800 members of the Albanian diaspora from 40 countries around the world will gather today in Tirana for the first ever Diaspora Summit.
The key theme of the three-day summit will be Albania's need to better utilise its sizeable diaspora, which is concentrated in various European countries, as well as in the USA. It will follow the first pledge by the Albanian government to create concrete structures to ensure that the diaspora's contributions are channelled towards Albania's economy, tourism and general development. It is also expected that the creation of a cross-institutional working group focusing on diaspora issues will be approved during the summit.
“We are going to gather for the first time at this level to discuss openly and seriously to identify the best ways and mechanisms in order to open a new page in this relationship that has been missing until now ... We have to make the diaspora part of our country's mainstream political and social life,” said Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama in a video message to participants, adding that discussions would also focus somewhat on Kosovo.
Today will see all participants, many of whom are activists for Albanian causes in their countries of residence, gathered for a gala ceremony. Saturday will centre on the economic aspects of Albania's connection with the diaspora, particularly focusing on tourism, while Sunday's discussions will primarily be about cultural heritage and on preserving the Albanian language throughout the diaspora.
Source: Balkan Insight