Memory Days


24‒28 OCTOBER 2016, TIRANA















On 24 to 28 October 2016, Institute for Democracy, Media & Culture (IDMC) in partnership with Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) organized in Tirana the first edition of MEMORY DAYS entitled: "Memory as a mission".

MEMORY DAYS were initiated to bring in the center of attention of the society dealing with the past process, as long as there is not a day which is recognized and accepted from all for the crimes and consequences of communist regime. More than 60 experts and 25 initiatives, private and state institutions, working within the country and abroad, highlighted before a wide and interested audience their work and projects in the field of memory. The high number of audience during these days showed the interest that society has for these topics, which we do not find in political agenda and that of the media.

MEMORY DAYS is conceived as an annual event with a special topic in focus. During a week representatives from schools, education centers, associations of former persecuted, historians, journalists, local and foreign experts in the field of curriculum share their experience with each other. During these days the guest actors can present their projects and initiatives. The goal of the activity is to support a wider and public confrontation with the Albanian history, especially with the dictatorship.


Download information about the MEMORY DAYS activities:

Full activities' program (293 KB)

Booklet with more information about the activities (751 KB)

Information about COLD WAR exhibition (13.1 MB)




MEMORY DAYS was opened in a special ceremony on Monday evening, 24 October 2016 by Dr. Jonila Godole, executive director of IDMC and Mr. Walter Glos, director for KAS. Later on the ceremony was greeted by Ms. Romana Vlahutin, Ambassador of European Delegation and Ms. Anke Holstein, deputy ambassador of Germany. Dr. Ulrich Mählert, representative of Federal Foundation for the Study of Communist Dictatorship in East Germany presented the "Cold War: Reasons, History, Consequences" exhibition, which stayed opened during all days of the activity. After that Dr. Agron Gjekmarkaj, researcher and professor at the University of Tirana had the keynote speech entitled: "Albanian Perspective as Part of the European Memory". The speech supported the general motto of the activity that the communist past of Albania and its consequences are part of the history of Europe.

The first day ended with the screening of the "Children of Dictatorship" documentary directed by Besnik Bisha, production of IDMC, which has in its center four persons born and grown up in the internment camps.

Participants were admitted to a cocktail that allowed conversations with guests and the public until late in the evening.
















Second day of the activity was dedicated to the international conference on curricula entitled: "DEALING WITH THE PAST THROUGH SCHOOL CURRICULUM". Experts from Central and Eastern Europe shared their experience in the revision of history textbooks and learned about the current curriculum in Albania. The conference opened in a plenary session moderated by Dr. Jonila Godole (IDMC) with the participation of Ms. Nora Malaj, Deputy Minister of Education and Sports, Mr. Genc Pollo, chairman of the Parliamentary Education & Media Committee, and the historians Prof. Valentina Duka, dean of the Faculty of History and Philology, and Prof. Romeo Gurakuqi, European University of Tirana. Each of them made a brief presentation of the situation of the curriculum in school, problems and challenges for the revision of history textbooks.

The opening plenary session was followed by three panels in the first half of the day. Panel I: "Curriculum Development after 1990 – Problems and Challenges", was moderated by Ms. Elsa Ballauri, director of the Albanian Group for Human Rights, with the participation of Dr. Ulrich Mählert from the Federal Foundation for the Study of Communist Dictatorship in East Germany, Mr. Gerti Janaqi, director of the Institute for Educational Development, Tirana and Prof. Radu Preda, President of IICCMER, Bucharest and Ms. Vytene Muschick, expert for the curriculum and educational programs, Lithuania.

Panel II: "Applied History in Eastern Europe" was moderated by Prof. As. Eva Tafili Hyskaj. Foreign experience in this panel was brought by Dr. Neela Winkelmann, Managing Director of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience, Prague, Mr. Vincent Lungwitz, Forum Civil Peace Service (ZFD), Pristina, Ms. Kinga Hartmann-Wóycicka, Coordinator of German-Polish projects, Görlitz and Ms. Karolina Dziełak, European Network Remembrance and Solidarity (ENRS), Warsaw.

