance when Albanians were held as a poet nation, was in an Italian article from 1940s which was titled ‘’Albanians, a people of poets and soldiers.’’ Later in 1989, Xavier Deniau, former secretary of state and general secretary of the Francophone parliamentary ensemble, wrote a dedicated piece for Albania, in which he pointed out that the ‘’Albanian homeland [...] is created by poets.’’ Another contribution came by Alain Bosquet and Michel Metais who introduced Ismail Kadare to the French public in 1970s and thus the Albanian poetic spirit through centuries and for that period (communist regime), leading to two translated poems of Kadare to be published in high-school book anthologies for years to come. 

A list of twelve Albanian poets were chosen for this event, with French-translated selected poetry. The poets were both classic and contemporary, such as N. Frasheri, Migjeni, Çajupi, L. Poradeci, D. Agolli, I. Kadare, F. Arapi, Xh. Spahiu, M. Ahmeti, M. Velo, P. Shllaku, D. Çomo. A special commemoration was made for democracy martyr Nela, for whom was spoken as mentioned on Nov. 24, and a poem titled ‘’When I die’’ was published online in the event’s website. 

A special notice on the first event was made to the oral poetry as an important part of the tradition preserved and conveyed through centuries, in comparison to the more savant and cultivated written poetry. A volume of the ‘’Epos of the Brave (Kreshnike)’’ was also published in French in 1968. The ‘’Epos of the Brave’’ is a cultural heritage for Albania as it holds old songs originating since 11-12th century, the songs passed orally through generations and to be sang with the traditional instrument lahuta (lute). These songs have a historical connotation which talk about the coming of the Slavs in the Albanian territories during centuries 6-8th, and Andrea drew a similarity with the French epos. 

Andrea also mentioned that an important historical attribute are the oral songs of the Albanians of Greece, Italy (Arbereshet) and of Kosovo. He said that these songs aren’t written down because during the Ottoman Empire the written local language was forbidden. However, they are precious to our history and culture as they tell of our long history and literary heritage with myths and legends preserved through centuries, which express all the suffrage endured and are an encouraging reminder to our strength. These songs are also a proof of Albania’s antiquity, being as old as our unique language.

The characteristics and stages

The first characteristic is that of patriotism. The oral poetry has accompanied the Albanian renaissance and served the shaping of the national identity which with the help of poetry brought the independence in November 1912. Analogue to that, the second characteristic of oral poetry it served was that of emancipation and bringing closer the European thought, progressing to the establishment of various poetic schools and introducing modernity. 

The fourth characteristic arising was that of the enriching of the language and literary, artistic expression. And the last but not least, was the turning of the cultivated poetry as a populist poetry, keeping alive the poetic spirit of the nation.

The first stage of the development of the Albanian poetry starts with the Albanian renaissance, star1544341016_2afisheAndreaFotaqting with poet Jeronim De Rada in 1840s until 1920s, with characterising themes of heroes and nationalistic sentiments. The second stage starts during the progressive wind in 1920-30s with the realistic and critical poetry which culminates with Migjeni. Migjeni, except being of the first modern poets of Albania, he also introduced the free verse in poetry and the poetic prose. 

The third stage lasted for about 50 years and corresponds to the closing and hermetization of our country to the communist regime. The poetry in this era was clothed by the official rules, and freedom of expression was forbidden. About 200 intellectuals were persecuted or killed for their free verses which diverged from the political requirements and propaganda. 

The fourth stage corresponds to contemporary times with modern poetry, characterized by free verse, freedom of expression, trying to reach a poetical autonomy and creative abstraction. Such poets are Kadare, F. Arapi, Agolli, Petro Marko, A. Shkreli, M. Camaj, E. Hatibi, M. Ahmeti, Ali Podrimja, Zeqo etc.. 

Andrea said that the participants showed an immense interest in his presentation. During the recital of the poem ‘’When I die’’ from Havzi Nela, some people cried. Andrea said that those tears ‘’were like roses, with a global symbolism, in the grave of Nela.’’ In that sense the people were deeply impressed by the tragedy suffered from the communist era, and how poetry kept rising afterwards and keeping the nation’s spirit alive, poetry never ceasing to inspire.
                    [post_title] => Albania:  a nation of poets
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                    [post_content] => One of the most notable and successful activities during the Austrian cultural year in Albania, resulted to be the one of literary postcards undertitled ‘’From Austria with love.’’ This activity brought to the Albanian readers some of the most renowned authors of modern and classical Austrian literature. 

