What happened at H.A.N.A Youth Center throughout January?
1. With the journalist Lutfi Dervishi, our young people were involved in a reflection on the meaning of belonging to the European community called the EU, whose superpower is the effort to bring education, integration of economies, social transformation as well as peace, among other things, to its own communities. Integration in it should not be seen as a mechanical displacement nor a “romantic” narrative, but a union with values, progressive culture and standards cultivated with effort. Geographically, Albania is the ‘front yard’ of the EU, but politically a country that first needed to be stabilized and then to belong (Stabilization-Association Agreement, 2006″). And so, the participants understood what are the efforts of the EU to help Albania in overcoming the barriers of membership, but also the reality of the necessity of assistance as an inevitable way to maintain the existing balances in the countries of the Union (example; a crisis of people leaving in Albania directly affects European destinations with an increased flow of emigration). We talked about the Negotiation Chapters and the colored indicators according to the progress in the “screening” process and how the country has to “cross” a rainbow to reach the green color for all the chapters and that in reality “Negotiation” does not mean compromise with EU standards. In addition, the center team would be happy to make the extended version of the lecture available to you.
2. In a planning session with a group of young people, we launched our coming efforts and work in the “Environmental Education” programmatic pillar of H.A.N.A. Initially, by engaging young people first (who have not been actively engaged in the center before) and secondly, by drawing up an initial plan of 2 activities to be implemented within February, as an important sub-issue of the center’s programmatic strategy (attention to special to waste management in Lezha).
The visit of some of the participants of our youth political education program with a special focus on Albania’s EU membership at the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs of Albania. The reason for the visit is related to the role of the institution in question as the holder of the Integration Portfolio, the drafting of diplomatic policies, the progress of relations with the European Union as well as the Negotiation of the 33 Chapters of the Acquis.
3. During January, H.A.N.A welcomed the LCC international university team to Lithuania to present their program offer to potential new students from Albania. We remain available to those who come in contact with this information and want to know more.
We met again in a second session to crystallize the work plan in the coming weeks regarding 2 events in particular; 1) the placement in the city of two installations built by H.A.N.A for the differentiated collection of cigarette butts, one of the most notorious non-biodegradable toxic pollutants of our common environment. 2) a unique exhibition that exposes and raises awareness about action against hate speech, extremism and online violence against girls and women.
4. With the media analyst in issues related to Albania’s accession journey in the EU, Çelik Rruplli, we discussed the phenomenon of disinformation as a very important aspect of building European consciousness. We illustrated it with some examples of the misinformation and propaganda machinery in action and at the service of corrupt, authoritarian and non-democratic governments. Thus, it was important to talk about how this awareness was attempted to be weakened in the events of the COVID-19 pandemic with the many conspiracy theories, the Russian invasion of Ukraine according to the false Russian narrative towards Ukraine as a country with a Nazi approach or even domestic models as the case of the government’s justification for the unreasonable increase in the price of energy as a comparative approach with Italy, whose citizens pay monthly bills of an average of 500 Euros, hiding the fact that within this value a multitude of services are billed under the electricity bill. The verification of news sources is essential to develop sound judgment and critical and productive thinking in society, so there is no important event from H.A.N.A that will not be crosscut by the topic of media information and gender equity.
5. Recently, we organized the third and last Cultural Afternoon of our youth political education program with a special focus on the country’s EU membership journey. A festive afternoon to recognize and celebrate the cultural and social values of the group of 9 remaining EU countries, fulfilling the mission of cultural acquaintance with the 27 member countries. Of course, according to the tradition that we have created from H.A.N.A, there was no shortage of traditional foods cooked by young people, songs and music of the respective countries, curiosities, games as well as dance.