October 19, 2023 – In an insightful session of the “Open Seminars,” the Institute “Sami Frashëri” and the Center for Advanced Studies (CNS) hosted Prof. Asoc. Ardit Bido, Director of the Albanian Archives. The seminar took place on Thursday, October 19, 2023, and focused on the contentious issue of ethnic self-declaration during Albania’s population census, particularly concerning the Greek minority in southern Albania. Prof. Bido’s latest book, “The Battle for 20 Percent,” served as the basis for a riveting discussion on the topic.

Key Insights from the Seminar:

Prof. Bido illuminated the audience on the strategies employed by Greece and Greece-backed groups aiming to inflate the Greek-speaking population figures in certain Albanian municipalities to reach a 20 percent threshold. According to a law passed in 2017, achieving this percentage would enable the introduction of the Greek language in public spaces within these regions.

The discussion highlighted how Greek authorities, leveraging various forms of coercion, attempt to influence Albanian policies, particularly in the context of Albania’s path toward European Union integration. These tactics are seen as part of broader efforts to assert Greek interests in southern Albania, often at the expense of Albanian sovereignty and the interests of its citizens.

Albanian Authorities’ Response:

The seminar shed light on the perceived weakness of Albanian authorities in countering these external pressures effectively. It was noted that while there is an awareness of these attempts by Greek authorities and affiliated groups, a robust and assertive stance to safeguard Albania’s interests remains lacking.

Implications for Albania:

The discussion underscored the critical importance of conducting a fair and transparent census process that accurately reflects the demographic realities of the country. It also called for a stronger diplomatic and policy response from Albanian authorities to ensure that the interests of Albania are prioritized and protected against external influences.


The seminar, “The Battle for 20 Percent,” provided a comprehensive analysis of the challenges surrounding ethnic self-declaration in Albania’s population census and the external pressures affecting this process. The event highlighted the need for Albania to fortify its stance against undue external influences and underscored the significance of safeguarding national sovereignty in the face of geopolitical maneuvering. The insights offered by Prof. Bido offered a crucial perspective on the dynamics at play in southern Albania and the broader implications for the country’s future.

Sami Frasheri Institute
Rruga Pjeter Budi,
Qyteti Studenti, Tiranë

June 9, 2023 – The “Open Seminars” series, renowned for its insightful discussions on geopolitics, recently welcomed Dr. Emir Hadzikadunic, a former ambassador and esteemed expert in Balkan security. The seminar focused on the evolving American strategy in the Balkans, which Dr. Hadzikadunic critically evaluated, offering his profound insights into the implications of this new ‘software’ for the region.

A New Strategic Vision:

Dr. Hadzikadunic presented an analysis of the current American strategy that proposes dividing the Western Balkans around three spheres of influence—Serbia, Croatia, and Albania. He argued that such an approach could undermine the interests of smaller states like Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, and Montenegro, potentially destabilizing the region.

Realism vs. Liberal Principles:

The seminar delved into the realist underpinnings of this strategy, which prioritizes the interests of more powerful nations. Dr. Hadzikadunic cautioned against this approach, suggesting it might invite other regional actors like Italy, Turkey, and Hungary to pursue their ambitions similarly, fostering a competitive environment for influence in the Balkans and across Europe.

Dr. Hadzikadunic criticized the selective application of realist and liberal principles, highlighting the dangers of allowing some actors to operate under realist logic while others are expected to adhere to liberal norms. He advocated for a consistent and fair application of a liberal, rules-based international order that ensures equal treatment of all states in interstate relations and within international institutions.

Advocating for a Liberal, Rules-Based Order:

Emphasizing the importance of a liberal, rules-based order, Dr. Hadzikadunic argued for the equitable treatment of all actors on the international stage. He stressed that favoring major powers at the expense of smaller states could lead to instability and conflict, undermining efforts to achieve lasting peace in the Balkans.

