Thursday, April 29, 2010

Free Visa Status for Albania?

As I've stated before in this Blog, I respond well to news presented by Balkan Investigative News Reporting (BIRN) and have frequently posted some of its Albanian-oriented info to the Frosina Blog.

For example, here's an interesting tidbit about Free Visa Status possibilities for Albania and Bosnia by the EU


EU: Bosnia, Albania Need to Work More for Visa Free Travel

Brussels | 22 April 2010 |

European CommissionBalkan Insight has obtained a copy of an EU assessment of the progress made by Albania and Bosnia in the implementation of the roadmap for visa liberalisation, which indicates that whilst both countries have made progress in meeting benchmarks, more effort is needed.

Although there is a chance that Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina might receive a positive recommendation from Brussels on the implementation of a visa free travel regime, Tirana and Sarajevo should not rest on their laurels as more work is needed before agreement is reached.

Without further progress, the two countries may well have to wait longer and will probably not enjoy visa free travel in time for the summer holidays, as they had initially hoped. The report, prepared by EU experts, guages the level of progress of both Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina in meeting the necessary requirements for the visa liberalisation process.

The European Commission was expected to deliver a positive recommendation at the end of May or the beginning of June but according to the experts’ report, further conditions will need to be met before such approval can be given.

The report was sent to EU member states last Friday and it underlines that both countries have met the “majority of benchmarks from the roadmap” that would enable them to be put on the “White Schengen” list - countries whose citizens do not require a visa to travel within the zone.

Last year, both countries were judged to have failed to meet the necessary conditions and were excluded from first wave countries in the region, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia which were added to the “White Schengen” list.

According to the assessment bothcountries have met benchmarks from block 1 and 4, which concern document security, external relations and fundamental rights, but lack complete progress on issues of illegal immigration and public order and security.

While the experts consider that Bosnia has met the benchmarks in Block 2, which covers illegal immigration and readmission they believe that is is necessary to seek“further verification concerning the development of a strategy and policy to support the reintegration of returnees” before Albania can be judged to have met these benchmarks.

According to the report, both states have met the majority of benchmarks in Block 3, which concerns public order and security. However, certain improvements are still necessary.

In Albania, the experts wrote, “further efforts are needed regarding the strengthening of the capacities of law enforcement and effective implementation of the legal framework for the fight against organised crime and corruption, including through allocation of adequate financial and human resources.

“In particular the implementation of the new legal framework in the area of confiscation of criminal assets needs to be pursued further with determination", the document says.

Bosnia and Herzegovina, say the authors, needs to make further efforts “regarding strengthening capacities of law enforcement and the effective implementation of the legal framework, including through allocation of adequate financial and human resources”.

In addition, the experts note that “the action plan following the agreement on establishment of electronic data exchange between police and prosecution bodies should be progressively implemented. Entity-level and the Brcko District criminal codes should be amended to harmonise them with the state-level criminal code".

The European Parliament’s rapporteur for visa issues, Slovenian MEP Tanja Fajon, said that this report is proof that both countries will miss the opportunity of visa-free travel prior to the summer and that a possible decision might only be taken later during the year.

“It is likely that new experts will visit Albania, which will of course mean additional time, and we won’t manage to conclude the process before summer break,” Tanja Fajon told Balkan Insight.

“But it is very important that the authorities continue to work [hard] because there are decisive months ahead of us and they should remain responsible,” she warns.

However, Fajon expects that Brussels will put forward a legislative proposal for visa liberalisation and require additional conditions to be met before the completion of the full visa liberalisation process.

The recommendation is expected to be made public at the end of May or the first week of June. Even with a positive recommendation for both Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, this will not mean that visa free regime will be guaranteed, as the European Commission is likely to require additional progress, particularly from Albania, in some fields before the countries are added to the “White Schengen” list.

If this is the case, it will mirror developments in Montenegro and Serbia last year, when the European Commission recommended the lifting of the visa regime but on condition that additional conditions were met later in the year.

