Itena HoxhallariAlbania (Host: Making Cents International)
Itena holds a Bachelor degree in Philosophy-Sociology from the Social Sciences Faculty of Tirana University, Albania. Currently she is a PhD candidate in Sociology at the same University. Itena has eight years of work experience in the nonprofit sector. While working as a project officer at “Children Are the Future” organization in Albania, Itena has coordinated several projects aiming at the improvement of education quality and empowerment of children and youth in disadvantaged areas. She has worked closely with schools through awareness-raising and consultation meetings, capacity building trainings, and workshops with students, teachers, and parents. Her studies and work experience have helped her gain a deep understanding of various issues concerning youth and education in Albania and she is highly committed to the development of a socially just society, where children and youth have equal chances to develop and realize their full potential. Itena likes focusing on topics of education, capacity building, youth and human rights at national and international level.
Host Organization : Making Cents International
Role at Host Organization : Itena will support the YouthPower.org learning hub and YouthPower Learning webinar series, which provides a learning platform that strengthens the positive youth development field across all sectors (Health, Education. She will also participate in the planning of the annual YP meeting and contribute to social media outreach.
Beltina GjeloshiAlbania (Host: Impact 2030)
Beltina has over six years of experience in the nonprofit sector. Originally from Albania, Beltina carried out her studies in the United States and lives in Italy. She is a trilingual international development professional with a Master’s degree in Global Development and Peace (2015) and a Bachelor’s degree (summa cum laude) in International Political Economy and Diplomacy (2013) from the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut. More recently, she completed international training in counter-terrorism at the United Nations Association of Italy in Rome (2016). As a technical consultant at the District Directorate Anti-Mafia in the prosecutor’s office in Venice, Italy, she helped implement operations to counter organized and drug-trafficking crimes in Italy and throughout Europe. Previously, Beltina worked with a New York City-based, state-funded nonprofit as an office manager and facilitator teaching life skills, adult education, and vocational rehabilitation to indigents and the disabled of all ages. Beltina also has worked for a community-based nonprofit to help refugees, asylum seekers, and victims of human trafficking transition in the United States, serving as a translator and a point of contact for resettlement in their new communities in Bridgeport. While advancing her studies, Beltina has consistently inquired into human development and international relations issues, delivering reports and supporting faculties’ publications and research journals while facilitating undergraduate and graduate courses in economic development, human security, and criminal justice. Additionally, her experiences at the United Nations headquarters provided Beltina the opportunity to take part in the Arms Trade Treaty (2012) and Sustainable Development Goals (2014) negotiations as an advising reporter. Beltina serves her community through active involvement in support of social justice causes and emergency preparedness with the Red Cross and the Volunteer Civil Protection of Italy. Through these experiences, she has developed leadership in community engagement, conflict analysis, writing, editing, and education management. Beltina enjoys focusing on gender equality and economic development, and she has a strong passion for education and women’s empowerment.
Host Organization: Impact 2030
Role at Host Organization: Beltina will serve as The Action Team and Project Officer and will be the voice of IMPACT 2030 in the Action Teams as they are being developed and as support as they are implemented. No. 2 under the guiding principles is where Beltina will have the most impact. She will work together with the local Regional Voice Lead (RVL) and the RVL manager to ensure that there is consistency of information flow and goals/milestones are met in a timely manner, and she will aid in the facilitation of increased participation in the Action Teams as warranted.
Gentian MingaAlbania (Host: Voice of America)
Gentian has 14 years of experience in Media, and earned a Bachelor’s of Journalism from the University of Tirana in Albania. While he worked in different printed and electronic Media, he developed strong communication skills. Though his work at its early stage focused on show business, lifestyle and entertainment, he showed a strong passion and interest toward social issues, using entertainment industry and its popularity to give voice to vulnerable social categories. Not many Media expert have been using entertainment industry for social and human rights purposes. Previously Gentian has worked with UN Albania and UNDP Albania in a fancy project, focused on deaf pupils abilities and talents, under the slogan “People with limited abilities but with unlimited talents.” He has leveraged entertainment, show business and lifestyle media to give voice to social and human rights causes and campaigns.
Host Organization: Voice of America
Role at Host Organization: Gentian will identify and research news and feature stories about American life, thought and institutions that are of interest to the Albanian target audience in the Balkans, and will be called upon to conduct interviews. He will expand his skills in journalism and storytelling and produce TV reports for international broadcast and/or digital content for the Albanian Service website and work at its social media outreach.