Panel III: "Applied History in Albania and Region" was moderated by Dr. Gentian Kera, professor at the University of Tirana in the presence of Ms. Luljeta Lleshanaku from the Institute for the Study of Crimes and Consequences of Communism, Tirana, Dr. Enriketa Papa, professor at the University of Tirana, Faculty of History and Philology, Mr. Adis Hukanović, project coordinator at Forum Civil Peace Service (ZFD), Sarajevo, Ms. Fatmiroshe Xhemalaj, Ambassador of the European Association of History Teachers (Euroclio) in Albania and Bilal Kola, director of the Institute for the Integration of former Political Persecutees, Tirana.

The surprise of the activity was massive involvement of young people and projects they have carried out individually and in groups, on different topics such as everyday life before 1990s, the persecution of the Catholic clergy in Mirdita, sites of memory etc.

The second day of MEMORY DAYS ended with the interesting panel "Attitude of Young Generation Towards the Dictatorship", an initiative of OSCE and RTSH. This panel was moderated by Rezar Balla with the guests Prof. Afrim Krasniqi, director of the Albanian Institute of Political Studies, Tirana and Prof. Nevila Nika, professor at the European University of Tirana.













The third day aimed to bring together different actors dealing in the field of memory under the motto: MEMORY AS A MISSION.

The first session "Projects and Initiatives in the Field of Memory" was moderated by Ms. Elira Çanga, OSCE Presence in Albania and the participants learned more from Mr. Pjerin Mirdita about the projects organized by "Site of Witness and Memory", in Shkoder. Mr. Migen Qiraxhi, presented the work of the Albanian Institute of Political Studies, Tirana, Mr. Nehari Sharri, presented the projects of Forum Civil Peace Service (ZFD), Pristina, Mr. Uran Butka, with those of the Institute for Albanian Studies "Lumo Skëndo" and Mr. Luigj Mila presented the work of Justice & Peace Organisation, in Shkoder. Dr. Rrapo Zguri & Valbona Bezati, presented the online platform of IDMC titled "Albanian Observatory of Memory".

The second session had in focus particularly the work done by the associations of the former persecutees, and that of the museums and research institutions. Moderation was conducted by Dr. Jonila Godole (IDMC), and the panel included Mr. Bilal Kola, Director of the Institute for the Integration of former Political Persecutees, Tirana, Mr. Simon Mirakaj, Head of the Association of Democrat Former Political Persecuted, Mrs. Arjeta Kokalari, Musine Kokalari Museum, Gjirokastra, Mr. Miran Butka, Institute for Studies of Crimes and Consequences of Communism, Mr. Filip Guraziu, deputy director, Association Former Political Persecutees, Shkodra and Mr. Gëzim Peshkëpia, "The Spaç Project".









In the context of MEMORY DAYS, a special ceremony was organized for the winners of the ASK YOUR GRANDPARENTS multimedia competition that was launched on 18 May 2016 as a confrontation between generations so that memory is not lost.

The ceremony was opened by Dr. Jonila Godole, executive director of IDMC, who thanked all young people for their interest in the competition and their interesting works in bringing this topic, still taboo for the Albanian society. In his address, Mr. Walter Glos, director of the German foundation Konrad Adenauer in Albania and supportive of the activities of IDMC, noted how little has been done and how much more needs to be done in the field of memory in Albania. According to him, in the context of a society that has done only a little about the past, the ASK YOUR GRANDPARENTS competition is a courageous and important project.

According to Ms. Malaj, deputy minister of the Ministry of Education and Sports, these creative initiatives, such as the competition of IDMC must be taken into consideration when reflecting about the curriculum because memory according to her is a necessity for the path of democracy. While the German deputy ambassador, Ms. Anke Holstein, shared with the audience the tough experience of her grandfather during World War II and said that the beauty of these evidences is their authenticity. According to her, the competition is an incentive to work more in the field of memory.

