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LEAD Albania

LEAD Albania, a fellowship program similar to the White House Fellows Program, aims to provide gifted young Albanian professionals with first-hand experience in the process of governing Albania.  Fellows are assigned to senior positions within the Prime Ministry, Office of the President, Ministries, Governing Institutions of the Justice System and Municipality of Tirana. The Fellowship experience is supported by an educational component where Fellows participate in seminars on: European integration, public policy, decision making, foreign policy, security policy, leadership, and soft skills development. The program envisions that Fellows will not only learn in their positions but that they will also contribute significantly to the productivity, efficiency, and innovativeness of the host institutions. Five years from its successful implementation, the AADF approved the extension of the LEAD program to a second five-year period, budgeted at $3.2 Million and making it an overall investment of $5.7 Million.

About

Engagement in the work of the central government agencies is at the heart of the LEAD Albania program. Fellows will spend a year as full-time, paid advisers or assistants to the top officials of the Prime Ministry, Ministries, the Office of the President, and the Municipality of Tirana. Fellows may also be required to work on issues outside of their area of expertise. Responsibilities can be wide ranging and will be defined in the job description developed by the AADF and each host institution prior to placement of the Fellow. Fellows may be required to undertake domestic and international travel as part of their assignment and for learning purposes.

The list of positions for Fellows may vary from year to year. The number of Fellows selected will also depend on the quality of applications. The year-long Fellowship begins in the fall of each year.

The LEAD Albania Program will pay each Fellow a salary and benefits based on the pay scale of the agency where they are placed. Fellows will not be permitted to have additional employment during their year of government service. In return for the privilege of participating in the Program, Fellows will be expected to apply what they have learned by contributing to the nation as leaders in their respective communities, professions, and in public service. Fellows will be expected to return to their former occupations or undertake new career paths with the attained experience in public policy. Participants will be better prepared to contribute to national affairs, thereby fulfilling the mission of the program.

Host Institutions

Prime Minister’s Office, Ministries, Office of the President, Governing Institutions of the Justice System, and Tirana Municipality offer positions for the fellows. The Albanian-American Development Foundation has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with each of these institutions.

During the application process, Fellows are asked to choose the institution where they prefer to be placed. If selected as a finalist, the fellow will be recommended as an adviser to the top ranking official of the respective institution.

Current Class

The 2022-2023 Class of LEAD Albania Fellows

Amalia Kokoli

Amalia Kokoli holds a Master’s degree (LLM) in International Commercial Law from University College London. She also has graduated in law and holds a Master’s degree in Civil Law from the University of Tirana. In 2015 she attended and completed her training at the National School of Advocacy and obtained the lawyers license by the National Chamber of Advocates. Amalia has  6 years of experience as a Legal Advisor in the banking sector. She has gained a vast experience in the field of implementing contractual law for corporate clients whilst closely working with bankers and lawyers to facilitate the business activities of national and foreign companies in Albania. She also has a long experience working at a notary office advising clients and drafting contracts. During her studies in Albania, Amalia has successfully contributed and been engaged as an intern at EU Info Centre, a project funded by the EU and at Albanian Helsinki Committee. She has attended various traineeships in international institutions such as the European Court of Human Rights, International Chamber of Commerce etc.   Host Institution: Prime Minister’s Office

Ana Burda

Ana Burda holds a master degree in Finance from Fan S. Noli University of Korça. After graduation, she joined the “Regional Development Agency” of Korça as Project Development Specialist and contributed to the development of the region by supporting the design and implementation of actions addressing development of soft skills, cross-border partnership, and improvement of the local infrastructure. Later, Ms Burda joined the EU funded Technical Assistance Team of the ‘Support to IPA Management’ Project as a Junior Consultant and supported the development of various documents prepared by the office of the Albanian National Coordinator for EU financial assistance.  Most recently, Ana joined the “Support to the EU Integration Process of Albania” project at one of the most important moments for the integration of the country – the opening of accession talks. She worked as a Junior Financial Consultant preparing and improving legal and technical tools for the national administration during the accession process.

Alongside her studies and career, Ana Burda, was also a professional athlete and skier representing the country at the national and international championships organised by the Athletic and Skiing European Federations. Ana is now engaged as a board member in establishing the projects department under the Albanian Ski Federation and is currently elected as Chair of the Athlete Committee of the National Olympic Committee of Albania. Host Institution: Minister of State and Chief-Negotiator for Accession of the Republic of Albania to EU

Armando Bala

Armando Bala has finished his studies in the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Tirana, in Sociology. He has 10 years of experience in Civil Society with the main focus on education and youth. In 2012, he co-founded the non-profit organization New Vision, where he held the role of Executive Director. He is a member of the National Council for Civil Society since October 2020. Throughout his career, he has worked and been certified in national and regional institutions as an organizational expert in the field of education and youth, including by the US State Department for participating in the “International Visitor Leadership Program” with the topic of “Education Leaders Advance on Civic Engagement” among Youths during March-April 2019. Host Institution: Minister of State for Youth and Children

Bjorni Vasili

Bjorni Vasili holds a Bachelor’s Degree and Master of Science in Civil and Commercial Law from the Luarasi University in Tirana. He has successfully completed the National School of Advocacy and was provided with an attorney’s license by the National Chamber of Advocates.

