LDA Albania delegation represented Republic of Albania in the world largest event WFYS2017 in Sochi, Russia!


My statement after the successful participation on the WFYS in Russia 2017:

An unprecedented honor to represent the Albanian nation for the first time in this worldwide festival.

The organization which I led, “LDA Albania & Kosovo” was the only organization in the Republic of Albania who gave the opportunity to the Albanian state to be represented with a delegation of 20 young people in Sochi, Russia, among 30,000 young people from 180 countries.

I can trustworthy say that was not just a milestone but a dream and an ideal realized by young people by promoting solidarity, peace and social justice, a story to write, a start for a mission, an international vision that we will reach…

Time to Counter the Narrative!

History reveals that religion has been used to construct different narratives, of such narratives many have harmed humanity. Unfortunately, many of the countries have passed through these religious narrative constructions’ revolutions. If such revolution has taken place 50 years ago, when can we say that it was possible, but, if this has happened in last 30-35, then it’s a shame – where religion has been used for lobbying, self-interest, and exploiting humanity.

Let me take you to Pakistan – a country having over 193.2 million people, of them, approximately, 97 percent are Muslims. You won’t believe that this country is prouder of the religious Islamic identity rather than national. Eventhough Pakistan is an Islamic republic country, still it faces national identity crisis because of religious narrative – constructed by Saudi Arabia with the support of some others. This religious narrative where Islam was used to exploit the local people, has ruined Pakistan’s every walk of life.

Once Upon a Month: Six-One

(For a better experience, read while listening to James Paget’s “The Hero Within”. Available at: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gC0WlU0NtM)

[Command Center]

The small group was mostly seated, save a few pacing about as they tried quietly to contain their anxiety and excitement. Several pairs of eyes watched the large flat screen TV; the performance was about to begin.

[Region 1, Blue Violet]

Brigette leafed through the files Agah her deputy had left on the oak table from yesterday. Her quick scan done, she pushed the pile away as there was nothing of interest or urgently needing her attention. She was thinking of heading out to grab a cup of coffee when the door opens and Agah walks in. He has an envelope in his hand with the emblem of Regional Head Quarters.

Dads being cool about raising girls

I would like to believe, anyone that has met me, knows my attitude in regards towards gender equity. I my share opinion honestly, I laugh loud, I am committed to the Marvel cinematic universe and sometimes appreciate the DC one and I wear pants because dresses are off-putting for me.

I’m not saying these are inherently male attributes but they might not necessarily be seen or perceived as particularly feminine either because of the way we have been socialized. For whatever reason however, I am comfortable doing these things and do not think I am any less woman as a result. One of the contributing reasons is my dad who has done an alright job in not making me think otherwise.

#InternationalWomensDay – Kudos to Climate Heroes

For over a century March 8th was chosen to represent International Women’s Day, a global day to acknowledge the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity and equality.

This year I decided I won’t celebrate IWD by acknowledging famous leaders only, but also by celebrating some women I met in my life. These women changed my perspective and influenced me to thrive and give back to the planet. To these women, to my climate heroes here’s a heartfelt thank you!

Why do we celebrate Women’s Day ?

International Women’s Day is annually held on March 8 to celebrate women’s achievements throughout history and across nations. It is also known as the United Nations (UN) Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace.

(Photo Credit: International Women’s Day 2018 campaign theme:
#PressforProgress )

Much progress has been made to protect and promote women’s rights in recent times. However, nowhere in the world can women claim to have all the same rights and opportunities as men, according to the UN. The majority of the world’s 1.3 billion absolute poor are women. On average, women receive between 30 and 40 percent less pay than men earn for the same work. Women also continue to be victims of violence, with rape and domestic violence listed as significant causes of disability and death among women worldwide.

Don’t be an impactless leader nor an extremist activist !

