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, 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.
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.
Prime Minister’s Office, Ministries, Office of the President 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.
Ms. Musaraj studied biochemistry at Tirana University and holds a Ph.D. in Biology from the same university. Her research work focused on acid base balance in cerebrospinal fluid and arterial blood. Currently she is finalizing a research grant at the Italian National Research Council (CNR) on management and utilization of food resources aimed at sustainable agriculture and forestry, and at the mitigation of climate change effects. Adanela has also published several scientific papers in international journals, including Alexandria Journal of Medicine and American-Eurasian Journal of Sustainable Agriculture, and has co-organized international scientific conferences in Albania. She began her career as a chemist at the Regional Hospital Durres. She recently lectured at the University of Durres, Faculty of Professional Studies, Department of Medicine and Toxicology. Adanela is also engaged in voluntary initiatives with the Roma community. Host institution: Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Water Management
Besjona Mehmetaj (Dede)
Ms. Mehmetaj graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Tirana University and is currently pursuing a PhD in the field of early childhood and development of individual potential at the same university. She specializes in early childhood studies and focuses on quality of parenting. She was a member of a task force of the International Step by Step Association to establish a framework on quality services for early childhood. Upon graduation, she worked for five years as psychologist at the Municipality of Tirana, Economic Center for Children’s Development and Education. She also lectures psychology classes at a private university in Tirana. In her spare time, she volunteers at Romani Baht Albania Foundation, a Roma Human Rights Advocacy Organization. Host institution: Ministry of Education and Sport
Mr. Ahmeti is currently pursuing a PhD at the European University of Tirana, where his area of focus is intellectual property. He earned a master’s degree in Business Management from the same university and previously studied law at the Tirana University. Edmond is a lawyer and legal advisor at “Legal Advice”, a pro bono initiative, where the main goal is to offer free legal advice for people in need. During his law studies, he co-founded a student organization to promote students’ rights. He has worked as a lawyer at the Albanian Insurance Bureau and lectured civil procedure and intellectual property at a private university in Tirana. Edmond also served as sales and marketing director in a private company. Host institution: Ministry of Culture
Mr. Mykaj holds a master’s degree in International Business Law from Coventry University, United Kingdom and a law degree from Tirana University. He has a passion for international law, both public and private international law. He recently worked for Wolf Theiss, one of the leading law firms in Central and Eastern Europe, where he had the opportunity to be part of legal projects for several corporate clients, international organizations, NGOs and governmental entities. He has worked as a legal consultant for Kalo & Associates and other Albanian law firms, as a lecturer at a private university in Tirana, and as a student ambassador at Cambridge Education Group in United Kingdom. Endri is a co-author of various legal articles and textbooks published by the International Bar Association, Thomson Reuters, Sweet & Maxwell etc. He has participated in various programs, trainings and conferences related to good governance, democratic development, constitutional design, rule of law and policy advice. Host institution: Prime Minister’s Office
Mr. Graceni holds a master’s degree in Business Management & Technology from Sheffield University and Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology from Tirana University. He completed an Executive MBA in Leadership Development at Harvard Business School. He has worked as a Business Development and Sales Manager and Consultant for several local and international IT companies. Erton founded his own company in the field of IT infrastructure, software development, GIS and mobile applications. He has worked on projects with governmental and international organizations like World Health Organization, UNDP, GIZ, several ministries, State Police, etc. He is the Chairman of Young Entrepreneurs Society of Albania, a non-profit organization whose aim is to improve the business and social performance of young entrepreneurs in Albania. He is also a volunteer and donor for Compassion, a charity organization in Albania. Host institution: Prime Minister’s Office
Ms. Mansaku is a graduate of Tirana University, where she studied law. She received a Master’s degree in Civil Jurisprudence and another Master’s degree in European Studies, Legislation and EU Institutions from the same university. She has also participated in trainings on International Contracts for Construction from the World Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, USAID, etc. Her professional career started as attorney for a law firm in Tirana and then she worked in the procurement department at the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, Youth and Sport. Recently, she worked as legal adviser and lawyer at the Albanian Road Authority, where she coordinated, monitored and evaluated major projects in the road infrastructure financed by World Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and European Investment Bank. Julinda is an active volunteer of the Association for Integration of Informal Areas as trainer and legal expert. Host institution: Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure
Mr. Bardhi holds a Bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from Tirana University and a Master’s of Science in Business Information System from the University of East London in United Kingdom. Recently, he worked as technical manager in a private company in the field of security systems and information technology solutions. Sokol co-founded his own company, which successfully developed some of the first commercial applications in the Albanian market. In his early career, he worked as technical manager for several private companies. Mr. Bardhi is also the co-founder and head of an association for electronic communication (PORTAL), which aims at promoting information technology development in Albania. Host institution: Ministry of Interior
Ms. Ponari holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business and International Relations from the University of the West of England, Bristol, United Kingdom, and is completing a Master of Arts in Human Rights from Vienna University, Austria where she is also serving as the Student Representative. In addition she is member of BRIDGE, an alumni association. She worked as a project assistant at SECI-Southeast European Cooperative Initiative which is a regional initiative encouraging cooperation among member states and facilitates their integration into European structures. Ujvara has been part of the staff of the 7th Vienna Economic Forum and the European Forum Alpbach 2007, which is an international interdisciplinary congress gathering 2,800 participants from around the world. Recently, Ujvara worked as First Secretary of the Albanian Mission to International Organizations in Vienna. She has volunteered for charity organizations like AGAPE and Habitat for Humanity. Host institution: Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The LEAD Albania program management and the selection commission will look into the following criteria when selecting Fellows:
Other qualities include:
The online application will go live on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 on the AADF website and must be submitted with supporting documents by March 15, 2014 at 17:00 PM (CET). It is recommended that submission of the application is a few days earlier than the deadline in case of technical difficulties.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Other qualities include:
These qualities combined with the strength of one’s character are taken into consideration when selecting a class for the Program.
