Monday, April 18, 2016
Albania Starts Preparing for Diaspora Summit
Ahead of a major summit gathering Albanians from 50 countries around the world, debate still continues on the best ways that Albania can draw on its emigrants' talents.
An Albanian diaspora gathering in the US | Photo: Facebook
Ahead of a major summit of Albanian diaspora communities from around the world, Albania is mulling the best ways of utilizing its large diaspora.
On November 2016, for the first time, the government plans to hold the first-ever diaspora summit, also marking 25 years of post-communist migration.
The Prime Minister, Edi Rama, told a meeting of Albanians in New York on Monday that the summit would open a new chapter for the nation.
"The summit in November is going to be the moment when we show who we are, what we are able to do and that we are experienced enough to do even more," Rama said.
The summit will gather Albanians from around 50 countries around the world, including pre- and post-communist emigrants.
Organisations of Albanian living outside the country have long sought the creation of a special Ministry for the Diaspora and their request is backed by the Albanian President, Bujar Nishani.
The Party for Justice and Integration, PDIU, which represents the Cham community and is part of the ruling coalition led by Rama, also considers the creation of a ministry important.
The Chams are ethnic Albanians expelled from northern Greece at the end of World War II.
Marselino Troshani, president of the Albanian Forum of Associations in Emilia Romagna, Italy, FARE, told BIRN that Albanians in Italy have submitted a formal request to Albania's parliament for the creation of a ministry.
"This ministry would help allow emigrants to vote in Albanian elections and... help the promotion of the country outside its borders," he said, citing the Kosovo Ministry of the Diaspora as a model.
But not all representatives of the Albanian diaspora back the idea of a ministry. The former director of the National Albanian-American Council, Avni Mustafaj, told BIRN that empowering the country's embassies would be the best way of drawing on the diaspora's talents.
He agrees that bringing together members of the Albanian diaspora from around the world is a terrific idea, as many of them have the right education, skills and experience to help the home country.
"I don't agree with a Ministry of Diaspora - but with empowering the various embassies to be more active with Albanian communities in their countries," he said.
"Coordination of this should be done by the Foreign Ministry. I fear parallel structures between ministries," Mustafaj said.