For the last 6 years, Bjorni has given his contribution to various law firms in Albania, assisting a large number of Albanian and international clients with legal assistance in various public procurement procedures, intellectual property and data protection and employment cases and also as court representative before the Albanian Courts. Recently he has been engaged in offering legal counseling in various infrastructure projects and merger and acquisition transactions. Host Institution: Prime Minister’s Office

Dorina Patuzi

Dorina Patuzi is an experienced professional with in-depth knowledge and skills both in public and private entities. Along her professional experience, she demonstrated the capacity to drive change within organizations, and influence public policies with the main scope of enhancing private sector development and improving the business climate.

Dorina concluded her studies in Florence, Italy. She holds an MSC Degree in International Relations and European Studies, in Political Science. She also holds a Master in Digital Marketing in Tourism, from the European University in Rome.

During her career, she has been hosted at Women Venture Fund, in New York City for conducting a professional internship in Business & Finance, as part of AADF MIP Professional Fellowship Program.

She worked as an external lecturer on Human Rights, International Organizations, and Philosophy of Rights in different private faculties, like “Zoja e Keshillit te Mire” and Wisdom University in Tirana.

After 10 years of professional experience in the public sector, and concluding an Executive Master’s at Harvard Business School, on “How to drive Profitable Growth”, Dorina experienced broadening her skills in finance, as a Chief Financial Officer in the private sector.

Host institution: Ministry of Tourism and Environment

Inesa Gupe

Inesa Gupe has a bachelor degree in political science from the University of Tirana. She has a double master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) from Polis University, Tirana in cooperation with the IPAG Business School Paris.

Since graduation, Inesa Gupe has worked with non-governmental organizations, where she directed and managed several projects related to public policies and the evaluation of their effects. As part of her work, she has collaborated with local and foreign companies, as well as with international organizations and institutions such as the Secretariat of Integrated Internal Security Management (IISG) and the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), etc.

Ms. Gupe has served as a national consultant for the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, UNIDO, on energy efficiency issues, the future of the energy sector and the promotion of renewable energy resources. Supported by the US Department of State, Inesa Gupe has conducted a series of trainings in the Netherlands, Belgium and Poland, as well as trainings within Albania. Inesa is actively involved as a member of civil society in Albania, in a number of causes related to youth, environment, and democracy.

Host Institution: Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy

Ines Stasa

Ines Stasa holds a Master of Arts in International Relations from Leeds Beckett University in United Kingdom, also a Master of Science in Political Science and International Relations from Epoka University in Albania. Ines has graduated in political science from the University of Tirane. Currently, she is finishing her Ph.D. thesis on transitional justice in a comparative analysis between Albania, Kosovo, and North Macedonia. She has presented research articles in many international conferences and published in international journals mainly on transitional justice, responsibility to protect, liberal international order and of politics on gender justice. Ines has also participated at several summer schools and training programs such as OSCE/ODIHR school on Political Parties and Democracy; “Democratic innovations in the EU and in Europe”, held by University of Saint –Louis Brussels; “Justice after mass atrocities” organized by Center for Comparative Conflict Studies, University of Belgrade; “EU law and European Governance in populist times”, UClan Cyprus, School of Law. Recently she held an intensive training program of Leadership Academy for Development led by Prof.Francis Fukuyama and faculty members at Stanford University. Ines has previous experience in Public Administration institutions, in civil society organizations and cross-border programs. Her research interests are on democratization processes in the Western Balkans, reconciliation, and transitional justice.  Host Institution: Bashkia Tiranë

Jetnor Kasmi

Jetnor Kasmi is a Development Economist who focuses on development policy, political economy, and conflict resolution. Cultural conflict and security, migration and education policies, and participatory governance are among his interests. Mr. Kasmi has worked with international government organizations in the Western Balkans to mediate conflict by facilitating dialogue between governments and citizens about transitional justice and forced disappearances under autocratic regimes. Mr. Kasmi holds a Political Science degree from Methodist University in the United States, an exchange semester at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, South Korea, and an MA in Development Policy from the Korea Development Institute (KDI) School of Public Policy and Management in South Korea. His work has appeared in Scopus-indexed journals such as African Security Review and Asia-Pacific Journal of Rural Development. He has also written a book chapter on Albania for the expansion of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, making policy recommendations on the complexities of large-scale investment in a small economy. He has extensive experience working with Albanian local and central government, policy coordination, and capacity-building workshops for community and local government officials. He has also worked as a research consultant for Albania’s leading think tanks, including the Institute of Democracy and Mediation and the Institute for Political Studies. He also worked in the public sector at the Ministry of Finance and Economy, where he assisted in the process of aligning national legislation with the EU acquis. Host Institution: Prime Minister’s Office

JunidaTafaj

Junida Tafaj holds a Master of Science in Business Administration and a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations and Communication from the European University of Tirana. She also holds a diploma from the Institute of Business Administration of the University de Caen Basse-Normandie. Junida has contributed in projects promoting employment and self-employment of youngsters through mentorship, training and support programs for entering the labor market with organisations such as Partners Albania for Change and Development, New Vision, JA Albania. Junida is a member (from 2020) of the Advisory Board of RISI Albania, an innovative project, supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, SDC, in partnership with the Ministry of Finance and Economy and implemented by Helvetas and Partners Albania.  Junida has worked for 17 years for the Albanian Association of Banks (AAB). She has contributed on building technical competencies for the broad spectrum of bank functions and roles through a comprehensive portfolio of workshops and e-learning courses by offering comprehensive training solutions designed for the banking industry supported by international partners such Agence de Transfert de Technologie Financière (ATTF) and the House of Training of Luxembourg, IFC and BACEE.