“I expect that the reccommendation of the Commission [to be] for visa liberalisation for both countries but it still depends on remaining issues and here it is up to the local authorities to finalise

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hospitalized Albanian children need translators in New York

Dear Friends,

After successful life saving cardiac surgery of the first two children from Kosova at Children's Hospital Boston, the third child in need of cardiac surgery is in the process of coming to Schneider Children's Hospital in New York. Her name is Anisa and she is 5 years old. Her surgery is scheduled in early May.

This is a program of Gift of Life International, which offers cardiac surgery with the help of more than 50 Cardiac Surgery Departments across the United States, to children of the world who live in countries that don't have cardiac surgery services. The surgery is offered completely free of charge for the patients.

We have founded Gift of Life Kosova (GOLKOS) based in Prishtina as a functional structure to coordinate the process of selecting, screening and preparing patients prior to their departure to the United States.

However, children and their parents don't speak any English and we would need Albanians of goodwill who would be able to offer some translation during their free time while this child and her mother are here for heart surgery.

We had 8 volunteer Albanians from Boston area last fall who helped tremendously via verbal translations the two children from Kosova while they were at Children's Hospital Boston. Gift of Life branches and Rotary Clubs involved with Kosova children have issued letters of recommendation and support for our volunteer Albanian students who have assisted our patients, which letters have had a very positive impact as proof of community service and volunteer work when Albanian students wanted to apply for degree programs and scholarships in American Universities.

As volunteer work for patients in need is highly valued and appreciated, and our patient and her mother would need translation help, I would like to invite all those Albanians that live in New York close to Schneider Chidren's Hospital, 269-01 76th Avenue, New Hyde Park, New York 11040, to offer some volunteer verbal translation services at their convenience for Anisa and her mother when they come for surgery in early May.

Learning from our experience with the two children already operated and returned to Kosova, in the process of helping our patients that come for life saving surgery through Gift of Life program, everybody is welcome to contribute and that contribution is most appreciated. However, organizational, business or personal promotions, social marketing or other ways of advertising through our Gift of Life program are strongly discouraged, as it is in violation with the ethical frameworks that Rotary International maintains and in violation of HIPAA protocols our hospitals here in the U.S. are enforced by law to respect. And this is very important for us to be able to bring more children from Kosova for heart surgery in the months and years to come.

I would appreciate if you would forward this email to our Albanian organizations and Albanians of goodwill in New York area and urge Albanian students and people of goodwill to give their volunteer services at their convenience through verbal translation for this patient and her mother. As soon as they contact me I would be happy to put them in touch with Gift of Life Branch in New York that is in charge for the care for Anisa.

I also want to thank once again the 8 Albanian volunteers from Boston area who did a wonderful job translating for our two patients, Endrit and Beqir last fall in Children's Hospital Boston.

I want to thank all of you for your help and consideration for our children from Kosova going for life saving cardiac surgery here in the United States.

Warm regards,

Dr. Gani Abazi

Gani S. Abazi, MD, MPH
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Neurosurgery Department
Children's Hospital Boston & Harvard Medical School
300 Longwood Avenue, Hunnewell 2,
Boston, MA, 02115, USA

Symposium on Fan Noli at Boston University


In remembrance of the 45th anniversary of his passing, Noli will be recalled through the memories of his contemporaries and from archival documents.


Iris Mile, Boston University, Class of 2012 (Chair and Moderator)

Very Reverend Arthur Liolin, Albanian Orthodox Archdiocese

Van S. Christo, Frosina Information Network

Diane Marie Prift, Ass. Clerk Magistrate, Suffolk Superior Criminal Court.

Dr. Gjon Buçaj, VATRA Federation

Agron Alibali, University of Massachusetts in Boston

At BU’s Sargent College SAR 102, at 635 Commonwealth Ave. on Monday,
April 26, 2010, at 4:00 PM.

Sponsored by the Boston University Albanian Students Club and the VATRA Federation.

Please RSVP with Iris Mile at or 516.784.0410

Parking is available at a variety of lots on Commonwealth Ave.