Sara ÇapalikuAlbania (Host: Internews)
Sara has two years of experience in the nonprofit sector, and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Law, from University of Tirana, Albania, an “Undergraduate Exchange Student Award” at University of Texas at Austin and
a Master’s of Arts Degree in European Studies from the University of Applied Sciences in Bremen, Germany. As an Open Society Foundation Fellow of the “Undergraduate Exchange Program,” she lived and studied for one year in the U.S. and studied sociology. During her year in the U.S., Sara was a volunteer for two nonprofits, working in grassroots’ level in East Side Austin. As a Master’s student, she was awarded a grant from the Jean Monnet Leadership Programme to implement her Community Project “In from the Margins”, in Albania, focusing on social and educational needs of marginalized children/youth in the extremely poor suburbs of Tirana. Through fundraising for this project she helped 30 beneficiaries with school supplies, and books. Currently, she is working as a Youth Trainer for the Youth Project of the nonprofit Mary Ward Loreto Foundation, in Tirana (Albania).Sara’s responsibilities as a Youth Trainer consist in designing and developing MWL Youth Leadership Programme, targeting youth located in highly marginalized rural areas in Albania; leading the Awareness-raising Training sessions on Human Anti-trafficking in more than 15 vulnerable areas of the country; supporting the Line Manager in implementing project’s economic empowerment strategy for youth; collaborate for fundraising activities, and widen the network with third parties. Due to her job, Sara is part of various European Anti-trafficking Networks, such as RENATE (Religious in Europe Networking Against Trafficking and Exploitation), ANDANTE (European Alliance of Catholic Women’s Organizations), and URAT (United Response Against Trafficking). Through these experiences, she developed strong community-based project coordination skills, as well as, abilities to create innovative implementation ways in grassroots level. Sara enjoys focusing on youth empowerment, education, training on human anti-trafficking, and is very passionate about lobbying for human rights, fundraising and policy making.
Host Organization: Internews
Role at Host Organization: Sara will help Internews build new strategies that incorporate youth development and counter people-trafficking using the organization’s core capacities in media and information. Her tasks will include coordination across staff, consensus-building, administration and logistics for consultants, research, and supporting representation with partners and donors.
Ingrid XhafaAlbania (Host: Peace Development Foundation)
Ingrid has three years of experience in the nonprofit sector, and earned a Joint Master’s of Arts in Public Policy from the Central European University in Hungary and University of York in United Kingdom. Just recently she worked as a Program Development and Quality Manager for Junior Achievement in Albania, where she was responsible for development and evaluation of programs in the organization major areas of expertise (youth entrepreneurship education, financial literacy and work readiness). She works with businesses and communities in ways that help create, retain and enhance jobs and economic opportunities. As a policy analyst, she assisted in analyzing the socio-economic conditions and agriculture policies of several municipalities in Albania, in the framework of drafting the new local territorial plans under the USAID Planning and Local Governance Project. Ingrid has worked in tourism destination management and development, and in related community involvement matters, related to integrated urban economic development, tourism improvement districts, multi- stakeholders integrated management of rural and cultural tourism, and planning and catalytic investments for social cohesion and sustainable tourism development. Moreover, Ingrid has a regional experience in the Western Balkans, having researched and drafted action plans on
social sustainability and citizen engagement practices, under the World Bank’s Urban Partnership Program. Ingrid enjoys focusing on the topics of social and economic development particularly related to disadvantaged communities, and has a strong passion for tourism development, as an important sector for sustainable growth.
Host Organization: Peace Development Foundation
Role at Host Organization: Ingrid will foster a direct management relationship with grassroots community organizations that are fiscally sponsored by PDF. She will respond to inquiries from groups seeking to join the program, most of which she will manage. She will also have a role as a participant in PDF’s annual Community Organizing Grant Cycle, supporting the staff management team in Amherst and the PDF board in making grant decisions.
Edison FranguAlbania (Host: OpenGov Hub)
Edison has 13 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. He earned a Bachelor’s of Law from the University of Tirana in Albania. While continuing his law studies, Edison has been engaged in several youth organizations with a
wide scope of activities including human rights, environment, governance, social care programs under the leadership of organizations like British Council, Eden Center, Beyond Barriers, Albanian Life Quality Union, Walk Together etc. These experiences equipped Edison with a vast knowledge concerning social phenomena, versed him with organizational, managerial and leadership skills to promote, maintain and achieve longstanding objectives on behalf of the communities in need. From 2013, Edison entered the public administration service as a specialist of Foreign Relations in the local municipality of Kamza, Tirana where he was appointed as a Senior Advisor to the Mayor of Klos Municipality in Albania. These two official governmental positions have provided Edison with the opportunity to learn and understand fundamental problems from within the Albanian public administration, problems that require immediate reforms and to be in the grassroots of the rural problems and in touch directly with the inhabitants. Edision is passionate about reforming the public administration of Albania, helping improve the social polarization and inequality in rural zones and empowering youth.