From 2016 she has represented AAB in the Financial Education Project Group within the European Banking Federation (EBF). She has coordinated all financial education projects of commercial banks in Albania and managed relationships with financial literacy key stakeholders such as Central Bank, Ministry of Education, Schools, Foundations, International Organisations (WB & EFSE), Research Centres etc. She is the initiator of the creation of the Albanian Network for Financial Eduation (ANFE) were main focus has been the development of awareness-raising initiatives to spread financial culture in the country. Host Institution: Ministry of Finance and Economy

Loren Kocollari

Loren Kocollari holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism (University of Tirana), an M.A in European Literature Cultures (from the University of Bologna and the University of Strasbourg), and a Diploma in Advanced European Studies at the European College of Parma. He is currently a Ph.D. student in political science at the Corvinus University of Budapest. Throughout his professional career, Loren has worked as a journalist and editor focusing on politics and social or cultural news for different media (News 24, Agon Channel Italia, Tirana Times, etc.) He has followed various training in prestigious international institutions, such as Thomson Reuters Foundation, European Association of Regional Television, Deutsche Journalistenschule, etc. Moreover, he has worked as a content developer, researcher, project coordinator, and in the field of communication for different NGO-s in Tirana (Creative Business Solutions, AIIS, Center for Economic and Social Studies, etc.) In 2021, Loren was awarded the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship from the United Nations. From November 2021 until May 2022, he was an intern in Communications at the United Nations System Staff College. He collaborates as a communication consultant for the UN Executive Leadership Programme for Sustainable Development. Host Institution: The Presidential Office

Alumni

Alba Brojka – Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs

Donjet Gjoka – Prime Minister’s Office

Edlira Osmani – High Inspector of Justice

Eno Muja – High Judicial Council

Entela Hodaj-Çeliku – Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development

Erblina Shehu – Ministry of Finance and Economy

Fatri Morina – Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy

Joana Dhiamandi – Ministry of Culture

Kreshnik Skënderi – Municipality of Tirana

Ornela Bardhi – Ministry of Health and Social Protection

Tedi Dobi – Prime Minister’s Office

Albana Karapanço – Ministry of Finance and Economy

Arnisa Tepelija – Ministry of Justice

Dhurata Milori – Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs

Elirë Mançaj – Ministry of Culture

Moltinë Prebibaj – Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development

Rodon Miraj – Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy

Rovena Elmazi – Ministry of Education, Sport and Youth

Teuta Turani – Ministry of Finance and Economy

Amarildo Çeka – Ministry of Health and Social Protection
Anisa Duraj – Ministry of Culture
Anjeza Xhaferaj – Prime Minister’s Office
Bora Ylli – Ministry of Culture
Desara Dushi – Ministry of Justice
Elona Hasko – Ministry of Education, Sport and Youth
Fabjola Arapi – Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
Haris Vongli – The Presidential Office
Irena Myzeqari – Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs
Jonid Jorgji – Municipality of Tirana
Rei Naçe – Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy
Zerina Bruci –  Prime Minister’s Office

Besnik Maho – Ministry of Justice
Eltion Meka – Ministry for Europe and of Foreign Affairs
Enyal Lani – Ministry of Health and Social Protection
Ermal Telha – Ministry of Tourism and Environment
Eugena Topi – Ministry of Finance and Economy
Irola Andoni – Municipality of Tirana
Manjola Stefani – Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
Oerd Bej – Ministry of Education, Sport and Youth
Oltion Pengu – Prime Minister’s Office
Valbona Seranaj – Municipality of Tirana

Esmeralda Byberi – Municipality of Tirana

Nita Shala- Ministry of Internal Affairs

Jonida Burba – Ministry of Internal Affairs

Bledar Qalliu – Ministry for Europe and of Foreign Affairs

Doriana Matraku – Ministry of Education and Sport

Elena Pici – Prime Minister’s Office

Elkjana Gjipali – Ministry of Culture

Sidrit Tako – Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure

Ardit Cami – Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure

Orjola Shahaj – Ministry of Health and Social Protection

Alban Lila – Ministry of Economic Development, Tourism, Trade and Entrepreneurship

Soana Jaupllari – Ministry of Economic Development, Tourism, Trade and Entrepreneurship

Albana Hana – Ministry of Justice

Elfrida Bino – Ministry of Energy and Industry

Sabina Juka – Ministry of European Integration

Sonila Turshilla – Ministry of European Integration

Sashenka Lleshaj – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Emiljano Kaziaj – Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth

Enkelejda Hamzaj – Municipality of Tirana

Besarta Vladi – State Minister of Innovation and Public Administration

Bruxhilda Kito – Ministry of Interior

Dritan Palnikaj – Prime Minister’s Office

Ekflodia Leskaj – Ministry of Economic Development, Tourism, Trade and Entrepreneurship

Enton Duro – Ministry of Finance

Gerion Dhimo – State Minister for Innovation and Public Administration

Jonila Gabrani – Ministry of Health

Klodiana Beshku – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Lumturi Hoxha – Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure

Marsida Duli – Ministry of Health

Adanela Musaraj – Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Water Management

Besjona Mehmetaj (Dede) – Ministry of Education and Sport

Edmond Ahmeti – Ministry of Culture

Endri Mykaj – Prime Minister’s Office

Erton Graceni – Prime Minister’s Office

Gilbert Vigani – Municipality of Tirana

Julinda Mansaku – Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure

Sokol Bardhi – Ministry of Interior

Ujvara Ponari – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Admir Malaj – Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth

Bledar Dervishaj – Ministry of Justice

Dritan Fino – Ministry of Finance

Eduart Gjokutaj – Ministry of Finance

Elona Bano –  President’s Office

Ergis Sefa – Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth

Krislen Keri – Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure

Ledio Braho – President’s Office

Qamil Dika – Municipality of Tirana

Sokol Muça – Ministry of Education and Sport

Selection

The LEAD Albania program management and the selection commission will look into the following criteria when selecting Fellows:

  • A record of remarkable professional achievement early in one’s career.
  • Evidence of leadership skills and the potential for further growth.
  • A demonstrated commitment to public service.
  • The skills to succeed at the highest levels of the government, and the ability to work effectively as part of a team.