At the framework of the 2018 Austrian cultural year in Albania, the Austrian Embassy in collaboration with Poeteka, ADD and Rauch opened in March the program ‘’Poetry Card- From Austria to Albania with Love.’’ The postcard format was chosen as Austria is known as a country which used postcards as a communications means among cultures quite early. This intercultural communications of image and text comprises a 115-years broad and rich tradition.

Poeteka restored this tradition before the Albanian public in a new format, dedicated to the promotion of cultures through literary texts, translation and reading of Austrian and Albanian authors. A special attribute was paid to the translators as communication bridge, as the readers were able to learn about authors’ portraits and biographies, and read their work in Albanian. 

Altogether with authors and readers an elaborative communication and exchange was achieved through the postcards. Works were brought in the original language too, for the connoisseurs of German. 

The first postcard to be introduced was that of a document from 1944, which celebrates the collaboration between the two countries. Among other interesting pieces were stamp portraits of authors, but especially an early 1944 publication of Rainer Maria Rilke in Albanian, translated by writer Arshi Pipa and published from ‘’Fryma’’ (Breath) literary magazine. The postcard was symbolically inaugurated on March 21, the World Poetry Day.

Besides those were also other publications such as poetry dedicated to Albania by albanologue Franc Nopsca. 

Nopsca was born at an aristocratic Austro-Hungarian family and is regarded as the one of the founders of paleobiology and Albanian studies, as well as completing the first geological map of Northern Albania. 

He studied at the Vienna university for fossilized bones and acquired a PhD in geology. He moved to the mountainous areas of Albania as having an interest in Albanian nationhood, and soon became associated with the Albanian resistance groups against the Ottomans and even smuggled weapons. After the Ottoman Empire left the Balkans, the countries separated and suffered internal conflicts, for which Albanian arose to its independence. Nopsca happen to be in the middle of it, and during the first world war he served as a spy for Austro-Hungary and at an international conference for the clarification on the status of Albania, he was a contender of the throne.

He published more than fifty scientific researches about Albania, covering linguistics, history, folklore, ethnology, the kanun (Albanian customary law), etc.. A number of his unpublished works, texts and drawings were acquired by scholar and nationalist Mid’hat Frasheri, but after Frasheri left in exile, the full Nopsca library were confiscated by the communist regime and now lays at the National Library. 

Other portraits of the postcards are those of Joseph Roth and Nopsca with Albanian traditional costumes. The literary postcards collection consists of ten authors which is precious for both cultures, unites literature, journalism, travel diaries, short prose, translator and graphic artists, the biggest part of whom have visited Albania through the literary residency program ‘’POETEKA-Tirana in Between.’’

‘’I recall my childhood and I notice how my curiosity for the foreign was awakened and how my path from north Austria to Albania was sketched. A sunny May day in the 70s I was on a cruise between Patra and Brintisi, in the naval strait between Corfu and Butrint, when I saw Albania for the first time. The shore left me an enchanting impression. Then the country for us was unobtainable, but I knew that I would later tread in that place,’’ wrote in his specially written essay artist Christian Thanhauser.

Other authors have also grasped the attention of Albanian public during this cultural exchange year between Albania and Austria. One of them is Austrian nobelist Elfriede Jelinek, whose short creative story was published in a postcard on April 23, the World Book Day. The collection was then complemented with a postcard of Austrian journalist Joseph Roth, known for his texts dedicated to Albania of the both world war periods, and who appears dressed in traditional Albanian costumes. Then, the collection was forwarded by writer and translator Ilir Ferra, born in Albania but who has established his career in Vienna and writes in German. 

Other writer and poets published as part of the project were renowned poet Georg Trakl, children’s writer Christine Nostlinger, author Andrea Grill and contemporary writers like Erwin Einzinger. 

The project ‘’From Austria with love’’ became attractive to the reader who bought the postcards from libraries, but the this activity was also extended as souvenir gifting in the art of writing. The initiative encouraged both the recognition of Austrian writer in Albania, but also the recognition of Albanian writer working in Austria, who write both in Albanian and German. 