Friday, April 16, 2010


The Kokkalis Program at Harvard has just posted the cancellation notice below:

Due to dramatic restrictions on European travel caused by the presence of a volcanic ash cloud, next week's Kokkalis Program events have been cancelled. This applies to both "Seeing it like a Citizen: Bosnian Municipal Leaders on Building Peace and Prosperity" (April 19th) as well as H.E. Dritan Prifti's lecture on April 21st. Please look for our next newsletter for more information about Kokkalis Program Events.

The Kokkalis Program

Thursday, April 15, 2010

American conducts Albanian National Orchestra

I received a telephone call from the American conductor, Brian Asher Alhadeff, who contacted me after locating Frosina on the internet. In a nutshell, Brian will be conducting the Albanian National radio and Television Orchestra in Tirana from April 22 through May 2nd.

As Brian has stated below, before departing for Tirana, he rather urgently needs information and Albanian language translation assistance about Cesk Zadeja,the eminent Albanian classical music composer who was the the father of Albanian classical music and the single person in Albania who did so much to stimulate the compositions of Albanian classical music by others!

You can reach Brian directly at so please offer much-needed assistance to him as soon as you can!


My name is Brian Asher Alhadeff. I am an American conductor living in California. From April 22 through May 2 I will be guest conducting the Albanian National Radio and Television Orchestra in Tirana. The concert will feature the Howard Hanson 2nd Symphony, Jean Sibelius Violin Concerto, and Three Symphonic Sketches by the Albania composer Cesk Zadeja. Part of my activities while in Albania will be to give a lecture at the American Embassy and possibly at the Tirana International School. My lecture will focus on "Nationalism in 20th Century Music" because all of the composers in my concert lived in the 20th century and represent America, Finland, and Albania. Here is my problem - while there is plenty of information on Howard Hanson and Jean Sibelius, all of the information I can find on Cesk Zadeja is in Albanian. Can you help me with some translations? Also perhaps you may know some people who have more information about Zadeja beyond the following two sources...

ARTICLE #1: From the actual program of the concert I am conducting:

Çesk Zadeja “Artist i Popullit” (1927 - 1997)

Kompozitori Çesk Zadeja është një nga figurat më kryesore të muzikes shqiptare. Vepra e tij, e frymezuar nga vlerat e kultures shqiptare, perfaqeson bazen e profesionalizmit mozikor shqiptar.

I lindur në Shkoder, ku edhe mori mësimet e para muzikore në shkollën françeskane, në vitet 1942-1943 vijon studimet muzikore në konservatorin “Santa Cecilia” të Romës për ti përfunduar në konservatorin “Çajkovski” të Moskës, ku u diplomua për kompozicion në vitin 1956.

Ai ka dhënë një ndihmese të rëndësishme në krijimin e Ansamblit Shteteror të Këngëve dhe Valleve Popullore (themelues dhe udhëheqës artistik - 1957); krijimin e Konservatorit Shteteror te Tiranës (1962); udhëheqjen artistike të Teatrit të Operas dhe Baletit; pedagogjinë e kalses së kompozicionit dhe teorisë së muzikës. Nën drejtimin e tij janë pregatitur shume emra te rëndësishëm kompozitoresh si T. Harapi, K. Laro, L. Dizdari, Gj. Kapedani, Th. Gaqi, A. Krajka, A. Peçi, I. Shehu etj. Veprimratia teoriko-shkencore e Zadesë shrihet në fushë e muzikologjisë, përmes atrikujve të shumtë që trajtojnë qështje të krijimtarise, gjuhes muzikore dhe të folklorit, dhe njëkohesisht duke qënë udhëheqës shkencor i shume diplomave. Firmën e prof. Zadeja e mbajnë shumë drejtime dizertacionesh, reçensione, studime teorike, botime e seri të plota punimesh shkencore.