Other qualities include:

  • Exceptional writing ability
  • Foreign language skills
  • Positive attitude
  • Strong management skills
  • Very good interpersonal skills
  • Level of expertise in the proposed focus area

Eligibility criteria

  • Applicants must be Albanian citizens (dual citizenship is also acceptable).
  • Applicants must have completed their undergraduate education. Completion of graduate and postgraduate studies may be of significant advantage.
  • Preferably, applicants will have a minimum of 5 years of post-graduate work experience. In case of a completed PhD, the preferred minimum is 3 years.
  • Employees of the central government and the President Office are not eligible.
  • There are no age restrictions. However, the Fellowship Program was created to give selected applicants the experience of government service early in their careers.

Selection Commission

The Selection Commission for the LEAD Albania Program is composed of two AADF representatives and three outstanding citizens who represent a different range of backgrounds, interests, and professions. The Commission interviews selected candidates from the first round and then recommends those individuals it finds most qualified to host institutions for appointment as Fellows.

FAQ

What is the LEAD Albania Program?

The LEAD Albania Program (Leadership Experience And Development) is an initiative of the AADF for leadership development. The concept of the program is derived from the White House Fellows Program in the United States. Its purpose is to provide gifted young Albanian professionals with first-hand experience in the process of governing Albania and a sense of personal involvement in the leadership of society through a one-year Fellowship placement attached to a top-ranking government position.
Fellows also participate in an Education Program where they will meet with a series of individuals including the Prime Minister, Ministers, Constitutional Court Justices, Advisers and other senior central government officials, Members of Parliament, military leaders, journalists, historians, business executives, leaders from non-government organizations, and foreign heads of state or diplomats as opportunities arise. There will also be a series of seminars on European integration, public policy, decision making, foreign policy, security policy, leadership, soft skills, etc.

What is the mission of the program?

Its purpose is to provide gifted young Albanian professionals with first-hand experience in the process of governing Albania and a sense of personal involvement in the leadership of society.

What type of individual is the program seeking to find?

The LEAD Albania program management and the selection commission is looking for individuals who are most likely to fullfill the mission of the program. The following criteria are considered when selecting the Fellows:

  • A record of remarkable professional achievement early in one’s career.
  • Evidence of leadership skills and the potential for further growth.
  • A demonstrated commitment to public service.
  • The skills to succeed at the highest levels of the government, and the ability to work effectively as part of a team.

Other qualities include:

  • Exceptional writing ability
  • Foreign language skills
  • Positive attitude
  • Strong management skills
  • Very good interpersonal skills
  • Level of expertise in the proposed focus area.

These qualities combined with the strength of one’s character are taken into consideration when selecting a class for the Program.

Who is the Selection Commission of LEAD Albania Program composed of?

The Selection Commission on the LEAD Albania Program is composed of two AADF representatives and three outstanding citizens who represent a different range of backgrounds, interests, and professions. The Commission interviews selected candidates from the first round and then recommends those individuals it finds most qualified to host institutions for appointment as Fellows.

What is the program schedule and selection timeline?

Interested candidates can apply online at the application section of our website. All applications must be submitted with supporting documents by March 17.  Please see application section for more details.

April

First round selection
Applicants are notified in April if they have been selected for first round interviews. If selected, they will receive a notification explaining the time and location for interviews.

May

First round interviews
First round interviews will be conducted by an AADF panel. The candidates selected for the second round of interviews with the Selection Commission will be notified of the time and location by e-mail.

June

Interviews by the Selection Commission
Candidates will be interviewed by the Selection Commission in the second round of interviews. These interviews will determine which Fellows will be recommended to the host institutions.

July

Interviews with host institutions
The finalists recommended by the Selection Commission will interview with principals at the host institutions.  Host institutions will make the final decision.

September/October

Final design of individual placements.
Fellowship year begins with an October launching ceremony.

What is expected of a LEAD Albania Fellow during the program year?

Being a Fellow in the LEAD Albania Program is an honor, a privilege, and a full-time commitment. Fellows are expected to fully engage in their work placement, which lies at the heart of the Fellowship. Work placements can offer unparalleled experience working with Government officials on challenging issues. The work often requires long hours and, at times, unglamorous duties that require as much perseverance as ability on the Fellows’ part. The work placement may also require travel on behalf of the host institution. The Education component augments and enhances the work experience through seminars, workshops, round-tables, etc.

How do I apply?

The online applications go live each year on January 17, on the AADF website and must be submitted by March 17, at 5:00 PM (CET). It is recommended that submission of the application is a few days earlier than the deadline in case of technical difficulties.

What are the eligibility requirements?

  • Applicants must be Albanian citizens (dual citizenship is also acceptable).
  • Applicants must have completed their undergraduate education. Completion of graduate and postgraduate studies may be of significant advantage.
  • Preferably, applicants will have a minimum of 5 years of post-graduate work experience. In case of a completed PhD, the preferred minimum is 3 years.
  • Employees of the Central Government, President’s Office, Municipality of Tirana, General Prosecutor’s Office, and The new Albanian Justice Institutions are not eligible.
  • There are no age restrictions. However, the Fellowship Program was created to give selected applicants the experience of government service early in their careers.

