Artan Hajdari – Chairman of the Board of Directors, former Deputy Minister of Justice

Besnik Mustafaj

Diana Çuli 

Gjergj Sinani 

Marko Bello 

Teuta Starova

Valter Ibrahimi 




Albert Rakipi, PhD, Chairman of the Albanian Institute for International Studies

Rakipi has a PhD in International Relations from Bilkent University. Before assuming this position, he has previously served as deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Albania and a career diplomat. Dr. Rakipi also taught as part time professor at the Tirana University, Faculty of History and Philology and as guest lecturer in other universities in Albania and abroad. He is Co- Founder and Co-President of Albanian Council on Foreign Relations, founder of a monthly magazine Europa ( and co-founder and Editorial Page Editor of English language weekly newspaper Tirana Times ( He is a Board Member of the Diplomatic Academy of Albanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Also member of Director’s Network of International Relations Institutes of EU countries, Member of Editorial Board of the European Perspectives , - Journal on European Perspectives of the Western Balkans, Slovenia. He has received a number of scholarships and awards including Chevening Faculty Fellowship Program LSE, London, NATO Fellowship Program at NATO Defense College, Rome, US State Department International Visitors Program.etc.



Alba Çela, Executive Director and Head of the European Program at the Albanian Institute for International Studies

Additionally, Alba participates as an independent expert in research, monitoring & evaluation and advocacy projects for several international donors and organizations such as OSFA/ FES/ BIRN etc. Alba Cela holds a B.A in Political Science/ International relations from the American University in Bulgaria (magna cum laude) as well as an M. A in Nationalism Studies from the Central European University (with Distinction) in Budapest. She has been a recipient of the prestigious John Gunn scholarship at the University of Washington and Lee in Virginia. Alba’s main areas of research are: democratization, political parties, national identity and European integration. She has also taught as an associate professor of political science and economics at two private universities in Tirana. Her latest publication is entitled “Ghost political parties and the deformation of democracy: the case of Albania and the region”



Sara Kelmendi, Project Coordinator

Sara has been working at the Albanian Institute for International Studies (AIIS) since January 2016. She holds a Master's degree in Political Science and International Relations. In 2014 she has graduated from the University of Tirana in French Language, Literature and Civilization but she also speaks English and German as well. She has been engaged in the civil society sector for five years, contributing in various projects, by providing research and administrative support. Sara is currently in charge of external relations; coordination of projects' activities and reporting, as well as organization of conferences, seminars and workshops on a national and regional level.



Megi Llubani, Researcher 

Ms. Llubani is a researcher in social sciences where she holds a double degree in Political Sciences and International Relations from the university of Tirana and a Master of Science in Security Studies from the European University of Tirana. She joined the AIIS team in 2011 as project coordinator and research assistant focusing primarily in the Balkan Agenda and Euro-Atlantic departments. Part of her international experiences are: serving as a Long Term Observer in OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Missions and several conferences and trainings, where the most notables are the Leadership Development Programme organized by the European Fund for the Balkans and the College of Europe and the TRAIN Programme of the German Council on Foreign Relations, which aimed at fostering policy dialogue between policy researchers and decision makers in the Western Balkans. Her areas of expertise include European Integration, Democratization processes, Gender mainstreaming and the security sector reform in Albania.



Kristina Lani, Researcher

Kristina Lani is a fellow researcher at AIIS, in charge of the AIIS relations with the Parliament and the executive institutions.  She is doing her studies at University College Utrecht (Utrecht University), where she is doing a BA in Political Science, Human Rights Law and Modern History. She has recently returned from an exchange semester at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US. Currently, Kristina is working as a research intern for Access Info Europe. She has previously done internships with the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) in Athens, Greece, and the Elcano Royal Institute in Madrid, Spain. Her main focus has been research on European Union structures and policies.



Ervin Carka, Project Assistant

A graduate from the Faculty of Philology of the University of Tirana, Ervin has worked for the Albanian Institute for International Studies (AIIS) for ten years as a project assistant and logistics manager. His tasks include providing support to the AIIS team during different events including international conferences, roundtables and trainings. Ervin is currently in charge of archiving, on-site data collection and analysis.  



Rudin Ukaj, Project Assistant

A graduate of the University of Tirana, Faculty of Law, Rudin has worked as a lawyer for several years at the National Reception Center for Asylum Seekers, an institution under the Ministry of Interior. He has worked as a Project Assistant for several years at the Albanian Institute for International Studies. Currently, he is working as research assistant on projects related to religion and security issues.





Elka Qirjako - Library Manager    Elisa Carka - Events Planner  Vasilika Andrea - Events Planner




Professor Nicholas Pano - Professor Emeritus, Western Illinois University. 

Bernd Fischer - Historian. Professor, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.

Elez Biberaj - Director, Eurasia Division, Voice of America. 


Jorgji Qirjako - AIIS Senior Advisor

Mr. Qirjako holds a Bachelor Degree in Albanian and foreign Languages and has conducted post graduate studies in the field of Philosophy and History of Albania. He has more than 30 years of experience in the education, culture and finance sector. 


Michael Weichert, University Diploma in Sociology, Free University of Berlin, Germany. 

Enika Abazi - Professor of International Relations and Director of Institute of Balkan Studies, European University of Tirana

Ervjola Selenica Ervjola Selenica - PhD in International Studies, University of Trento Italy.