Reflections and Policy Implications:

Dr. Hadzikadunic’s seminar raised critical questions about the viability and consequences of adopting a realist approach in the Balkans. His insights highlighted the need for policymakers to reconsider this strategy, advocating for an approach grounded in norms and rules rather than power politics to ensure the region’s long-term stability and security.

The “Open Seminars” series continues to provide a vital platform for exploring complex geopolitical issues, fostering a deeper understanding among participants and encouraging informed discussions on the future of the Balkans and beyond. Dr. Hadzikadunic’s thought-provoking presentation underscored the significance of adopting a principled stance in international relations to safeguard the interests of all nations, regardless of their size or power.

June 5, 2023 – In a compelling session of the “Open Seminars” series, Prof. Dr. Enver Bytyci, a renowned expert in geopolitical studies, presented an in-depth analysis of Russia’s strategic maneuvers in Eastern and Southeastern Europe, particularly against the backdrop of the ongoing crisis following Russia’s occupation of Ukraine. This discussion, centered around Prof. Bytyci’s latest book, “Russia’s Geopolitics in Eastern and Southeastern Europe,” drew attention to the intricate dynamics of power and influence in the region.

Insightful Analysis from Years of Research

Prof. Bytyci’s work, representing nearly two decades of rigorous research and analysis, aims to unravel the complexities of Russia’s geopolitical strategies. The seminar highlighted Russia’s aggressive posture towards its neighbors, emphasizing a strategy designed to ensure their continued dependency and subjugation, starkly contrasting with the more multifaceted approaches adopted by other global powers.

Serbia’s Role in the Geopolitical Landscape

A notable point of discussion was the parallel drawn between Serbia’s and Russia’s behaviors towards their respective neighbors. Prof. Bytyci elucidated how Serbia’s objectives go beyond mere territorial ambitions, seeking the extermination of the populations in the territories it occupies. This aggressive stance finds a counterpart in Russia’s geopolitical ambitions, with both nations fostering a relationship grounded in mutual interests rather than shared cultural or historical ties.

The Absence of an Albanian National Strategy

The seminar delved into the critical issue of Albania’s lack of a coherent national doctrine and strategy to counteract the anti-Albanian strategies propagated by Serbia. This gap, Prof. Bytyci argued, leaves Albania vulnerable to external pressures and manipulations, underscoring the need for a more robust and proactive stance in the international arena.

Current Tensions in Kosovo

Addressing the situation in Kosovo, Prof. Bytyci posited that while an escalation into open conflict seems unlikely, the prevailing conditions remain fraught with uncertainty and potential volatility. This observation underscores the precarious balance of power and influence in the region, necessitating vigilant observation and strategic foresight.

A Platform for Critical Discourse

The “Open Seminars” series continues to serve as a crucial platform for exploring and understanding the geopolitical intricacies of Eastern and Southeastern Europe. Prof. Bytyci’s seminar not only provided a thorough examination of Russia’s and Serbia’s geopolitical ambitions but also highlighted the significant challenges and considerations facing the region.

The session, rich in detail and analysis, is available for further viewing to provide audiences with a comprehensive understanding of the topics discussed. Prof. Bytyci’s insights contribute significantly to the ongoing discourse on regional and international geopolitics, offering valuable perspectives on the complex landscape of Eastern and Southeastern Europe. Watch the full conversation here.

April 15, 2023 – The Institute “Sami Frashëri” hosted an engaging session of “Open Seminars” featuring young and talented writers Bler Vaka and Marinela Sela. The seminar, dedicated to the theme “Young Writers: The Challenges They Face and the Opportunities They Present in the Literary World,” provided a platform for an in-depth discussion on the landscape of emerging writers in Albania.

Seminar Insights:

The session illuminated the intricate journey of young writers in Albania, marked by unique challenges and potential breakthroughs in the literary scene. Bler Vaka and Marinela Sela shared excerpts from their creative works, showcasing their distinct storytelling styles and emotional depth, which resonated with the audience.

