Afërditë he lives at 20 years in Italy, and has therefore spent most of his life in Italy. IS graduated with honors in International Relations and European Studies at theUniversity of Florence, and has made several experiences in the field of international cooperation with Albania, integration in Italy and other European training issues. It is the first promoter of associations especially for the Albanian community in Italy, and to improve the relationship between migrants and the local community.
His current profession is social research and management of European projects, through the Spin off ICSE & Co which he founded and which he directs from the 2010.
Moreover, in the job of consultant for the IOM program on the Albanian Diaspora in Tuscany, Afërditë was able to investigate the Albanian issues that he has been following and studying since his university days.
Albania News has realized thisinterview with Afërditë to further investigate the question of the Albanian community in ItalyBut not only.
In your opinion, what is the difference between the first and second generation of Albanians in Italy towards their country of origin? Is there an idea of return, and is it the same dream that the first and second generations have?
We must start by saying that we are dealing with two generations that have a completely different vision of Albania. The first - that of the fathers - carries with it a sense of disappointment and belated redemption, therefore out of the contemporary, of dreams never realized in the homeland. While the children do not have a disappointing past in Albania, they have rather feelings of rediscovered roots and above all impulses for the realization of future personal and professional goals.
So we can translate the vision of fathers as a kind of patriarchal nostalgia. Just mention a few sentences to understand us: "Më dhemb shpirti për tokat djerr, ose për shtëpinë bosh" to summarize the meaning of this "blood relationship”, Or passion of origins.
But children almost never experience this passionate lack.
Rather, from born and grown European and modern, they think of a land of their origins in terms of deepening the baggage of their provenance that is often linked to an idea of "Return investment"Rather than"feeling of return".
This concept stems from a comparison on the prospect of greater opportunities compared to an Italy that continues to walk with great difficulty, unlike the sense of redemption of the fathers. And it's here that's worth it work to take advantage of the opportunities the program offers.
What are the strengths in being a generation that acts as a "bridge", that knows Italy in depth and that, at the same time, considers Albania to be the daily bread of its life?
The second generation in Italy, as well as mine, has already had a function of "bridge"During the years 90 and 2000, years of integration of the Albanian community in Italy. He did it in everyday life to facilitate and resolve bureaucratic issues in this country, acting as a linguistic and often cultural and social mediator.
Now the question is reversed: we are asked again to "to act as a bridge", But to Albania, to facilitate Italian investments and the Albanian diaspora in general. I would say that this can be perceived as quite tiring. Therefore, tools are needed that do not leave weight on the second generation but rather help it to cross the bridge. And that's what the program is trying to do "Involving the Albanian Diaspora”, Enhancing the know how and professional baggage of the second generation, and offering, where possible, financial instruments and networks to Albania.
Ideally, as was the case in my case, many young people of the second generation, if they wanted to work with and for Albania, have always found a solution without any tools. Today, what is offered is a system, for those who are professionally interested in Albania as well as personally, who can thus find their way beyond the fears that could initially be perceived by the 'return' to their country of origin.
One of the biggest shortcomings of second-generation Albanians is to adequately possess the language of their parents, but not to find a link in terms of cooperation and culture? How much does the Albanian language affect and how can it be considered a sufficient tool to work with the country?
The connection between knowledge of the Albanian language and knowing how to create return investment is not at all obvious and automatic. The language is not enough, which is often known very superficially, and at every small change of dialect causes difficulties. To create really a collegamento with the country and include the second generation in its development, We need cooperation tools practical and complete, of knowledge in depth of specific sectors, of the more, and why not, even one knowledge greater than Albanian culture in addition to the language.
The network that creates the program is a great starting point.
But the aspect that we can consider a wake-up call for the whole Albanian diaspora and especially for that in Italy, is the progressive loss of the Albanian culture and language. This probably between 10 years will lead to a scenario where families will have a flag with an eagle hanging on the wall, but they will have already forgotten even what they know today in historical, cultural and linguistic terms. Also compensating for growth and cultural exchange is cooperation, and it is necessary to invest more to have strong bases for a medium-long term strategy of the Albanian diaspora.
She is the Focal Point for the Program "Involving The Albanian Diaspora in Albania's Social and Economic Development" implemented by IOM Albania. Do you talk about your job and the current status of the program?
The role I hold is that of Focal Point for the Tuscany Region which concretely allows me to deepen many questions, and develop further relationships and connections that I had previously established. It also allows me to contribute to increasing interest in the country, in terms of cooperation and investment.
