Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mayor of Tirana, Edi Rama, at Harvard

Edi Rama, the Mayor of Tirana, Albania, was an accomplished artist long before he entered politics. Utilizing his unique style and creativity, Rama transformed the outside walls of grim, Stalin-era buildings in Tirana into huge and colorful abstract paintings that are a wonder to behold! Rama also planted thousands of trees, bushes, and flowers throughout Tirana enabling people to enjoy beautiful scenic vistas as they strolled along the city's long and wide boulevards.

I know, because my wife, Jane, and I personally enjoyed those wonderous Rama creative spectacles first-hand when we visited Tirana a couple of years ago!

Edi Rama is a truly interesting, multi-talented individual so here's an excellent opportunity to see and hear him up front!

The Kokkalis Program would like to invite you to the following event:

4:00 p.m.
Dialogue in Cultural Diplomacy and Urban Transformation: Mayors Edi Rama and Antanas Mockus
Nye ABC, Taubman Building (5th floor), Harvard Kennedy School
Moderated by Professor Elaine Kamarck, lecturer in public policy, Harvard Kennedy School

Co-sponsored with the Cultural Agents Initiative and the Public Diplomacy Collaborative. Open to the public; no registration required.

Recognized as two of the world’s most creative and innovative leaders, Antanas Mockus, former mayor of Bogotá, Colombia, and Edi Rama, mayor of Tirana, Albania, will visit Harvard to share their insights on the role of creativity, culture and the arts in transforming cities and nations.

Mockus and Rama have been revolutionary in their use of what may be termed “artistic acupuncture” in Bogotá and Tirana to promote reform, good governance and civic engagement. From the use of pantomimes to ridicule traffic violators in Bogotá, to attacking drab communist facades in Tirana with bold and irreverent color, Mockus and Rama have used art and alternative practices as tools of cultural persuasion, civic transformation and empowerment. The results have been transformative in ways never seen before in their societies.

For more information, please visit:

If you cannot attend this lecture in person, you may still watch it live by streaming from this link.

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Frosina Ray of Sunshine / No. 2

"A man is not old until regrets
take the place of dreams."

-John Barrymore

Monday, January 11, 2010

BOSTON: Free Immigration Advice

Thomas M. Menino
Mayor of Boston

Immigration Advice
(2010 Schedule)

January 6 & 20
February 3 & 17
March 3 & 17
April 7 & 21
May 5 & 19
June 3 & 17

Room 804 in Boston City Hall
12:00 (noon) - 2:00 PM

For more information, please contact the
Mayor’s Office of New Bostonians
Boston City Hall Room 803

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Albanian singers in Everett, MA

This is very short notice, but if you're curious about Albanian songs, here's a rare opportunity to hear some by two gifted Albanian singers this evening in Everett, MA.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Here's another tip of the Van Christo cap to Thomas Simaku who continues to being honor to Albanians everywhere...


Thomas Simaku's String Quartet No 2 - Radius featured on BBC Radio 3

January 4th, 2010

Thomas Simaku

Thomas Simaku's String Quartet No 2 - Radius was featured on BBC Radio 3's flagship contemporary music programme Hear and Now, on Saturday 2 January 2010. The programme, Highlights from the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival 2009, will be available to listen to online on the Radio 3 website for seven days after broadcast, as part of the 'listen again' feature. The performance is by the Paris-based Diotima Quatuor.

Awarded Honorary Prize by the Accademia Costantiniana di Lettere, Arti e Scienze in Rome, Radius was first performed by the Kreutzer Quartet at the 2003 Augsburg Festival in Germany. The work was subsequently selected by the international jury for the 2004 World Music Days - ISCM Festival in Switzerland, where it was performed by the Arditti Quartet, and it is included in Simaku's CD portrait on Naxos records.

I have frequently cited (BIRN) as a source for unusual or little-publicized information about the Albanians. Just below is the most recent example.


Melting Snow Threatens Albania’s Flooded Areas
Tirana |
06 January 2010 |

PM Sali Berisha visiting flooded areasAlbanian authorities said on Wednesday that melting snow is increasing the flood water levels in Northern Albania, that have already covered thousands of hectares of arable land and engulfed over 300 houses, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of families.

Albania`s Prime Minister Sali Berisha called for the urgent evacuation of the residents of the flooded areas on Tuesday.

“We are managing the situation but the atmospheric conditions do not favour us,” he told a press conference.

"We are one the verge of a real catastrophe and the evacuation should be carried out urgently," he added.

Floods in the low plains in northern Albania have led to a rapidly deteriorating situation during the last 24 hours. The Albanian Power Corporation, KESH, has opened the gates of three major dams on the Drin River, as they have reached their maximum level.

Water reached the 292 meter level, two meters higher than the critical point in the Fierza dam on Wednesday, which is the largest in the Balkans.

So far most residents in the areas affected by the flooding have refused to be evacuated, but meteorologists predict more rain in the area.

Local televisions have reported that the majority of inhabitants in the flooded areas refuse to move, saying that they want to save their domestic animals first, which are the major cash revenues in rural Albania.