Key Challenges Highlighted:

  • Limited Access to Resources: Both speakers touched on the scarcity of support and resources available to budding writers, highlighting the struggle to gain recognition and find platforms for their work.
  • Lack of Institutional Support: The discussion also addressed the need for more robust institutional backing for writers, underscoring the importance of creating more opportunities for young talents to flourish.
  • Navigating a Path in Literature: Vaka and Sela shared insights into their personal journeys, discussing the perseverance required to make a mark in the competitive field of literature.

The Role of New Writers in Cultural Shaping:

The seminar delved into the significant impact young writers have on Albania’s cultural fabric, emphasizing the need for initiatives that support and promote emerging literary voices. The discussion called for enhanced mentorship programs, writing seminars, and platforms for young writers to showcase their work.

Engage Further with the Seminar:

Attendees and those interested in the vibrant world of Albanian literature are encouraged to engage further with the themes discussed. While specific YouTube links to the session are not provided in this summary, the Institute “Sami Frashëri” frequently updates its platforms with content from “Open Seminars.”

About “Open Seminars”:

“Open Seminars” fosters a rich environment for intellectual exchange, where scholars, writers, and the public come together to explore societal challenges and cultural trends. By featuring voices like Bler Vaka and Marinela Sela, the series highlights the dynamic contributions of young writers to the Albanian literary landscape, advocating for a more inclusive and supportive community for emerging talents.

Date: March 15, 2023

In a compelling session of the “Open Seminars” series, hosted by the Institute “Sami Frashëri,” Dr. Ardian Muhaj, a distinguished historian and researcher at the Institute of History, presented an insightful analysis titled “Deconstructing Serbian Myths about Kosovo.” This discussion brought to light the enduring influence of Serbian historical myths on contemporary political narratives and their role in legitimizing past and ongoing acts of aggression towards the Albanian population in Kosovo.

Key Highlights from the Seminar:

  • Historical Paradigms: Dr. Muhaj emphasized the critical role these myths have played as historical paradigms, shaping not only the Serbian genocide against Albanians but also continuing to affect the current political climate regarding Kosovo.
  • Legal and Historical Contestation: The seminar explored Serbia’s contestation of Kosovo’s citizenship, distinguishing between legal contestation—diminished by the International Court of Justice—and historical contestation rooted in these myths, which remain unchallenged by the Albanian elite, particularly in diplomatic engagements.

Myth Deconstructions Presented by Dr. Muhaj:

  1. Kosovo as a Serbian Word: Challenging the internalization of this myth by Albanian studies, Dr. Muhaj questioned the Slavic etymology of “Kosovo,” suggesting an alternative analysis that casts doubt on its Slavic origin.
  2. Serb Majority in the Middle Ages: Dr. Muhaj refuted the politically constructed myth of a Serbian majority in medieval Kosovo, citing the lack of serious historical data and demographic records from the era.
  3. The Battle of Kosovo in 1389: The seminar critically examined the purported Battle of Kosovo, with Dr. Muhaj arguing against the historical validity of such an event and describing it as a multifaceted political myth serving Serbian political interests.
  4. Albanian Colonization during Ottoman Rule: Dr. Muhaj addressed the foundational myth that Albanians colonized Kosovo during Ottoman rule, a narrative that has underpinned Serbia’s policies of ethnic cleansing and colonization towards Albanians.

The Importance of Myth Deconstruction:

Dr. Muhaj highlighted the urgent need to deconstruct and politically defunctionalize these myths to counter their use in justifying violence and oppression against Kosovo’s Albanian population. By critically examining and challenging these narratives, the seminar aimed to foster a more accurate historical understanding and prevent the further exploitation of these myths for political gain.

Engage Further with the Seminar:

For those keen on delving deeper into Dr. Muhaj’s critical examination, the full seminar discussions are available through the following YouTube links, offering a comprehensive overview of each myth addressed:

  • Myth Analysis and Introduction: Watch Here
  • The Battle of Kosovo and Serbian Majority: Watch Here
  • Legal Contestation and Historical Myths: Watch Here
  • Deconstructing Albanian Colonization Myth: Watch Here

About “Open Seminars”:

“Open Seminars” continues to foster an intellectual environment where scholars and the public converge to explore and critique contemporary societal challenges. Through the lens of experts like Dr. Muhaj, the series enriches the discourse on pivotal issues affecting the Balkans and encourages a more nuanced understanding of historical and political narratives.