Moreover the program ‘’From Austria to Albania with Love’’ made known the work of Albanian writers and translators who brought to the Albanian public the aforementioned Austrian writers, such as Arshi Pipa, Lindita Arapi, Admira Poci, Oriona Kraja Zylja, Majlinda Cullhaj, Lindita Komani. The successful projects of the Austrian Embassy and Poeteka will be celebrated on Dec. 14 near the youth center ‘’Arka’’ in Shkodra.
                    [post_title] => ‘From Austria with love’’ - a postcard literature 
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                    [post_content] => A professor of German to Elmira College in New York, Carrie Hooper, sends her greetings to Albania through the Voice of America for Balkans by singing the Albanian national anthem. Hooper is a connoisseur of six foreign languages, among which Albanian. And the entire interview is also conducted in Albanian. 

She came in touch with Albanian language after an Albanian student signed into her Italian class. She ordered a Braille book to learn the language with the help of her student. She later on transcribed an Albanian-English dictionary into Braille for easier learning, then moved on to audio cassettes with Albanian folk tales. Afterwards Hooper took two Albanian courses at the Arizona State University, started reading articles in Albanian from her Braille computer, has a friend Tim Hendel, who records Albanian radio programs for her, and also practices her speech by talking to Albanian people on the phone.

Hooper came in touch with the Albanian community through Father Arthur Liolin, Chancellor of the Boston-based Albanian archdiocese. Hooper also sings, as she studied for music, and can also play the traditional Albanian instrument cifteli, gifted to her by Gjergj Dedvukaj, director of the ‘’Bashkimi Kombetar’’ (National Unity) Ensemble, a Cultural Arts Association, to which she is also a member. 

Hooper also has written and published a poetry book in the Albanian language, called ‘’Paintings in words.’’ The book has been promoted in New York by the Society of Albanian-American Writers, and has been published in Kosovo under the care of writer Adnan Ahmeti. 

‘’O language of Albania, the music of your words fills my spirit with joy! Your expressive words fill my heart with joy! When I hear your words, my whole being is filled with joy! Through you I have come to know a strong, brave, and courageous people, who have survived the oppression of foreign rulers and an evil dictatorship. Resound, O beloved language, no matter where your people live! May you live forever, O beautiful Albanian language!’’ has written Hooper in an article about Illyria, an Albanian-American newspaper based in New York.

Her learning of Albanian and five other foreign languages, as well as being able to teach is an inspiring story as Hooper was prematurely born by two and half months. She was held in an incubator for two months, but was left blind after she received a higher dosage of oxygen. She also teaches musical lessons and plays the piano. She expresses gratitude and a sense of luck that her district in Elmira had funds to make her schooling easier and everyone was rather helpful in her further successes. 

Hooper admires Albania and its people. She admires the love the Albanian nation feels for its country regardless of all what it has gone through, and it is precisely this sort of strength to survive for the betterment of the country that impresses her. 

‘’I am impressed by the fact that such a small country has such a long tradition, and has survived many horrible moments, experiences, has survived communist dictatorship; has always survived,’’ said Hooper. 

But adding more to it, she is impressed by the Albanian hospitality and generosity. She takes for example her experiences with the Albanian-American community at the USA. She said that whenever she has visited Albanian communions, she would always feel their love. 

‘’It is very important that for emigrating Albanians to preserve their language, teach your children your language, because without a language you don’t have an identity and without identity you don’t have a nation,’’ said Hooper in expressing a simple message to all Albanians living in immigration.

Hooper has participated in countless events organized by the community of the Albanians at the USA, in which she has hosted the events, or spoken to them in the Albanian language. She has sang and composed songs in Albanian, and has held speeches at various schools about learning the language. She has conducted interviews, and has also held presentations about Albania at the college where she teaches.
                    [post_title] => A friend to Albania sends greetings
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                    [post_content] => Zeta Gallery will be organizing a solo photo exhibition by artist Lek Gjeloshi, which opens in Dec. 14 at 7:30 p.m., and will remain open for the public until Jan. 10, 2019. Gjeloshi is a young emerging visual artist from Shkodra, born in 1987.

The exhibition displays a cycle of photographs taken by a pile of negatives which the author incidentally clases with, started as a pretext to test through them an old machine for the magnification of 35mm films. The selected images through it are fragments aligned without a predestined narrative sequence. 

Attracted to the phantasmagoric dimension of the subject from screen surfaces, he starts to re-photograph them by gradually activating a double life of the images, where part of them is now already even the light screen of the projector, the traces of seniority and reflexes which stand on its surface. These photographs are inverted in digital negatives by using the usual setting offered by the mobile application. 

From this negative superposition is charged with a new atmosphere, which doesn’t refer to the information and testimony of the photograph any longer, but rather to its constant deviation, a sort of delirium or rant to that which remains in the wrapped screen from the flash veil. The superposition is made from a simple algorithmic process from which Gjeloshi derives images, called the hybrid ‘positives’. 