Can I be a Fellow if I have dual citizenship?

Applicants must hold Albanian citizenship, dual citizenship is acceptable.

Are there age restrictions?

There are no age restrictions. However, the Fellowship program was created to give selected Albanians the experience of public service early in their careers.

Does a candidate need to be of the same political party as the current principals of the host institutions?

No, fellowships are awarded strictly on a non-partisan basis.

What is the best approach for handling recommendation letters?

Applicants are asked to submit only three references. It is best to have recommendations from individuals who know you well and can fully answer the questions that are asked in the application. For example, a recommendation letter from a prominent person is not helpful if that individual cannot speak about your background and character.

At least one recommendation should be from an individual that can speak to your professional competence and accomplishments in your field. At least one recommendation should come from someone with knowledge of your community and civic activities.

In addition, one recommendation should be from your current supervisor, if applicable. A recommendation from a prior supervisor is acceptable, but a current supervisor is preferred.

If selected, can I continue to participate in organizations in which I currently serve such as corporate and government boards, or on local councils?

LEAD Albania Fellows are considered full-time employees of the host institutions and are subject to the Albanian laws and regulations. These standards prohibit Fellows from receiving any salary or any contribution or supplementation of salary from any source other than the LEAD Albania program. If outside activity that is uncompensated conflicts with your official duties, then you will not be able to continue that outside activity.

Service on advisory boards and other types of committees is evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine if Fellows may continue the outside activity based on the precise nature of the activity and the official duties performed while serving as an employee of the host institution in the program.

Are applicants required to submit financial disclosures if selected? What happens if there is a conflict of interest with my investments and my assignment?

Certain placements will require that a financial disclosure form be submitted.

Conflict of interest matters that arise will be handled on a case-by-case basis according to all applicable laws and regulations. If you have questions during the application process about potential conflicts of interest, please contact the LEAD Albania Program office to inquire.

Are applicants required to undergo a security and background investigation?

The winning Finalists recommended to the host institutions are required to submit comprehensive background information, and must be qualified to pass a security clearance. The winning Finalists must submit the following documents: penal certificate, the respective certificates from court and prosecution and the bailiff office certificate. The host institution may conduct further background investigation and certify your security clearance by the Albanian National Security Authority.

If it appears that a security clearance will not be possible, a winning Finalist will be notified by the Program Director and will not be able to become a Fellow.

Please be assured that all of this information is carefully protected and kept confidential. Panelists and Commissioners do not have access to background investigation information. Information provided by candidates who ultimately are not selected will be destroyed.

How is the class of Fellows selected?

The selection process is very competitive. The LEAD Albania Program staff screen the applications to identify the most promising candidates. Approximately 50 of the most qualified applicants are selected to be interviewed in the first round by a panel from the AADF. Based on the results of the interviews from the first round, Program Management selects approximately 30 candidates to proceed for the second round. The Selection Commission, which is comprised of representatives of AADF and prominent personalities from academia, public and private sector then interviews the group and recommends 10-15 outstanding candidates to host institutions for a one-year appointment as Fellows. These candidates interview with the respective principals of host institutions, who make the final decision.

How should I prepare for the interviews?

We recommend that candidates prepare as they would for any other interview. We also recommend the following:

• Knowledge of your application, as each application is carefully studied.
• Study current events. One of the essential qualities of a LEAD Albania Fellow is that they are citizens of the larger world.
• Be current on key issues in your professional field.
• Develop a clear articulation about why you should be selected.

What is required of first round selected candidates?

First round candidates are expected to participate in an interview that determines the selection of the candidates for the second round interviews with the Selection Commission. The interviews are scheduled in July and will take place in Tirana. Interviews are conducted by an interviewing panel created by the AADF. Travel arrangements are the responsibility of each selected candidate.

What is required of second round selected candidates?

The selected candidates from the first round are interviewed by the members of the Selection Commission on the LEAD Albania Program. Travel arrangements are the responsibility of each candidate.

How are interviews with the host institutions conducted and how is placement determined?

Two to three finalists are recommended to every host institution. The individuals who are recommended have to participate in a series of briefings and interviews with the principals of the host institutions to make the final selection and determine their fellowship work placements. Travel arrangements are the responsibility of each Finalist.

Can a Fellow remain in his/her placement after the Fellowship year?

The Fellowship year concludes in fall of the following year, and the program encourages Fellows to return to their communities and professions. The Fellow can be asked to continue at an agency, but not in their capacity as a Fellow.

What is the Education component?

The Education component augments and enhances the work placement experience. Fellows are expected to fully participate in the Education component, which includes seminars, workshops, trips, round-table discussions etc. Each class meets with dozens of individuals including the President of the Republic, Prime Minister, Ministers, members of justice institutions, senior government officials, Members of Parliament, military leaders, journalists, historians, business executives, leaders from non-governmental organizations, diplomats in Tirana and high representatives of other countries visiting Tirana.

Are Fellows provided with compensation and benefits like salary and health insurance during the program year?

The AADF shall provide Fellows with a full salary package, including health and social security, for the entire year. Their remuneration is equivalent in accordance with the pay scale of the government agency where assigned. The Program provides travel allowances for domestic and international travel, equipment for the workstations (if needed), and training allowances.

Does the Fellowship provide housing during the Fellowship year?

