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Diaspora organization urges political cooperation to speed up EU journey

TIRANA, July 28 – Albania’s recent election and developments related to it have been of interests to the country’s large diaspora worldwide, and in the United States in particular. Albania held national elections in June 23 which were won in

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Albania, Kosovo to open joint Diaspora cultural centres

TIRANA, Sept. 18 – Albania and Kosovo have launched a joint initiative to establish joint cultural centres in the Albanian Diaspora. The initiative was discussed this week during a meeting Kosovo Diaspora Minister Ibrahim Makolli had in Tirana with Albanian

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Albania, Kosovo discuss diaspora issues

TIRANA, Aug 29 – Deputy Foreign Minister Selim Belortaja held talks with Kosovo Minister of Diaspora Ibrahim Makolli to discuss issues relating to concrete developments in the Albanian Diaspora in the world. The two sides expressed commitment to cooperate and

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Albanian Diaspora sends 1 bln to Albania every year

TIRANA, May 20 – A latest study conducted by Albania’s Central Bank expert Endrita Xhaferi shows that vast number of Albanian emigrants use unofficial means to transfer cash, usually bringing it home themselves. The annual remittances that Albanian emigrants sent

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Government and UNDP to engage the diaspora in the country’s development

TIRANA, Sept. 26 – Albanian authorities and the United Nations Development Program organized Tuesday a conference on the brain drain phenomenon in the country. They provided an overview of the current situation and the challenges of tackling the phenomenon. The

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Al Pacino and the Albanian Diaspora: Does “the Space between a Handshake” Suffice?

About five hundred Albanian-Americans visited Albania last week in a symbolic attempt to strengthen their ties with “the old country.” The large group visited different regions of the country and had the privilege to meet the highest authorities of government

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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, July 28 - Albania's recent election and developments related to it have been of interests to the country's large diaspora worldwide, and in the United States in particular.
Albania held national elections in June 23 which were won in a landslide by the leftist Socialist Party-led coalition of Prime Minister-elect Edi Rama.
Outgoing Prime Minister Sali Berisha also resigned from the center-right Democratic Party's leadership that was taken over from Lulzim Basha, the Tirana mayor.
The National Albanian American Council, a not-for-profit organization advocating for Albanians and promoting peace and economic development in the Balkans by fostering democratic policy, promoting respect for human rights, and conducting educational and developmental programs, made a statement to congratulate Rama and his coalition partners on the election victory and also to congratulate the Democratic Party on the election of Basha as its newly elected leader. 
"We hope that the new political dynamic in Albania will lead to better cooperation between the incoming government and the opposition so that Albania can continue its EU membership process. Leading up to the recent elections, the EU, and the U.S., made clear that the elections process would greatly influence their relations with Albania," it said in a statement.
The June 23rd elections were deemed by the OSCE to be the best elections ever held in Albania, which presents a unique opportunity for politicians to end the polarization that has stalled the country's EU progress. 
Albania, a NATO member since 2009, has also applied for the EU candidate status.
The NAAC urged the Socialist Party and its coalition partners to work through the process to form the new government. 
The Democratic Party has a new party leader for the first time since its formation, and the newly elected chairman will need to secure the support of his party members in order to serve as a constructive opposition.
"Since the [Socialist Movement for Integration] party, headed by Ilir Meta, had been a coalition partner of the previous DP-led government and part of a pre-election SP-coalition, they have an opportunity to serve as a bridge of cooperation between the government and the opposition. Further, with significant populations of Albanians living across the border of each of its neighbors, the country is poised to be a regional leader in economic development, education and cultural cross border cooperation and, as a NATO member, regional security, " said Avni Mustafaj, NAAC executive director.
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 18 - Albania and Kosovo have launched a joint initiative to establish joint cultural centres in the Albanian Diaspora. The initiative was discussed this week during a meeting Kosovo Diaspora Minister Ibrahim Makolli had in Tirana with Albanian Culture and Tourism Minister Aldo Bumci.
"Of course this will not be a unilateral initiative, Albania and Kosovo will conclude a joint initiative and establish the necessary mechanisms to promote culture and preserve the national identity. We have a big community of around 3 million Albanians abroad, a community which must preserve connections with one-another and it is exactly within this framework we are undertaking this joint initiative with the Republic of Kosovo," said Bumci.
The Kosovo Minister described the opening of the cultural centres as a joint national treasury which must be preserved. "Even though two separate countries divided by borders, the Albanian Diaspora has always been united," said Makolli.
He announced that Kosovo would soon open its first cultural centre in Turkey, where one of the biggest Albanian migrant community lives. The centre is expected to become operational before Nov. 28 under a deal Kosovo has signed with Turkey.
Establishing joint cultural centres in Switzerland and the United States is the next challenge.