Krijimtaria e Zadese është e shumtë dhe prek të gjitha gjinitë muzikore si sinfonia, muzika skenike, muzika e dhomës, muzika vokale, instrumentale etj, si dhe një numur i madh përpunimesh e krijimesh të këngëve e motiveve popullore. Krijimet e tij: Simfonia nr.1; baletet: “Delina”; “Shqiponja sypatrembur”; “Lumi i Vdekur”; “Vajza e qytetit të gurtë”; shumë skena e valle koreografike, koncerti për piano; sonata për violinë, kantata, rapsodi e overtura; muzikë filmash e shumë vepra të tjera, bëjnë pjesë në fondin tone muzikor.

Çesk Zadeja është vlerësuar për veprimtarinë e tij të spikatur me titujt: Urdheri i Punes Klasit I (1954), Artist i Merituar (1961); Urdheri N. Frasheri Klasit I (1970), Docent (1970), Artist i Popullit (1975); Cmimi i Republikes (1979), Profesor (1995); Anëtar i Jashtëm i Akademisë së Shkencave dhe Arteve të Kosovës (1996), etj. Ai ka vendosur personalitetin e tij në të gjithë universin muzikor shqiptar, duke qënë kështu krijues dhe prezantues i shpirtit dhe produktit më të lartë të historisë së artit muzikor shqiptar.

ARTICLE #2: From Wikipedia

Çesk Zadeja lindi më 8 qershor të vitit 1927 në Shkodër, dhe vdiq më 15 gusht të vitin 1997 në Romë. Mësimet e para i mori në vendin e lindjes, në shkollën françeskane, ku krahas mësimit të përgjithshëm, merr dhe njohuritë e para të muzikës. Ka qenë anëtar i korit të Kishës Françeskane që drejtohej nga kompozitori i shquar Padër Martin Gjoka dhe më vonë nga Filip Mazreku e Prenk Jakova. Që në vegjëli në qytetin e lindjes u angazhua në grupet amatore. Herët shfaqi talentin e tij dhe si nxënës 14-vjeçar studion në Accademia di Santa Cecilia në Romë, Itali, te kompozitori Umberto Semproni.

Me ardhjen e sistemit komunist, në vitet 1946-1947 punon në Radio Shkodra si përgjegjës i departamentit muzikor, kurse pas dy viteve shërben në ushtrinë e atëhershme deri në vitin 1951. Në vitin 1949-51 e kryen shërbimin ushtarak si dirigjent në Ansamblin Artistik të Ushtrisë.Çeskun e dërgojnë në Moskë për studime muzikore - dega e kompozimit në Konservatorin Petar Iliç Çajkovski të Moskës, në klasën e profesorëve dhe kompozitorëve M.I.Cukalli, Bogatyrieff dhe Tchullaki. Me të kryer studimet, si student i dalluar kthehet në Shqipëri dhe në vitet 1957-1962 emërohet udhëheqës artistik në Ansamblin Shtetëror të Këngëve dhe Valleve Popullore të Tiranës, i cili sapo ishte formuar e ku Çesk Zadeja zhvilloi një aktivitet të dendur si krijues dhe organizator i jetës edhe ashtu të vobektë muzikore. Është njëri prej formuesve të shumë institucioneve muzikore si dhe drejtues i tyre, siç janë: Konservatori (sot Akademia e Arteve) ku punon si pedagog plot tri vite 1962, e më pastaj emërohet si udhëheqës artistik në Tetarin e Operës dhe Baletit deri në vitin 1966.

