Commemorating 33 years of Albania’s transition to democracy, a diverse panel convened by #SCiDEV to discuss the significant challenges faced in the country’s current civic landscape. The panel, comprising activists, media professionals, academics, representatives of civil society organizations (CSOs), and youth, engaged in a critical dialogue on the issues confronting Albanian society today.

At the heart of the discussion were pressing concerns about a shrinking civic space. The panelists shed light on a representation crisis, challenges with civil rights, and a prevailing culture of non-reactiveness, often chosen over counteracting injustice. This trend has been further exacerbated by widespread corruption. Alarmingly, media pressures, the delegitimization of civil society, and the misuse of digitalization for spreading disinformation and propaganda were identified as major hurdles.

As the conversation progressed, it became evident that maintaining integrity in such a challenging environment is a daunting task. Both panelists and participants underscored the need for continuous and sustainable education on these critical issues. There was a strong consensus on the importance of CSOs, the media, academia, and activists uniting in their advocacy efforts, particularly in countering narratives dominated by political interests.

The youth participants, a vital component of the discussion, stressed the necessity of extending such dialogues to universities across Albania. They aim to challenge preconceptions among young people, stimulate debate, and foster participatory education.

HE Karl Bergner, the German Ambassador in Albania, joined this reflective corner and shared his insights at the end. Ambassador Bergner’s emphasis on the need for dialogue and the inclusion of various viewpoints from different stakeholders was a highlight, inspiring the youth to persevere in their efforts despite the time it may take to see tangible results.

Mr. Dan Bolger, Senior Media Officer at the OSCE Presence in Albania, delivered losing reflections on the importance of protecting independent media as a beacon of truth, and his commitment to providing concrete support to counter attacks on media freedom was particularly resonant.

The event concluded with heartfelt thanks to all panelists and participants for their candid and insightful contributions. At SCiDEV, the commitment to fostering ongoing dialogue and empowering the youth remains steadfast.

This significant event was organized as part of the Week of Integrity by the International Chamber of Commerce in Albania, with the support of the OSCE Presence in Albania.