Although very exciting, our role is just as difficult, as is the implementation of the program as a whole. We are talking - for the first time - of a conscientious plan, which tries to involve the community, not only considering it as the ultimate beneficiary, but above all as an active subject who has a plan for the future development of Albania. And this is precisely where complexity lies.
I don't know whether to call myself a second generation or simply the 1.5 generation Afërditë Shani
The program started with the aim of creating networks and facilitating investments, sharing socio-cultural aspects as well as enhancing the inclusion of the diaspora in the aspects of democratic participation in Albania. But we have had to deal with even more basic issues related to the diaspora before any of our other activities.
For example we had to first understand how to create a new network with the community, taking for granted that there is a real organized community with its own independent existence. And we have seen that even with many associations and links with local authorities, the community is not yet a subject to be understood as a protagonist of its own needs and demands. There are instead a series of subjects that act as spokespersons but that still cannot be defined as representatives of the community.
In the absence of "a real"Community, go with it the conflictual relationship that the individual Albanians live towards their own country, since they put too much heart and little head, and without being able to combine them together, as instead a diaspora should do to contribute to the development of their own country. It is necessary to separate the idea of what we wanted to do in Albania when we lived there, from what we can really do today with the tools we have available.
If this relationship we tie it to mistrust and detachment that the Albanians carry with them towards the institutions of their country of origin, in a political and societal sense, it is clear that this has a negative consequence for the growth of awareness towards cooperation and investment possibilities without being aggravated by historical and political dysfunctions. Finally, a certain resignation of fate is added to this concept "Shqipëria nuk bëhet kurrë", and a certain patriotic fanaticism on the other, it is clear how much work of awareness there is still to do.
With the program we had to face these circumstances step by step, before even going to develop the platform that intends to engage the Albanian diaspora as a development agent for the promotion of foreign investments. And much still remains to be done.
The Country of the Eagles is increasingly a popular country for investments starting in Italy. Is that so? And if not, what elements are missing?
Albania has been an investment country for Italians for many years, and it is still not enough for the Albanians. I imagine the development of the diaspora and its involvement not only from the point of view of the second generation, but as a prerequisite that involves the whole family. If we think of the Albanian one in Italy, the investment decision should be shared and therefore supported by all. But in reality the desire to spend money and energy in one's own country of origin is almost always inclined towards the construction of a house and not in the form of investment creation and productivity. I personally believe that this lack of orientation towards a better channeling of one's investments depends very much on the role of women in the family.
As I have seen in some Albanian companies in Italy, they grow and become small family-run businesses structured when the woman becomes part of the company, creating added value made of commitment and long-term strategy. Similarly, if one thinks of a form of investment in Albania, this economic "positivity" of women is also culturally linked to the form of commitment in Albania, since often the female figure feels a certain patriarchal threat to her freedom that she laboriously acquired in Italy, which undoubtedly leads it to create a form of resistance to investment. Instead, if you succeed in going beyond any form of pressure from the past, and consider the whole family as an element of attention, where the woman with her degree of integration and experience can be a jolly element, surely you can be more successful.
What should we expect from the program?
Many activities such as the platform Connect Albania and the possibility of gaining work experience in Albania which will be excellent starting opportunities for those who have concrete ideas, and want to compare them, and why not, put them to the test. The program, in the most general sense, is also a gauge of how much real distance there is between the hand, which is the Diaspora, and the heart, which is Albania.
This interview is also available in the Albanian language entitled "Afërditë Shani, gjeneratat and dyta dhe evolucioni i diasporës shqiptare në Itali "
Involving La Diaspora Albanian: the Program
The program "Involving The Albanian Diaspora in the Social and Economic Development of Albania" is funded by the Italian Agency for Cooperation and Development ( AICS ), and politically supported by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (broadcasted on RAI)
The program is implemented by the International Organization for Migration - the United Nations Migration Agency ( OIM ) in collaboration with the Albanian Minister of State for the Diaspora, Albanian Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Albanian Ministry of Finance and Economy / AIDA and'AICS.
The objective of this program is to help improve the involvement of the Albanian Diaspora in the development of Albania. Go to the Program
The contacts of the active Focal Points in Italy
- Tuscany: Afërditë Shani email@example.com
- Latium: Anila Husha firstname.lastname@example.org
- Emilia Romagna: Resli Bitincka email@example.com
- Calabria / The arbëreshe areasIrene Margariti firstname.lastname@example.org
- Lombardy: Besmir Rrjolli email@example.com
- Piedmont: Osjon Osja firstname.lastname@example.org
How to contact IOM Albania for more information on the Program?
Write to the email address email@example.com
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