Petrit Malaj is born in Albania in 1970, is a proud father of a girl of 15 years. He attended Ali Demi high school in Vlore and later the Army Academy Officer in Tirana, grew up with the ideals of his grandfather Vexhi Kollazi, against racism and respectful of human life: victim of the Nazis, he was burned in Dachau for helping the Jewish community in Vlore.
Following the fall of the communist regime in Albania, he emigrated to Italy, to Florence; here I enrolled in the course for working students at the Faculty of Political Sciences of the University of Florence, International Studies branch.
Since January of the 2000 he has been working at the Coverciano Technical Center as a theater manager. He feels grateful to Florence and to the Florentines for having welcomed him and hopes to be able to make what he received by giving his all for Florence and supporting the project of Dario Nardella, helping him in his work.
Interview with Petrit Malaj
1. What is your proposal in the list program
I propose myself as a reference point for my community, Albanian (and not only) in relations with the municipality of Florence with which I would like to further strengthen the already strong ties that exist with the Municipality of Tirana and with Albania in general. I would like to propose a program of annual activities on a regular basis with events and demonstrations involving both Albania and the Albanian community that lives and works here in the city.
I will focus on working with young people, strengthening their integration into the world of work, crafts and creativity, through various financial and non-financial instruments that the Municipality can make available. I think that working on the integration of second generation youth can become an investment for a more cohesive community in the future
2. If you win, what do you think you propose to be innovative for all citizens?
In addition to working with the young people I mentioned earlier, and strengthening cultural and economic ties with Albania and Tirana, I would like to propose and support a recycling mechanism through eco-compactors, so that I can use shopping credits or for the tram ticket through recycling, and that we can live in a city that can promote a model of circular economy that generates benefits for the community. In this sense, I am in favor of sustainable mobility and therefore of the tramway and I believe that Mayor Nardella has worked hard and well in this direction.
3. Why do you think they will have to vote for you?
Because it would be the presence of a voice, in the municipal council, of the Albanian community that has lived in the city for many years now, and that represents an example of truly high integration. A presence in the council would also give voice to many instances of the community that today, present massively in many sectors of Florentine society, is still lacking at the level of city politics.
However, I am very keen to stress the fact that my commitment will be directed to the whole city, without any kind of distinction, as I believe that problems and issues have no color and passport.
4. Being in possession of a dual citizenship, belonging to multiple cultures and speaking multiple languages is a point of advantage or disadvantage for you and why?
It is certainly a point of advantage, it helps you to understand different cultures, ways of living and expressing, as well as having traditions and why not, also of different moods. Furthermore, it helps you to understand your neighbor opens your mind, and as if in a closed room there were more than one open window that allows you to see more than one horizon.
5. You are of Albanian origin. What is Albania for you?
Yes, they call me a proud Albanian, like many others. And for me Albania is the country of origin that has given me so much in the sense of education, education and healthy values, beautiful friendships, a sense of hospitality, a sense of family. For these reasons I will always be proud of being originally from Albania.
6. What does it mean to have a foreign name in your everyday life?
It helps you remember where you come from and which paths you must never forget, then Petrit is a true Albanian name, which means "brave man", so proud ...
7. Are you Italian enough for those who will vote for you?
I am a European and a citizen of the world, not just Italian. And Florence is my city, it's the place where I live and my daughter was born and grew up. I am in love with Florence and I am grateful to Italy for what it gave me and how it welcomed me with all the opportunities that I needed to build a life here.
8. Do you care about polls? What do they say about the list you signed up for?
Yes, of course I care, and I am calm because the polls say that the mayoral candidate supported by my list, Mayor Nardella, deserves to have the opportunity to continue further on this path towards the future of Florence.
9. What does it mean to be integrated in your opinion and what are the proposals to be made to improve immigration policies?
It means respecting everyone's rights and actively participating for the good of the community, we never cease to integrate, and in our case it is probably a life-long journey. I think that the Municipalities can invest more in integration paths, increase the Italian language courses, offer moments of cultural exchanges with the countries of origin and make the city open and plural, keeping in mind rights and duties.
10. Of Albanian origin, but which is your mother tongue?
My mother tongue is Albanian to be precise, if then I have to be more precise "gjuha labe", cha would be the dialect of the southern region, Valona specifically. At the same time, however, I also have the language of a mother who has adopted me for many years now, the Italian
11. Is there an organized Albanian community where you are a candidate? (like some association, a school, etc.). How many Albanians are there in your constituency?
There are different associations, which I personally have not had the luck to be part of, very often because I am very busy at work level. In my constituency there are about 5300 Albanian citizens, many of whom have businesses, many students and lots of workers.
12. Don't you think they only chose you to draw on the votes of your community?
In all elections, at all levels, the candidate has the objective of collecting votes. This also means taking up the challenge of giving voice and solutions to all those who voted for you. I see it as a great opportunity for the Albanian community, to be able to actively participate in the political life of the city, and to be able to present their ideas about the common good, which is the city of Florence, where we are so fortunate to live there all days.
13. What do you have to say to the other candidates of Albanian origin who compete in other lists?
A big good luck to all, because political participation is always healthy regardless of political colors.
14. Do you want to add something or say more that you think is important?
I want to invite all the Italian Albanians living in the city to vote. I believe that going to the polls, especially when it comes to elections at the municipal level where they directly choose their representatives, is one of the greatest expressions of democracy and citizenship. In this sense it is an opportunity that must not be wasted in any way.
Follow Petrit Malaj up
The next 26 May, together with the European elections, will be held the Italian administrative elections. We have taken steps to find candidates of Albanian origin that you can consult here