Në vitet 1966-1972 është kryetar i degës së muzikës në Institutin e Lartë të Arteve (Akademia e Arteve) dhe në vitin 1972 është kompozitor në profesion të lirë. Prapë në vitin 1973-1979 udhëheqës i artistik në Teatrin e Operës dhe Baletit, kurse në vitin 1979-1990 del në profesion të lirë, për t’u kthyer në vitin 1993-1994 pedagog në Akademinë e Arteve ku jep kompozicionin dhe muzikologjinë. Profesor Zadeja është kompozitor që paraqet në universin tonë kombëtar figurën më të madhe krijuese që është emblemë e vërtetë kombëtare, i cili kalon në mit, sepse potenciali i tij krijues e bën këtë personalitet të shquar dhe doajen të muzikës bashkëkohore shqiptare, i cili kohërisht i takon brezit të parë të kompozitorëve tanë të shkolluar, duke i vënë bazat e muzikës klasike që merr përmasa të gjera si nga aspekti i trajtimit të materies muzikore e formës, ashtu edhe nga aspekti i melodisë, ritmit dhe stilit. Si pedagog ka dhënë vite të tëra kontribut të jashtëzakonshëm dhe shumë të çmuar.

Shumë kompozitorë që janë bartës të aktiviteteve muzikore sot në Shqipëri kanë diplomuar te kompozitori Zadeja. Ata sot zhvillojnë aktivitete të shumta dhe shumë programe të shkollave shqiptare muzikore janë të punuara, të redaktuara dhe të mbikëqyrura prej tij. Nëse shohim listën e të diplomuarve, do të vërejmë se sot kreu i krijimtarisë muzikore përbëhet nga kompozitorët e diplomuar te profesor Zadeja e disa prej tyre nuk janë më në gjallë. Por kontributi i tyre ka qenë i madh, si janë, bie fjala, Tonin Harapi, Kujtim Laro, kurse sot krijojnë Thoma Gaqi, Agim Krajka, Limoz Dizdari, Shpëtim Kushta, Kozma Lara, Aleksandër Peçi, Sokol Shupo, Ali Spahiu, Arian Avrazi, Ferikal Daja, Vangjo Nova, Fatos Qerimaj, Isan Shehu dhe dhjetëra të tjerë, janë krijues që luajnë një rol të rëndësishëm në jetën muzikore sot në Shqipëri.

Influenca e krijimtarisë së Zadesë ishte e madhe te një sërë krijuesish të tjerë që ndiqnin rrugën e këtij krijuesi, sepse veprimtaria e Zadesë në lëmin e kompozimit në tërësinë e saj ka qenë dominante, superiore dhe udhërrëfyese për gjeneratat, të cilat i ka mësuar si pedagog në Akademinë e Arteve të Tiranës. Vizitat e shpeshta të kompozitorëve tanë dhe anasjelltas na sillnin informacione të shumta për krijimtarinë muzikore, jo vetëm të Zadesë, por edhe të shumë krijuesve të tjerë, për të cilët as që kishim dëgjuar ndonjëherë.

Dr. Brian Asher Alhadeff
Opera - Symphony - Ballet
American Musical Theater


Here's an interesting notice from Agron Alibali, himself a former lawyer in Albania and the recipient of a Master of Laws Degree from Boston University. What with the growing number of current Albanian-American lawyers and those graduating from the various law schools in New England, the formation of the organization and network that is being proposed is both important and proper!


A group of Massachusetts Albanian American lawyers and law students along
with Judge Robert N. Tochka are in the planning stages of launching the first
Albanian American Law Association. The major goal of the Association is to
assist law students and lawyers of Albanian descent by forming a social and
professional network. The Association will sponsor social/networking events
and offer continuing legal education programs for members and the
community. The Association also plans to create a mentoring program where
established attorneys will give advise and support to younger members.

If you would like to participate or would like more information, please email us
at or join us on Facebook:

If you know of someone who might be interested please feel free to email us
their contact information.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Health Care Plan for Albania

For s long time, I have been hoping that some professional and humanitarian-oriented company - or a consortium of small organizations - would take the initiative to propose - and eventually implement - a meaningful and fair health plan that would provide comprehensive health care to those poor people of Albania who truly need and deserve it.

Needless to say, I was thrilled when a friend - knowing that I was of Albanian origin - thought to send me the Presolicitation health care plan proposal from USAID, titled "Enabling Equitable Health Reforms in Albania." This represents a vital first step in the formulation of health care that would cover not only the poorest, but eventually all Albanians as befitting a nation that will one day become a member of the European Union.

