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EMA Public Lecture on Participatory Democracy on Local Level

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The European Movement in Albania (EMA), in collaboration with “Aleksander Xhuvani” University, organized the “Enhancing Participatory Democracy at Local Level” public lecture, on May 21, 2012, in Elbasan. The Dutch Amba to Albania Henk G.C. Van Den Dool was the featered speaker of the event organized under the auspices of the "Strengthening participatory democracy and youth demands for institutional accountability in Albania” project.

EMA organized a public lecture on youth participation in Elbasan (Photo EMA)EMA organized a public lecture on youth participation in Elbasan (Photo EMA)

In her opening address, the Executive Director of EMA Gledis Gjipali emphasized the importance of youth participation in decision-making processes on local level as an effective instrument in the fight to improve institutional transparency and accountability. Gjipali also mentioned EMA’s several-year commitment and dedication to encourage participation and activism of the young generation in policy-making, as a promoter of democratic development.

Ambassador Van Den DOOL spoke about democracy and importance of participatory democracy. In his lecture, he analyzed the concept of democracy, drawing a parallel between Albania and other European countries. He criticised the administrative division of Albania – an element that to some extent contributes negatively in good governance and democracy. His analysis also focused on accountability of democracy as the most important element that portrays government’s performance. For this element to function properly, a high degree of public participation is required. Hence, continuous public interest, specifically throughout young people as the shapers of the future.

Teuta Toska, Vice Dean of the “Aleksander Xhuvani” University, was critical, in her address, of the lack of interest among students to get involved in the workings of the student council. According to Toska, the participatory democracy has its roots in the school environment. She called upon students to be more active and demand their rights throughout the student council, as the most important body that represents them in the decision-making process of each university.

The lecture was followed by an open discussion session where participants were eager to ask and hear the opinion of the ambassador.

The “Strengthening participatory democracy and youth demands for institutional accountability in Albania” project is supported by National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The lecture was attended by students and professors of the university. (Source: European Movement in Albania)

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