February 18, 2023 – At a recent session of “Open Seminars,” Dr. Mentor Beqa, the Director of the Institute “Sami Frashëri,” addressed the critical issue of unchecked political party power in Albania and the potential lessons to be learned from the American political system.

Key Insights from the Seminar:

Albania’s political landscape is characterized by the dominant influence of political parties across all spheres of governance, leading to a significant imbalance in the country’s checks and balances system. Dr. Beqa outlined the current state where political parties, upon gaining power, effectively control the legislative, executive, and judicial branches, undermining the democratic principle of separation of powers.

Comparative Analysis with the American System:

  • Separation of Powers: Dr. Beqa highlighted the United States’ political system, which is founded on a clear separation of powers among an independent judiciary, the executive branch, and a bicameral legislature. This structure ensures that no single entity gains overwhelming control.
  • Checks and Balances: The American system’s checks and balances act as a safeguard against the concentration of power, a model that Albania could emulate to mitigate the influence of political parties.

Proposed Reforms for Albania:

  • Establishing an Independent Judiciary: A genuinely independent judiciary is crucial for upholding the rule of law and ensuring that political parties cannot unduly influence legal outcomes.
  • Decentralization of Power: Introducing measures to decentralize power would prevent the central government from wielding unrestricted authority.
  • Strengthening Independent Media and Civil Society: A vibrant and independent media and active civil society are essential for holding political parties accountable and ensuring transparency in governance.


Dr. Beqa’s seminar shed light on the pressing need for Albania to reform its political system by adopting principles from the American model to establish a more balanced and democratic governance structure. By implementing a system of checks and balances, Albania can safeguard against the excessive power of political parties and ensure a more equitable political environment.

For a more in-depth understanding of Dr. Beqa’s analysis and recommendations, the full seminar is available for viewing at this link.

January 17, 2023 – In the last session of the “Open Seminars” series, organized by the Institute “Sami Frashëri” and the Center for Advanced Studies, Dr. Çelo Hoxha, Director of the Institute for the Study of Communist Crimes (ISKK), presented a compelling analysis on the topic: “The Illegitimacy of Communist Power in Albania.” This seminar offered a profound exploration into the unlawful establishment and operation of the communist regime in Albania, highlighting its extralegal nature from its inception to its dissolution.

Seminar Highlights:

  • Illegitimate Foundation: Dr. Hoxha argued that the Communist regime in Albania was installed unlawfully, with the Albanian Communist Party (later the Party of Labour) remaining an occult, extrajudicial entity never registered by any Albanian state institution or document.
  • Acknowledgment of Illegality: Referencing historical documents, Dr. Hoxha noted that even the leaders of the Communist Party acknowledged this illegitimacy but failed to take any measures to legalize the party within the Albanian state’s legal framework.
  • Public Oversight: This critical aspect of Albania’s history has been largely overlooked by the public discourse, emphasizing that Albania was effectively governed by an illegal organization from 1944 until 1991.
  • Violence and Suppression: During the discussion, Dr. Hoxha highlighted the disturbing fact that between 1939 and 1950, the communist forces were responsible for more Albanian deaths than any occupying army, including the Italians and Germans.

About the “Open Seminars”: This intellectual platform, developed by the Institute “Sami Frashëri” in Tirana and the CNS in Sarajevo, facilitates critical discussions on contemporary societal challenges. The seminars aim to engage scholars, students, and the public in meaningful dialogue on various topics.

Impact of the Seminar:

Dr. Hoxha’s presentation not only shed light on a pivotal yet underexamined aspect of Albanian history but also encouraged a reevaluation of the narratives surrounding the communist era in Albania. By examining the extralegal foundations and actions of the Communist Party, the seminar urged a critical reassessment of the period’s legacy and its implications for Albania’s historical and legal understanding.

