On 29th of March 2011, EMA organized at the University of Shkodra “Luigj Gurakuqi” a public lecture with students and youth of the city. This lecture was held on in the framework of the project "Enhancing participatory t local level: Youth education and involvement in local government institutions" supported by National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The guest speaker in this event was the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Albania, H. E. Mrs. Carola Mueller-Holtkemper.
This event was welcomed by Proff. Gasper Kokaj, Dean of Law Faculty, at Shkodra University, stressing the role of this institution in the education of students to become active citizens. The university encourages students to be organized and take part in the public life based in the law for the high education, which allow students to be organized in different kind of organizations such as associations, unions or youths’ movement. Mr. Kokaj pointed out that the right to vote rather than a constitutional right embeds in itself a significant moral obligation for the citizen towards the community.
Mr. Gledis Gjipali, Executive Director of EMA gave a short presentation on the project “Enhancing participatory democracy at local level: Youth education and involvement in local government institutions". During his speech Mr. Gjipali underlined the role and the attention paid by EMA towards civic education of the new generation aiming to establish a consolidated tradition in this respect. He emphasized that the recent project in place is not occasional, in contrary it is continuation of previous initiatives carried out by the organisation. Currently EMA is undertaking an awareness campaign in the framework of increasing students’ participation in the local election. Besides that, organizing several study visits for Albanian students to the institutions of local government are an essential part of this initiative, which is carried out in close cooperation with the municipalities of Shkodra, Vlora and Tirana.
The guest speaker in this public lecture was the German Ambassador Mrs. Mueller-Holtkemper. She underlined the need to establish a new generation of active citizens and in this context she referred to the pre election situation emphasizing “Albanians, especially young Albanians, should engage in the up-coming local elections. Democracy starts at home, that means in your municipalities”. Recent news confirming that political parties do not fullfill the 30% quota assigned to women are concerns for the democracy in Albania. “I wish to encourage the parties to involve more women in the list of candidates in the election for local government. At the same time I encourage women to actively prepare for the elections and take part in politics."During her speech the Ambassador pointed out that local election of 2011, must accomplish the highest technical and political standards that Albania has missed to realized during these years. In technical terms, the country must prove that all technical procedures for the implementation of a fair electoral process are taken. According to her opinion in the political aspect, if country fails to organize local elections in compliance with international democratic standards, this would lead to obstacles for the Albanian European Integration process. Therefore in this framework, local election of 2011, are more than important. German Ambassador Mueller-Holtkemper welcomed the organization of this event and in this regards she emphasized that there is only one way to develop the civil society in Albania. ‘Only when you make your voices heard you stand a chance to achieve your goals“ concluded her speech German Ambassador.
In the end, the lecture was followed by a debate session where the students addressed a set of questions to the Ambassador on democracy and the right to vote. Ambassador Mueller-Holtkemper gave a short press conference to several local and national Medias, which attended and reported the activity