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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Aug 29 - Deputy Foreign Minister Selim Belortaja held talks with Kosovo Minister of Diaspora Ibrahim Makolli to discuss issues relating to concrete developments in the Albanian Diaspora in the world.
The two sides expressed commitment to cooperate and share their experiences in the field of organization, communication and storage of strengthening the identity of the Diaspora, to overcome the problems facing it, as the need for additional education of Albanian children in the Diaspora, through unification and standardization of the teaching programs, textbooks, curricula and others.
Attention was paid to coordinating and organizing joint cultural and historical-artistic activities, affecting the preservation and strengthening the identity of the Diaspora around the world, where a special role to play creating cultural centers Albanian Diaspora where it is concentrated.
They also underlined the role played by the Albanian Diaspora as a cohesion factor between our two countries, but also as a potential on the cooperation between us and the countries where they live and work, bringing a valuable contribution to the integration process of Albania and Kosovo in the EU.


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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, May 20 - A latest study conducted by Albania's Central Bank expert Endrita Xhaferi shows that vast number of Albanian emigrants use unofficial means to transfer cash, usually bringing it home themselves. 
The annual remittances that Albanian emigrants sent home are estimated at one billion Euro.  Besides the transfer of remittances that the country's emigrants sent home via banking system are transferred unofficially.  Last year the emigrants had sent 947 million Euro via banking systems, an increase of 12 million Euro compared to 2006.  Emigrants' money is viewed as one of basic "infusions" for Albanian families and also for the society in general. The inflow is much higher given the foreign currencies brought home unofficially. (Tirana Times Staff)
                    [post_title] =>  Albanian Diaspora sends 1 bln to Albania every year  
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 26 - Albanian authorities and the United Nations Development Program organized Tuesday a conference on the brain drain phenomenon in the country. They provided an overview of the current situation and the challenges of tackling the phenomenon. The government introduced the brain gain initiative supported by UNDP. During the last decade of the 20th century Albania had the highest rate of emigration in the world. In the period of 1993- 2004, around 45 percent of university professors and researched emigrated, as did more than 65 percent of PhD holders educated in the west. 
The return of qualified migrants is a key issue in the Albanian government's strategy for migration in order to enable the Albanian diaspora to contribute to country's development. The project aims at creating the necessary incentives and mechanisms for halting and reversing Albania's "brain drain." 
The project includes support to government to prepare a policy framework for the engagement of diaspora in the development of the country. It will include the establishment of a data base with eligible individuals to be part of the brain gain program and support the academia, the private sector and other interested groups to make use of their expertise.
"Through the Brain Gain Program we would like to say to the Albanian diaspora: Return, because Albania develops when you become an integral part of the process," said Prime Minister Sali Berisha.
                    [post_title] =>  Government and UNDP to engage the diaspora in the country's development 
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                    [post_content] => About five hundred Albanian-Americans visited Albania last week in a symbolic attempt to strengthen their ties with "the old country."  The large group visited different regions of the country and had the privilege to meet the highest authorities of government and state, Prime Minister Berisha and President Moisiu.  The organisers of this patriotic tour that is similar in intent to the pilgrimages of Jewish Americans in Israel, want to place Albania higher in the diaspora's concerns in order to stimulate Albanian-American investments.  But, beyond the pleasant patriotic spectacle, what should we expect from the economic lifeline of the Albanian diaspora?  To put it differently, can Albania manage to go beyond remittances and benefit from business investments by Albanians abroad? 
Other countries have turned their diasporas in a powerful asset of economic growth.  Israel is one. Closer to home, Croatia was successful in turning diaspora patriotism into impressive rates of Foreign Direct Investment.  Can Albania be similar? 