Present at the awards ceremony was the former Commissioner for the Stasi files and deputy Board of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Ms. Hildigund Neubert. She said that opening files will have evidence of scary things that have happened, but we must not forget that in there we will find the evidence of resistance, as well.

The awards ceremony was moderated by Mr. Eno Popi, also a member of the jury. The competition announced 7 winners: one first place, two second places, three third places and the prize of the social network.



IDMC as organizer of this activity thanks all the participants for their interest for the topic, as well the partners: Konrad Adenauer Foundation, German Embassy, Ministry of Education and Sports, Ministry of the Social Welfare and Youth, and the sponsor of the prizes Telekom Albania.














MEMORY DAYS was closed with the activity entitled: "OPENING THE SIGURIMI FILES – SOONER THE BETTER".

The activity was opened by Walter Glos, director of KAS and it was greeted by Mr. Bernd Borchardt, Head of the OSCE in Albania and Ms. Anke Holstein, Deputy Ambassador of Germany. The keynote speech was "Opening the Files – Meeting an Obligation" by Ms. Hildigund Neubert, Deputy Board Chairman, Konrad Adenauer Foundation, former Commissioner for STASI Files, Thüringen, Germany. The speech of Ms. Neubert was followed by the speeches of Mr. Edmond Spaho, Deputy Speaker of the Albanian Parliament, Ms. Luljeta Lleshanaku, Director of Studies at the Institute for the Studies of Communist Crimes and Consequences in Albania and Ms. Gentiana Sula, Former Deputy Minister of the Ministry of the Social Welfare and Youth.

Panel I: "Sigurimi Victims – Psychological Trauma until Today", moderated by Mr. Adrian Kati, the Albanian Rehabilitation Center for Trauma and Torture, included a discussion with Mr. Ariel Çomo, Psychiatrist, University of Tirana Hospital Center, Ms. Stefanie Knorr, Psychologist, Counseling Office "Gegenwind" for traumatized by dictatorship in East Germany and Mr. Kati Fabian, anthropologist and filmmaker.

Panel II: "Access in the Past – An Opportunity Not to Be Missed" was moderated by journalist Ben Andoni and brought in the experiences of Mr. Daut Gumeni, Ms. Valjeta Dosti Kaftalli, contemporary witnesses in Albania and Mr. Thomas Raufeisen, contemporary witness in Germany. The activity ended with the presentation of ENCYCLOPEDIA by Mr. Çelo Hoxha, Deputy Director of the Institute for the Studies of Communist Crimes and Consequences.







Institute for Democracy, Media & Culture • Konrad Adenauer Foundation


Main Partners:

OSCE Presence in Albania • Federal Foundation for the Study of Communist Dictatorship in East Germany • Deutsche October • Ministry of Social Welfare & Youth • Ministry of Education & Sports • EU Delegation in Albania


Other Partners:

European Network Remembrance and Solidarity (ENRS) • IICCMR Bucharest • Platform of European Memory and Conscience, Czech Republic • European Association of History Educators (Euroclio) • Forum Civil Peace Service (ZFD) Kosovo • Forum Civil Peace Service (ZFD), Bosnia and Herzegovina • Institute for the Studies of Crimes and Consequences of Communism • Institute for Integration of Former Political Persecutees • Association of Democrat Former Political Persecutees of Albania • Faculty of History and Philology • Association of Former Political Persecutees in Shkodra • Site of Witness and Memory in Shkodra • Albanian Institute of Political Studies • "Musine Kokalari Museum" Association • Albanian National Association of History Teachers "Youth and History" • Institute for Educational Development • Albanian Human Rights' Group • Association "Peace and Justice" • Albanian Rehabilitation Center for Trauma and Torture (ARCT)



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Summary of activities



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