Thus comes to light an unknown and authorless archive. Bodies are manifested in it, liturgical rites and vague sceneries, beings that are enchanted at times, and some other times appear stuck in abeyance in a mysterious village somewhere in north Albania.

Lek Gjeloshi lives in Shkodra where he was born. He studies Visual Art at the Fine Arts Academy of Florence, from which he graduated in 2010. Other solo exhibitions of Gjeloshi include ‘’All my colours turn to Clouds’’ from 2016 in Villa Romana, Florence, and ‘’Off-Cells’’ in 2016 at the Arts Gallery of Shkodra. In 2015 he was awarded by the Shkodra Arts Gallery the Idromeno Award, and in 2016 he won the Becoming Award given for young Albanian visual artists. Since 2017 he holds the position of archive supervisor at the National Photography Museum ‘’Marubi’’ in Shkodra, and in 2018 he was an resident artist at the Residency Unlimited in New York. 

He has participated in various group exhibitions such as ‘’Ex Gratia’’ in 2018 at the Iannaccone Collection of Milano, ‘’Nuovo Cinema Masaccio’’ in 2014, ‘’Fuori posto’’ in 2013 and ‘’Lontano da dove’’ in 2012, the last three held at the Casa Masaccio and Lanfranco Baldi Foundation in Italy.
                    [post_title] => The ‘Sleepwalkers’ of Lek Gjeloshi
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            [post_content] => Another year marked the annual tradition launched by the Embassy of Netherlands in Albania for holding the event Movies That Matter, corresponding to human rights issues. This year was the tenth anniversary of the event, which symbolically started on Dec. 10, the Human Rights Day.This event in Tirana is a derivative from the annual Movies That Matter event about human rights which takes place in the Netherlands. 

Five different movies were screened by different civil society organizations and educational institutions in Tirana and Fier. The films are human rights issues, peace and freedom followed by a discussion panel. 

The mission of Movies that Matter is to open people’s eyes to human rights through film. Moving images can create insight into human rights with their emotional and immediate impact, and encourage dialogue about it.

The festival consists of two main programs, one is the Activist (previously as A Matter of ACT), on human rights defenders, in partnership with Amnesty International, and the other is Camera Justitia, made possible by the vfonds foundation, which focuses on the importance of the rule of law, the ongoing fight against impunity, and related topics. 

The film screenings in Albania were from Dec. 10 until 17, and started and ended with the film The Poetess. The screened films are described as below:

The Poetess is a film documentary about  Hissa Hilal, a 43 –year-old woman from Saudi Arabia, who achieved international fame after being the only female in a televised talent competition for Arabic poets. Her poetry is controversial: she criticizes extremist fatwas and is an advocate of women’s rights. Based on talks with Hissa and TV clips from the show, the documentary paints a picture of Saudi society; how public life changed drastically for women over the years due to increasing strictness and increasingly extreme religious rules and regulations.

Jaha’s Promise is a documentary about the life and activism of Jaha Dukureh, a Gambian anti-female genital mutilation campaigner who returns to her country of birth to confront the harmful tradition that she and 200 million women and girls have undergone globally. This practice has mostly occurred in war prevailing countries in Africa, Middle East and Asia.

Mr. Gay Syria follows two gay Syrian refugees who are trying to rebuild their lives. Husein is a barber in Istanbul, living a double life between his conservative family and his gay identity. Mahmoud is the founder of Syria's LGBTI movement and is a refugee in Berlin. The dream to participate in an international beauty contest as an escape from their trapped lives and an answer to their invisibility is what brings these two men together. 

Joshua: Teenager vs Superpower is about teenager Joshua Wong who decides to save his city when the Chinese Communist Party backtracks on its promise of autonomy to Hong Kong. Rallying thousands of kids to skip school and occupy the streets, Joshua becomes an unlikely leader in Hong Kong and one of China's most notorious dissidents.

Truth Detectives, an interesting documentary about human rights activists, journalists and lawyers globally who collect evidence of human rights violations with the help of victims. Using mobile devices to film and photograph their experiences, they become digital witnesses. Amateur videos of bombs exploding, people being abused or even shot dead are distributed almost in real time via social media. Digital investigators use various forensic methods, from internet tracking to DNA analysis, to analyse and verify this deluge of images, supporting them with other evidence and scientific expertise. These criminological investigations have only one purpose: to bring to justice those who violate human rights.
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