Albert Doja - Anthropologist, Professor, Institute of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Sciences and Technologies of Lille 1. 

Robert Austin - Senior Lecturer and Undergraduate Program Coordinator, Centre for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies, Munl School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto. 

Dr. Zemaida MozaliDr. Zemaida Mozali - PhD in European Integration

Blendi Kajsiu - Lecturer, New York University of Tirana.  PhD in Ideology and Discourse Analysis from the University of Essex, United Kingdom.


Andi Balla - Journalist, author

Dorarta Hyseni - Program Officer, National Democratic Institute (NDI) Albania. 

Lutfi Dervishi - Freelance media expert


Geron Kamberi - Policy and Acvocacy Officer, Oxfam GB. 

Alfred Lela -  PhD candidate in European Studies. Editor in Chief, MAPO Magazine. Deputy Editor in Chief, Mapo Newspaper. 

Sokol Lleshi - PhD in political science, Central European University. 

Olta Murataj, Ph.D. candidate at Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey

Alban Dafa is a research associate at AIIS. He graduated  in 2011 from the U.S. Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science (concentrating in IR). While at the Academy, Alban interned at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington D.C. His work at the Center focused on U.S. policy in Iraq. In 2015 he was   awarded   the   Chevening   Scholarship   which   enabled   him   to   pursue   his postgraduate   studies   in   the   United   Kingdom.   In   September  2016,   he   earned   a Master of Arts  in   Politics  and International Relations  of  the Middle East  from the University of Exeter. Alban’s research interests include: identity politics, the Arab-Israeli conflict, Middle East  politics, U.S. foreign policy, and Albanian foreign and domestic policy. He voluntarily contributes to AIIS through research ideas and design. 

Dr. Eda Gemi is Senior Lecturer of Sociology of Migration and Gender Studies at European University of Tirana. A Research Fellow at the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) in the period 2012-2016, she headed the migration research team. Since 2010 she has been a research fellow at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies of the European University Institute (EUI), Florence, Italy where she has been involved in projects focused on media and diversity, circular and return migration and transnationalism. Gemi was awarded from London Metropolitan University, UK a PhD in Business and Law with a focus on migration and integration. She holds a Master of Arts in Southeast European Studies from the Faculty of Political Science and Public Administration of University of Athens.

Jordan Jorgji is a Lecturer of International and European Studies at the Department of Social Studies, Fan S. Noli University, Korçë, Albania. He has studied Political Science and Public Administration at National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and obtained his master degree in International Relations and Strategic Studies from the Department of International, European and Area Studies of Panteion University of Athens. Later, he earned his PhD degree from Panteion University, conducting a research on Security and Foreign Policy of Small States during the Cold War period, with emphasis to the role of Albania’s foreign policy on the accession of China to the U.N. He worked for two years as a specialist at the Press Office of the Embassy of the Republic of Albania to Athens, Greece.  
Currently, Mr. Jorgji lives in Korçë, Albania and works as a Lecturer of European and International Policy at the Department of Social Sciences in Fan S. Noli University. Additionally, he was elected of Academic Senate in the university’s elections of July 30th. His academic interest focus on foreign policy, European and Area Studies, included the relations between Albania and Greece.  





Since its establishment, the Albanian Institute for International Studies has served as a center for excellence and as a starting point for boosting one's career. The following list of former AIIS staff members are a good example of the Institute's aim to enrich the academic and researcher's community in Albania and to encourage excellence in this field. 

Adela Halo - Currently PhD in Political Studies at the Queen Mary University, London. Former Lead Researcher for National Integrity System Assessment

Aldo Bumçi - Former Deputy Director of the Albanian Institute for International Studies and former Minister of Foreign AffairsCurrently DP MP in the Albanian Assembly. 

Blerta Hoxha - Currently Political Adviser at the U.S. Embassy in Tirana. 

Dr. Diana Gellci - Anthropology instructor at Wayne County Community College, U.S. 

Dorarta Hyseni - Currently works for the European Union Delegation in Albania, Political Section

Elda Dakli - Currently working on Market Research at ACCES Employment, Canada

Eno Trimçev - Former Executive Director of the Albanian Institute for International Studies. Currently Visiting Lecturer at Leuphana Universitat Luneburg. 

Edith Harxhi - Former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. Currently Executive Director of the Albanian Policy Center. 

Edlira Majko - Currently Program Coordinator for the Roma Initiatives Office, Open Society Foundation, Budapest. 

Elena Shomos - Currently MSc Candidate at the London School of Economics and Political Sciences, International Relations. 

Enfrid Islami - Currently Qualitative Researcher at IDRA Research and Development. 

Klementin Mile - Currently lecturer at the European University of Tirana. 

Lublin Dilja - Former Ambassador of Albania to the United States, Former Ambassador of Albania to the United Nations. 

Maklen Misha - Former Adviser at the Prime Minister's Office. 

Marsida Gjonçaj - Former Political, Press and Public Affairs Officer at the British Embassy in Tirana. 

Odeta Barbullushi - Advisor to the Prime Minister of Albania and National Coordinator for Regional Economic Area; Former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs 

Sabina Ymeri - Former Deputy Director at Albanian Institute for International Studies