The 27 graduates completed a one-year study cycle that includes lectures, study visits and research papers focused on good governance and important reforms in the country.
Deputy Speaker of Albania’s Parliament Ms. Vasilika Hysi, Swiss Ambassador in Tirana, Mr. Adrian Maître and the Head of the Council of Europe Office in Tirana Jutta Gützkow, distributed the certificates and congratulated the participants on this important moment.
The school’s programmme remains unique due to the fact that it brings together representatives of different political forces but also main decision-makers, local authorities, civic activists and opinion makers aiming the experience exchanging, dialogue facilitation and generation of new ideas.
Deputy Speaker Vasilika Hysi invited the graduates to offer their expertise to the parliamentary committees and the integration agenda of Albania. "It is in the interest of the country and of the Albanian Parliament, that all of you participants and alumni of the School, contribute with your expertise in the structures of the Albanian Parliament regarding negotiation of chapters of European integration and other consultative processes," said Ms. Hysi.
Swiss Ambassador Adrian Maître encouraged the young graduates to share and promote the values of leadership change, dialogue and openness. “Positive change comes from agents of change and these are individuals and groups with values, new ideas and visions. Also, with the courage and boldness to bring these values, ideas and visions forward and implement them. I see here today 27 agents of change”, stated Ambassador Maître.
The Head of Council of Europe Jutta Gützkow emphasized the important role played by the School and its alumni network in transmitting the values of the Council of Europe in Albania. “Nowadays European democracies are exposed to many threats and it is more than ever important to reinforce democratic societies based on a political culture marked by pluralism, tolerance and dialogue”, she said.
Director of the Academy of Political Studies Mr. Erjon Tase, thanked both Council of Europe and Swiss government for their support. “Albanian society needs political dialogue and confidence for a better future. The graduates of the School are a positive example and provide hope for those disappointed young people who want to leave Albania”.
Alumni Admir Malaj shared his success story of how a four-year campaign and civic activism together with Tirana students of Pharmacy achieved ratification by Albania of the Council of Europe convention on pharmaceutical safety "Pharmacopeia".
The ceremony continued with the annual celebration meeting of the school's alumni network.
The Academy of Political Studies started in Albania in 2007 as part of a Council of Europe network 21 schools in emerging democracies in Eastern and Southeastern Europe. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) supports the Academy as part of its democratic governance programme in Albania.