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.
Interested candidates can apply online at the application section of our website. All applications must be submitted with supporting documents by March 15. Please see application section for more details.
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.
Applications must be submitted online by March 15, 2015 at 5:00 PM. Please be advised that it is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that his/her application has been transmitted in its entirety.
Applicants must hold Albanian citizenship, dual citizenship is acceptable.
There are no age restrictions. However, the Fellowship program was created to give selected Albanians the experience of public service early in their careers.
No, fellowships are awarded strictly on a non-partisan basis.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
No. Fellows are responsible for their own housing arrangements.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
The application for the 2016 Class of LEAD Albania Program will go live on 15th January 2015 and will remain open until 15th March 2015, at 4:59 PM (CET).
LEAD Albania, the fellowship program sponsored by the AADF, introduced the class of 2015 appointees in a ceremony at the Prime Ministry of Albania. LEAD Albania is derived from the White House Fellows Program and 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, Ministries, and Municipality of Tirana. The new class of Fellows have diverse backgrounds and professions, and have shown a strong commitment to public service and leadership. The selected candidates are: Adanela Musaraj, Besjona Mehmetaj, Edmond Ahmeti, Endri Mykaj, Erton Graceni, Gilbert Vigani, Julinda Mansaku, Sokol Bardhi and Ujvara Ponari.
Albanian Attorney General, Mr. Adriatik Llalla met with the LEAD Albania fellows to discuss the role of the judiciary in Albania’s path towards European integration. Mr. Llalla gave a short presentation about the organization and functioning of the Prosecution Office and he also gave insight on the institution’s fight against corruption and organized crime. Fellows inquired about the latest developments and reforms on the anti-mafia law, bureau of investigation, cyber-crime, institutional cooperation between the Prosecution Office and other law enforcement agencies and the role of the media.
The LEAD Albania Class of 2014 attended a workshop on Leadership Development in Brussels, Belgium which gave the fellows the opportunity to develop their skills and meet with high level officials of the European Union institutions. The visit, which was organized by Ambassador Mimoza Halimi and the AADF gave the fellows the opportunity to learn about Albania’s European Union integration process. The Management Centre Europe organized trainings on topics such as Leadership Concept and Trends, Strategic Elements of Leadership and Critical Thinking and Decision Making. It was a pleasant coincidence that a week after the visit to Brussels, Albania received EU candidate status!
Mr. Clive Rumbold, Charge d’Affaire of the European Union Delegation to Tirana and Head of the Political, Economic and Information Section, welcomed the LEAD Albania Class of 2014. The meeting began with a discussion about Albania’s progress towards European Integration and the current issues the country is facing. Mr. Rumbold informed the fellows about the advantages of attaining EU candidate Status including funding under the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) which would help Albania carry out comprehensive reforms and strategic investments. Mr. Rumbold highlighted the political criteria that Copenhagen has specified as key priorities for Albania: fighting corruption and organized crime, strengthening the judiciary, reinforcing the protection of human rights and implementing public administration reform.
Fellows are currently conceptualizing the structure for the Alumni network which will promote LEAD Albania in the years ahead.
First round selection
Applicants are notified in March/April if they have been selected for first round interviews. If selected, they will receive a notification explaining the time and location for interviews.
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.
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.
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.
Final design of individual placements.
Fellowship year begins with an October launching ceremony.