Host Organization: OpenGov Hub
Role at Host Organization: Edison will help to connect and facilitate the sharing of resources among organizations in Opengov Hub’s network of leading international organizations working on transparency, accountability and civic participation around the world.
Dorena DyrmishiAlbania (Host: Young Professionals in Foreign Policy)
Dorena has six years of experience in the nonprofit sector, and earned a Bachelor’s of Business Administration and a Master’s of Science in Business Administration from the University of Tirana, Albania. She has been working as
Event Coordinator for around 5 months in a known company in Albania, which organizes big conferences for organizations such as UNDP, UNICEF, OSBE, World Bank, and UN Women, among others. She is responsible for organizing meetings, social programs, conferences, and similar business events in Albania. Dorena has been part of Peace Corps Albania as a short-term Medical Assistant and full time Administrative Assistant for the U.S. Peace Corps office in Albania. She has also been working for three years as Head of Human Resources at Unique Junior Enterprise, a very active student organization operating in the Faculty of Economics. She has vast experience working with people from all over Europe on different projects, since she has been involved in several activities of the Erasmus program part of European Commission, such as training, youth exchanges, seminars and conferences in Albania and abroad. Through her experiences and volunteer work, she has developed strong interpersonal and communication skills and the ability to work effectively in a fast-moving, multi- cultural environment.
Host Organization: Young Professionals in Foreign Policy
Role at Host Organization: Dorena will be responsible for conducting financial and market research, assisting the Chief of Staff to maximize volunteer effectiveness, improving the organization’s HR system, and helping manage organizational and program budgets. She will work with the Executive Team to contribute to the development and implementation of organizational strategies, policies, and practices.
Marilo MetaAlbania (Host: Open Government Partnership)
Marilo Meta has over four years of experience in various social change sectors. He has certificates in Political Leadership and Cognitive Law from the Elita Professional Academy in Albania, as well as a Master of Science in Information Technology and Communications and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Computer Science from the University of Tirana at Albania. Marilo is the President of the Leadership Development Association of Albania, a global and independent nonprofit run by and for young professionals. Prior to that he served as the advertising and public relations marketing manager for the Albanian Police Force, and a computer services department manager for NOA Financing. Marilo served as a marketing coordinator for AEGEEE Tirana, a position in which he advocated for increased solidarity and activism towards gender equality. Marilo is a computer scientist with strong communication and organizational skills, with a keen interest in building a career in the field of international relations for nonprofit organizations, digitalization of communication and marketing of international solidarity and humanism.
Host Organization: Open Government Partnership
Role at Host Organization: Marilo will discover and map Open Government Partnership’s organization-wide and team-specific practices of gathering, managing and sharing information and knowledge. Marilo will also contribute to other IT and data management needs.
Celstina MucollariAlbania (Host: Next Door Solution to Domestic Violence)
Celstina has 11 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. She earned a Master of Science in Organizational/School Psychology from the University of Tirana in Albania. While working as psychologist and project coordinator, she actively supports women’s rights through education, counseling and advocacy initiatives. Celstina has experience leading and organizing field projects to promote community engagement and spur concrete actions to elevate the status of women in the family and society. She specializes in the prevention of domestic abuse, gender based-violence and aggressive behavior among youth. Celstina has also served for five years as an Assistant Professor at the University of Shkodra. She has participated in a Community Solution Program, where she gained leadership skills and effective strategies for increasing participation in community development projects. Celstina has received several trainings and certificates abroad. Through these experiences she developed strong interpersonal and communication skills and the ability to work in multicultural environments. She has a strong passion for social justice and enjoys traveling.
Host Organization: Next Door Solution to Domestic Violence
Role at Host Organization: Celstina will provide both individual and group support, peer-counseling, and appropriate learning to children, youth and families that have experienced domestic violence. She will work closely with the Support Group Coordinator to plan, implement, and evaluate programming for children and youth. Additionally, she will work with parents to access resources and services related to children/youth and parenting.