No. Fellows are responsible for their own housing arrangements.

Can Fellows receive outside income from other sources (private or public) during the program year?

LEAD Albania Fellows are considered full-time employees of the host institutions, they are part of the AADF payroll and are subject to the Albanian laws and regulations. These standards prohibit Fellows from receiving salaries or contribution from other sources.

Fellows cannot continue any outside activity that conflicts with official duties. Service on advisory boards and other types of committees are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

How are previously scheduled commitments or vacation handled during the Fellowship year?

The program year is a full-time commitment, with work, education, travel, and fellowship responsibilities. Almost all activities are mandatory. Only under special circumstances, and with approval by the Program Director, are Fellows excused from activities.

If you currently have a multitude of personal commitments, vacations, or issues, we strongly encourage you to reconsider the timing of the application. Each Fellow and the full class benefit most from full participation and engagement.

Where can I direct additional questions?

The program staff is available to provide assistance and answer questions. The staff can be reached Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM via email at leadalbania@aadf.org

Apply

Welcome!

We are now accepting applications for the 2023 Class of LEAD Albania Program. The application deadline is on Thursday, 17 March 2022, at 5:00 PM. This application is for the Program that will begin in the Fall of 2022.

The application is submitted only online and is composed of the following sections:

  1. General personal information;
  2. Education background;
  3. Employment history;
  4. Voluntary and civic activities;
  5. Contact details of minimum three recommenders (reference/recommendation letters will be requested and collected by the program management);
  6. Declarations regarding security and justice clearance (i.e. whether the person has not been convicted of criminal offense or felonies, etc.);
  7. Essays;
  8. Explanation about the motivation to become a Fellow.

Learn more about the selection criteria by clicking on This Link (Call for Application only in Albanian).
For reference and planning purposes see this Sample Application (only in Albanian). To start the application process, click here  (Only in Albanian)

The program staff is available to provide assistance and answer questions. The staff can be reached Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM via email at leadalbania@aadf.org.

News

  • 01.17.2022

    LEAD Albania – Call for Applications

    LEAD Albania – Call for Applications

    Albanian-American Development Foundation is now accepting applications for LEAD Albania Program 2023.

    For more information on LEAD Albania Program, eligibility criteria and how to apply visit: Albanian-American Development Foundation (aadf.org)

    To start the application click here: https://aadf.revzonecloud.com/

    The application deadline is on Thursday, March 17th, 2022, at 5:00 PM. This application is for the Program that will begin in Fall of 2022. The application is submitted only online. Applications submitted by email or delivered to the office will not be considered.

  • 11.17.2021

    Graduation Ceremony – LEAD Albania 2021

    Graduation Ceremony – LEAD Albania 2021

    In recognition of the successful accomplishment of LEAD Albania Program, 8 Fellows were graduated on November 17th, 2021. The graduation ceremony took place in the premises of the Palace of Congresses in the Albanology Hall. The new 9th cohort of LEAD Albania Program was introduced during this event. Chairman of the Board of Albanian-American Development Foundation (ADDF), Mr. Michael D. Granoff, Her Excellency, the Ambassador of the United States, Ms. Yuri Kim, Representative of the Government of Albania, the Minister of Education and Sport, Ms. Evis Kushi, shared their messages with the graduating and new Fellows, LEAD Albania Alumni and representatives of the Host Institutions and other attendees. AADF honored the Municipality of Tirana with the “Host Institution of the Year Award” in recognition of the excellent collaboration for LEAD Albania Program. At present, 5 LEAD Alumni are part of Tirana Municipality staff in leading roles and 1 new Fellow from the 9th Cohort will serve as the advisor of the Mayor.

    The newly announced fellows that will serve a one-year fellowship as advisers in the staffs of the highest government officials are:

    Alba Brojka in the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs,

    Donjet Gjoka in the Office of the Chief-Negotiator for Accession of the Republic of Albania to EU,

    Edlira Osmani in the Office of the High Inspector of Justice,

    Eno Muja in the High Judicial Council,

    Entela Çeliku in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development,

    Erblina Shehu in the Ministry of Finance and Economy,

    Fatri Morina in the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy,

    Joana Dhiamandi in the Ministry of Culture,

    Kreshnik Skenderi in the Municipality of Tirana,

    Ornela Bardhi in the Ministry of Health and Social Protection

    Tedi Dobi in the Prime Minister’s Office.

    Detailed Description 

  • 03.15.2021

    LEAD Albania – Call for Applications

    LEAD Albania – Call for Applications

    Albanian-American Development Foundation is now accepting applications for LEAD Albania Program 2022. LEAD Albania program is modeled after the White House Fellows Program in USA.

    For more information on LEAD Albania Program, eligibility criteria and how to apply visit: http://www.aadf.org/project/lead-albania/

    To start the application click here: https://aadf.revzonecloud.com/

    The application deadline is on Wednesday, March 31st, 2021, at 5:00 PM. This application is for the Program that will begin in fall 2021.The application is submitted only online. Applications submitted by email or delivered to the office will not be considered.

     

  • 02.18.2021

    AADF and General Prosecutor Office signed an MoU for the Implementation of LEAD Albania Program

    AADF and General Prosecutor Office signed an MoU for the Implementation of LEAD Albania Program

    On February 18th General Prosecutor Mr. Olsian Çela and Co-Executive Directors of AADF Mr. Aleksandër Sarapuli and Mr. Martin Mata signed a Memorandum of Understanding between Albanian-American Development Foundation and General Prosecutor Office for the implementation of LEAD Albania Program. Experienced legal professionals aiming to develop further their leadership skills will be able to contribute and gain an experience as part of the staff of General Prosecutor Office beginning this November, in the framework of LEAD Albania Program.