With the collapse of the communist regime in 1991-1992, the country was bristling with optimism about the great future of democracy and market economy.  The diaspora was to play no small a role in the general progress.  That dream went into the proverbial dustbin of history as most dreams tend to do.  As regards the diaspora, there was a general overestimation of its organisative capacity and its economic potential.  While returning Albanians brought home tales of rich Albanian-Americans that spoke Albanian badly but dreamt of Albania often, these tales turned to be exagerated.  Most Albanian-Americans operate s in services and real estate.  While their potential should not be neglected, one cannot expect economic salvation from that front.
In the last fifteen years, diaspora investments have been very limited.  Nevertheless, despite its modest potential when compared to other potential investors, diaspora capital should be utilised more effectively.  But, this cannot be done through personal relationships and what Al Pacino in City Hall called "the space between a handshake". The diaspora has advantages over others because it "returns" to its homeland with knowledge of the local people and their culture.  But, there ought to be no discrimination between them and German, Italian or Turkish investors.  Money ought to be invested based on earning potential and not patriotism.  Clear and well-implemented law will do the job much better than individual promises.  Once we can manage that, the money will come.  From Germany as well as from the diaspora.
In its very first week, the present government was faced with an unpleasant situation.  A number of Italian investors asked the executive to implement court cases that they had won but the bailiffs had neglected to translate into reality.  A sound fiscal system, courts that respect contracts and not political calls would be a good place to start.  The Albanian market is small and at a time of fierce competition with other countries in the region, it will be difficult to compete at the best of times.  
Together with the traditional diaspora, in the last fifteen years a new diaspora has been created by the million or so Albanians working in Italy, Greece and other Western countries.  Not only have some of them opened competitive businesses, but like most first-generation immigrants they have sizable savings that they would be naturally inclined to invest in the country where they "know their way around."  But the space between a handshake is not large enough to convince them to invest their money here.  Kevin Calhoon (John Cussack) has already told us so.
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            [post_content] => TIRANA, July 28 - Albania's recent election and developments related to it have been of interests to the country's large diaspora worldwide, and in the United States in particular.
Albania held national elections in June 23 which were won in a landslide by the leftist Socialist Party-led coalition of Prime Minister-elect Edi Rama.
Outgoing Prime Minister Sali Berisha also resigned from the center-right Democratic Party's leadership that was taken over from Lulzim Basha, the Tirana mayor.
The National Albanian American Council, a not-for-profit organization advocating for Albanians and promoting peace and economic development in the Balkans by fostering democratic policy, promoting respect for human rights, and conducting educational and developmental programs, made a statement to congratulate Rama and his coalition partners on the election victory and also to congratulate the Democratic Party on the election of Basha as its newly elected leader. 
"We hope that the new political dynamic in Albania will lead to better cooperation between the incoming government and the opposition so that Albania can continue its EU membership process. Leading up to the recent elections, the EU, and the U.S., made clear that the elections process would greatly influence their relations with Albania," it said in a statement.
The June 23rd elections were deemed by the OSCE to be the best elections ever held in Albania, which presents a unique opportunity for politicians to end the polarization that has stalled the country's EU progress. 
Albania, a NATO member since 2009, has also applied for the EU candidate status.
The NAAC urged the Socialist Party and its coalition partners to work through the process to form the new government. 
The Democratic Party has a new party leader for the first time since its formation, and the newly elected chairman will need to secure the support of his party members in order to serve as a constructive opposition.
"Since the [Socialist Movement for Integration] party, headed by Ilir Meta, had been a coalition partner of the previous DP-led government and part of a pre-election SP-coalition, they have an opportunity to serve as a bridge of cooperation between the government and the opposition. Further, with significant populations of Albanians living across the border of each of its neighbors, the country is poised to be a regional leader in economic development, education and cultural cross border cooperation and, as a NATO member, regional security, " said Avni Mustafaj, NAAC executive director.
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