I urge you to pass this information along to any organization that may be interested.


Title: Enabling Equitable Health Reforms in Albania
Sol. #: 182-10-018
Agency: Agency for International Development
Office: Overseas Missions
Location: Hungary USAID-Budapest
Posted On: Apr 08, 2010 11:37 am
Base Type: Presolicitation

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Barbara will be a judge at an Internationa Festival in Korcha!

I have never met Barbara Tzetzo Gosch, an Albanian who lives in Wisconsin, in person, but we have become friends via the internet. I was delighted - and, I must confess, a bit envious - to receive her great news below that she would serve as a judge at one of the events at the upcoming International Monodrama Festival that will take place in May in the city of my birth, Korce, Albania.

Barbara has promised an update for the Frosina Blog after she returns to America. Ataway Barbara! Break a leg!


I am most pleased to be invited to the International Monodrama Festival in Albania. The dates are from May 16th to May 21st of 2010. As a member of the International Albamono Jury, I will be part of a committee that judges actor’s monologues which will be approximately (45) minutes. Participants are primarily from Balkan and Eastern European countries. This experience will take place in Korce, where my parents were born, which makes the event all the more meaningful. I don’t know if others realize this, but during the twenties, I was told that Korce was viewed as a “Little Paris.”

This will be my second trip to Albania. In 1995 after seeing a tour listed as “Revolution by the Book,” which was posted in Liria (an Albanian-American newspaper no longer published) I helped dedicate the first free library. This took place in scenic Pogredec and was a marvelous adventure.

I want to thank the Organization Committee and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, Youth and Sports of Albania, which has worked hard to produce this exciting cultural event now entering its 5th year. Special appreciation also goes to these individuals, Dhimiter Orgocka (Director of Albamono 2010) Spartak Koroveshi (Coordinator with artistic teams) and Angelo Kondili (Coordinator for foreign guests).

Looking forward to seeing and hearing unique theater presentations, enjoying connecting with artists abroad, and writing about my experiences. State tuned.

Barbara Tzetzo Gosch

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Gezuar Pashket / Happy Easter

To all our Albanian and non-Albanian friends



Jane and Van Christo

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Kadare's Novel to Become Film ?

I always enjoy posting the interesting, unusual, and informative tidbits that I pick up from the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) such as the one below describing a novel by Albanian author Ismail Kadare that will be made into a film.

To know more about BIRN, I suggest that you visit


Kadare’s The Palace of Dreams to Become Film

Tirana | 01 April 2010 |

Iranian born and New York-based acclaimed artist and filmmaker Shirin Neshat told IndieWire in a recent interview that she is working to transform the novel of Albanian writer Ismail Kadare into a movie.

“I have been very interested by another novel written by Albanian author Ismail Kadare, called “The Palace of Dreams”; this film will be made in English, and it will be most likely filmed in Eastern Europe,” Neshat said.

According to Neshat, the novel can serve as an allegory related to Iran in the way in which it could capture the way the ‘ruling party,’ the ‘state’ tries to control people’s imagination, even their dreams.

“I sense there are ways to explore the absurdity, the vicious fantasticism that threatens us today,” Neshat said, adding that: “With “The Palace of Dreams” I see a beautiful parallel in Albanian’s dark history and struggle with communism and the Iranian plight with the Islamic revolution.”

First published in 1981 in Albania, where it was banned, "The Palace of Dreams" unfolds as a parable about an all-controlling dictatorship that monitors even the subconscious lives of its citizens.

Ismail Kadare was born in 1936 in the southern town of Gjirokastra, near the Greek border. He first studied at the University of Tirana in Albania, and later at the Maxim Gorky Literature Institute in Moscow.

During half a century of Stalinist rule in Albania his works attacked totalitarianism and the doctrines of socialist realism with subtle allegories.

A perennial candidate for the Nobel Prize for literature, his novels and essays have been translated into more than 40 languages and have been awarded with the Booker International Prize for literature and the Prince of Asturias Prize, among others.