    Detailed description 

  • 02.04.2021

    Albanian-American Development Foundation and the High Prosecutorial Council signed an MoU for the Implementation of LEAD Albania Program

    Albanian-American Development Foundation and the High Prosecutorial Council signed an MoU for the Implementation of LEAD Albania Program

    Another great meeting, a fruitful discussion and the official start of a new cooperation with the High Prosecutorial Council for the implementation of LEAD Albania Program.

    A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed today in the premises of “ Poli i Drejtësisë” from the Chairman of High Prosecutorial Council, Mr. Gent Ibrahimi and Co-Executive Directors of Albanian-American Development Foundation (AADF), Mr. Aleksandër Sarapuli and Mr. Martin Mata. This MoU formalizes the engagement of KLP and AADF for cooperating for the implementation of LEAD Albania Program.

    Exceptional Legal Professionals will be offered the opportunity of a great work experience in this new governing institution of the Justice System.

    Detailed Description

  • 02.02.2021

    Albanian-American Development Foundation and Special Prosecution Office against Corruption and Organized Crime (SPAK) signed an MoU for the Implementation of LEAD Albania Program

    Albanian-American Development Foundation and Special Prosecution Office against Corruption and Organized Crime (SPAK) signed an MoU for the Implementation of LEAD Albania Program

    After High Justice Inspector and High Judicial Council, Special Prosecution Office against Corruption and Organized Crime (SPAK) becomes the third governing institution of Justice System that signs a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with AADF for the implementation of LEAD Albania Program. The MoU was signed today on February 2nd 2021, in the premises of SPAK by Chairman of SPAK, Mr. Arben Kraja and AADF Co-Executive Directors Mr. Aleksandër Sarapuli and Mr. Martin Mata. SPAK will be a Host Institution for LEAD Albania Fellows beginning on November 2021.

    Detailed Description 

  • 01.21.2021

    LEAD Albania in the new Governing Institutions of the Justice System

    LEAD Albania in the new Governing Institutions of the Justice System

    A Memorandum of Understanding was signed on January 21, 2021 between the Office of the High Justice Inspector and Albanian-American Development Foundation (AADF) for LEAD Albania Program. High Justice Inspector becomes the first one from the new governing institutions of the justice system added to the Host Institutions for LEAD Albania Fellows.

    Memorandum of Understanding signed by the High Justice Inspector, Mr. Artur Metani and Co-executive directors of AADF, Mr. Aleksandër Sarapuli and Mr. Martin Mata, envision the engagement of the parties for a partnering and collaborative cooperation for the implementation of LEAD Albania Program.

    High Justice Inspector, Mr. Metani considered the investment in LEAD Albania Program, as crucial for the long-term sustainable development of the country, through professionals with sound knowledge on good governance and public administration, acquired from the direct experience in the highest levels of the governing institutions of the country.

    Co-executive director of AADF, Mr. Martin Mata highlighted that LEAD Albania Program is successfully implemented from 2013 and each year fellows of the Program are placed as advisors in the staffs of the highest institutions of Albania: in the Office of the President, in the office of Prime Minister, in the Ministries and in the Municipality of Tirana and starting this year, AADF will also partner with the new institutions established by the justice reform.

     

  • 01.15.2021

    Call for Applications

    Call for Applications

    Albanian-American Development Foundation (AADF) is now accepting applications for LEAD Albania Program 2022. LEAD Albania program is modeled after the White House Fellows Program in USA.

    For more information on LEAD Albania Program, eligibility criteria and how to apply visit: http://www.aadf.org/project/lead-albania/

    To start the application click here

    The application deadline is on Monday, March 15th, 2021, at 5:00 PM. This application is for the Program that will begin in fall 2021.The application is submitted only online. Applications submitted by email or delivered to the office will not be considered.

  • 10.20.2020

    Graduation Ceremony – LEAD Albania 2020

    Graduation Ceremony – LEAD Albania 2020

    On October 14th, 2020, in the premises of the Palace of Congresses, in the Albanology Hall, took place the Graduation Ceremony of the current Class of LEAD Albania 2020 and the welcoming of the new Class of LEAD Albania 2021. Minister of State for the Relation with the Parliament, Ms. Elisa Spiropali, on behalf of the Prime Minister’s Office, virtually Mr. Michael Granoff, Chairman of the Board of the Albanian-American Development Foundation (AADF), AADF Board Member virtually and present, Co-CEO-s of AADF Martin Mata and Aleksandër Sarapuli, Members of Selection Commission, chiefs of staff of the Host Institutions and LEAD Alumni welcomed the class of 2021. The 9 new fellows that will serve a one-year fellowship as advisers in the staffs of the highest government officials are: Albana Karapanço in the Ministry of Finance and Economy, Arnisa Tepelija in the Ministry of Justice, Dhurata Milori in the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Elirë Mançaj in the Ministry of Culture, Ira Papagjika in the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, Moltinë Prebibaj in the Ministry of  Agriculture and Rural Development, Rodon Miraj in the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy, Rovena Elmazi in the Ministry of Education, Sport and Youth and Teuta Turani in the Ministry of Finance and Economy.