For those interested in delving deeper into Dr. Hoxha’s analysis and the broader implications of his findings, the complete discussion is available for viewing at this link.

December 25, 2022 – In a thought-provoking session of “Open Seminars” organized by the Institute “Sami Frashëri” and the Center for Advanced Studies, Prof. Asoc. Dr. Fabian Zhilla, a leading figure in the “No More Shame” movement, addressed the critical issue of the detrimental effects of ‘trash’ TV shows on public ethics. The seminar titled “Public Ethics and Mass Media” took place with Dr. Vehap Kola, where Prof. Zhilla emphasized the growing concern over the vulgarization of culture and its implications, particularly for the youth.

Key Highlights from the Seminar:

  • Cultural Vulgarization: Prof. Zhilla, referencing Robert Pattison’s “The Triumph of Vulgarity: Rock Music in the Mirror of Romanticism,” delved into how culture is being reshaped under the influence of vulgar content in media. He argued that the unchecked spread of vulgarity threatens to undermine civilization by replacing elite culture with a distorted reflection of societal values.
  • Hypersexualization in Reality Shows: The discussion highlighted the issue of hypersexualization in reality TV programs, critiquing it as a redefinition of art that strips it of its subtlety, finesse, and educational value.
  • The Role of Shame: Prof. Zhilla advocated for a dual approach involving public backlash and regulatory measures by the state. He particularly focused on the concept of ‘shame’ as a moral regulator, distinguishing it from legal instruments by its ability to facilitate a personal relationship with values, virtues, and principles.

Cultivating the Institution of Shame: The seminar explored how cultivating a sense of shame could prevent the vulgarization of culture and art. By reintroducing nuanced, educated public debates on the topic, society’s expectations for the quality of art and culture can be elevated, creating an audience that inherently rejects vulgarity.

The Dominance of Vulgarity: Prof. Zhilla lamented the current dominance of vulgarity in political, artistic, and cultural discourse, highlighting it as not just a legal violation but a deeply shameful phenomenon.

About “Open Seminars”: This intellectual discussion platform, developed by the Institute “Sami Frashëri” in Tirana and the CNS in Sarajevo, hosts bi-weekly meetings in Tirana. It aims to stimulate critical approaches to contemporary societal challenges. Students who regularly attend the seminars are awarded certificates of attendance by the organizers.

For a deeper insight into Prof. Zhilla’s discussion on the negative impact of media on public ethics and the broader cultural implications, the session is available for viewing at this link.

December 9, 2022 – In a profound exploration of security dynamics within the Balkans, Prof. Asoc. Dr. Ilir Kalemaj, Deputy Rector of New York University of Tirana, led the latest session of “Open Seminars” hosted by the Institute “Sami Frashëri” in Tirana and the Center for Advanced Studies (CNS) in Sarajevo. The seminar titled “Security in the Balkans: Cooperation versus Rivalry” delved into the intricate balance between historical contexts and contemporary developments, shedding light on the region’s current security architecture.

Key Highlights from the Seminar:

  • Diachronic and Synchronic Analysis: Prof. Kalemaj presented a comprehensive analysis that spanned both historical and current perspectives, focusing on how past events continue to influence present-day security concerns in the Balkans.
  • Impact of Russia’s Aggression in Ukraine: The seminar explored the repercussions of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine on the European security framework and its specific manifestations in the Balkan region.
  • Serbia’s Strategic Dependence: A significant portion of the discussion was dedicated to examining Serbia’s strategic dependency on Russia, juxtaposed against its economic orientation towards the European Union.
  • Societal Dynamics in Serbia: Prof. Kalemaj offered insights into Serbian society, discussing nationalist trends, societal divisions, and the aspirations of a segment of the population advocating for peaceful relations within the region.
  • Political Rivalries in Serbia: The conversation highlighted the competitive nationalism within Serbia’s political elite, with Alexander Vučić portrayed as a relatively moderate partner for the West.
  • Balkan Vulnerabilities: The seminar identified weak points in the Balkans, such as Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo, and how these vulnerabilities could be exploited by external actors like Russia to destabilize the region.
  • International Interest in the Balkans: Despite a resurgence of attention from the USA and the EU, Prof. Kalemaj emphasized that global strategic interests are increasingly focused on the Pacific and Southeast Asia, affecting the level of engagement in the Balkans.