Since the Arab springs started, civil society has boomed, mainly in Tunisia and Egypt, unfortunately for the other countries that weren’t as lucky. In Tunisia, more than 10,000 civil society organizations were founded after 2011, more than the total number of organizations registered from the independence in 1956 until 2010.
2011, I was in my freshman year in Tunis Business School and I couldn’t imagine the opportunities that just opened before my eyes. It felt like the construction work for a new and better Tunisia has just began.
More organizations that want to created a positive impact, more people engaged, mostly youth, and active members of the new Tunisia. With all the ups and downs, police and oppression being present at every turn of events. Youth kept fighting, innovative ideas in every aspect of life were popping up everywhere as actual spring unfolds.
I was there and I miss it very much ! I have seen as well many friends rising and shining and many friends failing, losing hope and fleeing the country for a better future.
Now, from Washington DC, I learned more about international CSOs and changemaking processes and learned more from success and fail stories of people I had the honor to meet during my stay. Here are is my advice to the new generation of change makers around the world:
1- Extremism:
People can do crazy things by their commitment to a cause and take things to the extremes. It’s very noble and important to be committed and devote your time and effort to the cause, but if you devote too much of your life, it is the wrong way to do it, and you will not achieve your desired goals/impacts.
This is a mistake I did, few years ago, it’s like when you love your sports team too much that you join the hooligans putting your life to risk and your future as well. My advice is to have a balance between your personal life, your cause and your occupation. And remember, work is a never-ending task, so just take it easy and don’t use yourself too much. Otherwise, you will burnout*. Trust me it’s terrible. After that you will feel disappointed, exhausted and you will lose your motivation and you will, GOD forbid, opt out and you get a job or for some money…. that is a win for the evil side of the cause.
Solution: Find the equilibrium and keep on fighting !
2- Mercenariness:
If you are reading this, there is a great probability that you are a brilliant member of civil society, a great activist in your community/country. My advice to you is to be aware of the traps of international development organizations. They will offer you a great ”salary”, that you won’t reject, for your brilliant level of expertise, think twice what they are paying for; your expertise or something else?
So you start your new job, happy with the illusion that you can achieve more impact for your cause since you are now in a bigger organization, but that implies that you have less time for your organization/initiative, and slowly you will be faced by a decision to leave your own organization that you built with your bare hands, sweat and blood. Then your organization fades into the darkness of unsolvable social issues.
I want you to think about it, how much did you sell your potential positive impact that you were going to achieve it through your own organization ? … wait, let me rephrase, Think about how much did you sell your dream or mindset to international organizations ?  I am sure that you don’t agree with many things at your new job, but you will stay because you are selfish and became monotonous and boring. If you work on economic empowerment and entrepreneurship, you will see the ”startuppers” (founders of startups), their job is to grow their company and then sell it to a bigger company. Civil society doesn’t work like that my friend. If you sell you organization, you sell your dreams, yourself, and the dreams of other people that you ”empowered”.
I understand that financial stability is key in one’s life, but please don’t lie to people, don’t lie to your community.
3- Impactless Work
 In this world, there are two types of people: activists and civil society workers.
While you can decide to be who ever you want, I really don’t like the civil society professional mindset.
Here is a description of each type:
– Work something he/she likes and is passionate about solving it.
– Loves the social issue and works towards achieving and providing solutions to the cause.
– Will gather a team to do a project even when there is no money, because the whole team believes in the impact of the idea and don’t wait for the donors’ approval
– Will go the extra mile for a better impact
Civil Society Worker:
– Usually an office clerks (project manager or coordinator)
– Cares about pictures to submit to the partners more than the actual project and people affected
– Cares about his/her career
– May or may not be interested in the cause the organization is working on
– Focus on worthless details while forgetting about the bigger picture.
Please don’t get me wrong, you can be an activist and also a project manager and still do field work, it is not impossible and there is no shame in doing field work, it’s what this world is built on.
*Burnout: a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress and/or intellectual work. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands.

One month in Boston!

One month is probably not a long enough period of time to have accurate experience insights to share. Yet, here I go!

1. I made it here!

I never thought that I will one day be part of MIT D-Lab’s team in Cambridge, Boston, and here I am. I have the opportunity to be here through Atlas Corps, to be part of this team of smart and friendly individuals, to be immersed in the design for development experience to alleviate poverty in the world, and luckily enough, and to be part of a project taking place in Morocco, my home country!

Why Sport for Development is an effective tool in tackling youth development issues

Sport has the power to change the world.

It has the power to unite in a way that little else does.

It speaks to youth in a language they can understand.

Sport can create hope where once there was only despair.

It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers.

It laughs in the face of all types of discrimination.

Nelson Mandela

Disha! Welcome to Chicago. If you don’t find this blog funny, you are a hater!

Disha is a very special friend and classmate. Like many of Class 24 fellows she is IRONIC. I had to do a tour guide again for a new visitor. My tours guide style usually the most sarcastic one in Amman, Chicago and Beirut. (My areas of guiding expertise). Also this time my visitor is someone actually understands all my point of views (or all my jokes).
First I introduced her to the most segregated city, or at least a big city. read more on this link: http://www.chicagomag.com/city-life/March-2017/Why-Is-Chicago-So-Segregated/

Credit to Ali Attalah