    Detailed description

  • 06.25.2020

    Lead Albania – Meeting with the Head of the Democratic Party

    Lead Albania – Meeting with the Head of the Democratic Party

    Roundtable discussions with high level leaders are a great opportunity provided to LEAD Albania Fellows during the Program timeline. Such opportunity was today’s meeting with the Head of the Democratic Party, Mr. Lulzim Basha who cordially shared with the Fellows his experience as a leader and the vision to serve and take Albania forward.

    Mr. Basha answered the fellows questions and discussed with them on the priorities and plans of the Democratic Party, on the electoral reform, public administration, youth employment and other issues.

    “I see LEAD Albania Program as a bridge for the employment of the best professionals in the public administration.” :said Mr. Basha to the Fellows.

    Detailed description 

Alumni

Alba Brojka – Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs

Donjet Gjoka – Prime Minister’s Office

Edlira Osmani – High Inspector of Justice

Eno Muja – High Judicial Council

Entela Hodaj-Çeliku – Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development

Erblina Shehu – Ministry of Finance and Economy

Fatri Morina – Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy

Joana Dhiamandi – Ministry of Culture

Kreshnik Skënderi – Municipality of Tirana

Ornela Bardhi – Ministry of Health and Social Protection

Tedi Dobi – Prime Minister’s Office

Albana Karapanço – Ministry of Finance and Economy

Arnisa Tepelija – Ministry of Justice

Dhurata Milori – Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs

Elirë Mançaj – Ministry of Culture

Moltinë Prebibaj – Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development

Rodon Miraj – Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy

Rovena Elmazi – Ministry of Education, Sport and Youth

Teuta Turani – Ministry of Finance and Economy

Amarildo Çeka – Ministry of Health and Social Protection
Anisa Duraj – Ministry of Culture
Anjeza Xhaferaj – Prime Minister’s Office
Bora Ylli – Ministry of Culture
Desara Dushi – Ministry of Justice
Elona Hasko – Ministry of Education, Sport and Youth
Fabjola Arapi – Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
Haris Vongli – The Presidential Office
Irena Myzeqari – Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs
Jonid Jorgji – Municipality of Tirana
Rei Naçe – Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy
Zerina Bruci –  Prime Minister’s Office

Besnik Maho – Ministry of Justice
Eltion Meka – Ministry for Europe and of Foreign Affairs
Enyal Lani – Ministry of Health and Social Protection
Ermal Telha – Ministry of Tourism and Environment
Eugena Topi – Ministry of Finance and Economy
Irola Andoni – Municipality of Tirana
Manjola Stefani – Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
Oerd Bej – Ministry of Education, Sport and Youth
Oltion Pengu – Prime Minister’s Office
Valbona Seranaj – Municipality of Tirana

Esmeralda Byberi – Municipality of Tirana

Nita Shala- Ministry of Internal Affairs

Jonida Burba – Ministry of Internal Affairs

Bledar Qalliu – Ministry for Europe and of Foreign Affairs

Doriana Matraku – Ministry of Education and Sport

Elena Pici – Prime Minister’s Office

Elkjana Gjipali – Ministry of Culture

Sidrit Tako – Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure

Ardit Cami – Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure

Orjola Shahaj – Ministry of Health and Social Protection

Alban Lila – Ministry of Economic Development, Tourism, Trade and Entrepreneurship

Soana Jaupllari – Ministry of Economic Development, Tourism, Trade and Entrepreneurship

Albana Hana – Ministry of Justice

Elfrida Bino – Ministry of Energy and Industry

Sabina Juka – Ministry of European Integration

Sonila Turshilla – Ministry of European Integration

Sashenka Lleshaj – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Emiljano Kaziaj – Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth

Enkelejda Hamzaj – Municipality of Tirana

Besarta Vladi – State Minister of Innovation and Public Administration

Bruxhilda Kito – Ministry of Interior

Dritan Palnikaj – Prime Minister’s Office

Ekflodia Leskaj – Ministry of Economic Development, Tourism, Trade and Entrepreneurship

Enton Duro – Ministry of Finance

Gerion Dhimo – State Minister for Innovation and Public Administration

Jonila Gabrani – Ministry of Health

Klodiana Beshku – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Lumturi Hoxha – Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure

Marsida Duli – Ministry of Health

Adanela Musaraj – Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Water Management

Besjona Mehmetaj (Dede) – Ministry of Education and Sport

Edmond Ahmeti – Ministry of Culture

Endri Mykaj – Prime Minister’s Office

Erton Graceni – Prime Minister’s Office

Gilbert Vigani – Municipality of Tirana

Julinda Mansaku – Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure

Sokol Bardhi – Ministry of Interior

Ujvara Ponari – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Admir Malaj – Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth

Bledar Dervishaj – Ministry of Justice

Dritan Fino – Ministry of Finance

Eduart Gjokutaj – Ministry of Finance

Elona Bano –  President’s Office

Ergis Sefa – Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth

Krislen Keri – Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure

Ledio Braho – President’s Office

Qamil Dika – Municipality of Tirana

Sokol Muça – Ministry of Education and Sport

Calendar

April

First round selection
Applicants are notified in April if they have been selected for first round interviews. If selected, they will receive a notification explaining the time and location for interviews.

May

First round interviews
First round interviews will be conducted by an AADF panel. The candidates selected for the second round of interviews with the Selection Commission will be notified of the time and location by e-mail.

June

Interviews by the Selection Commission
Candidates will be interviewed by the Selection Commission in the second round of interviews. These interviews will determine which Fellows will be recommended to the host institutions.

July

Interviews with host institutions
The finalists recommended by the Selection Commission will interview with principals at the host institutions.  Host institutions will make the final decision.

September/October

Final design of individual placements.
Fellowship year begins with an October launching ceremony.