Albanian-Serbian Relations: Prof. Kalemaj stressed that resolving issues between Albania and Serbia is crucial for establishing strategic stability in the so-called Western Balkans, with the normalization of Kosovo-Serbia relations seen as a top priority.

Dynamic Audience Engagement: The seminar fostered a lively exchange of ideas and opinions, with Prof. Kalemaj engaging with a dynamic audience focused on critical issues pivotal to the future of peace and security in the Balkans and the role of Albanians in the region.

About “Open Seminars”: This intellectual platform for discussions is a collaborative effort between the Institute “Sami Frashëri” Tirana, and CNS Sarajevo, offering bi-weekly meetings open to the public. Regular attendees, particularly students, are awarded certificates of attendance by the organizers, further incentivizing engagement and learning.

For those interested in a deeper dive into Prof. Kalemaj’s analysis and the broader “Open Seminars” series, the session is available for viewing at this link.

Tirana, Albania – In an ambitious move to address the critical shortfall in meaningful public dialogue within Albania and the broader Balkan region, the Institute “Sami Frashëri” in Tirana, alongside the Center for Advanced Studies (CNS) in Sarajevo, announces the commencement of the “Open Seminars” initiative. This innovative platform is set to challenge the prevailing trends of partisan rhetoric, journalistic clichés, and the oversimplification of complex issues that currently dominate the public sphere.

Background of the Initiative:

The “Open Seminars” initiative emerges against a backdrop of a dire need for substantive dialogue and critical thinking in the Albanian and Balkan public discourse. The pervasive social anomy, a product of the education system’s failure to address societal challenges and the local civil society’s focus on external concerns, underscores the urgency for a forum that fosters genuine intellectual engagement.

Purpose and Objectives:

Designed as a vibrant agora for idea exchange, the “Open Seminars” aim to cultivate a public space where critical social, political, economic, and cultural issues are not only discussed but made accessible to a wider audience. This forum intends to:

  • Facilitate Access: Open avenues for students and the public to engage with significant societal topics.
  • Raise Awareness: Enhance understanding among various community segments about pivotal events and phenomena.
  • Educate Youth: Provide youths with a comprehensive portfolio of ideas and arguments for public discourse.
  • Foster Intellectual Networks: Establish a collaborative network of intellectuals dedicated to shaping Albania’s future direction.
  • Promote Intellectual Exchanges: Encourage dialogue between Western Balkans intellectuals, enriching the cultural and academic landscape.

Targeted Audiences:

The “Open Seminars” specifically target students, young professionals, and the general public, aiming to engage them in meaningful discussions that transcend conventional boundaries and encourage a deeper understanding of societal complexities.

How It Works:

Convening bi-monthly in small, interactive groups, the seminars will cover a range of topics under the guidance of expert lecturers. While primarily designed for in-person engagement, the initiative also includes online sessions and recorded broadcasts to ensure broader accessibility and participation.

Through the Lens of Critical Thought and Collaboration:

The “Open Seminars” represent a significant step towards reinvigorating the intellectual and public discourse in Albania and the Balkans. By addressing the contemporary societal challenges with a multidisciplinary approach and fostering an environment of critical thought and dialogue, the Institute “Sami Frashëri” and CNS are poised to build a rich intellectual ecosystem that not only confronts but also transcends the current limitations of public debate.

As the “Open Seminars” initiative unfolds, the organizers invite all interested individuals to join this transformative journey of learning, discussion, and intellectual growth, marking a new chapter in the Balkans’ quest for a more informed and engaged society.