Adela Hodaj, one of last year’s SAYP alumni, works in the Ministry of Interior of Albania as the Head of Drafting and Coordination of Strategies Unit. Her work consists of drafting policies and strategies that are related with public order and security. The specific fields that her department deals with are, among other, organized crime, management of integration of border security, anti-trafficking and migration.
What inspired you to participate in SAYP?
I chose this – human rights and decentralization – because I wanted the policies that we draft and the action we take to draft strategies to be based on the human rights approach, gender equality and so on. So, this was my main inspiration to be part of SAYP – to implement the policies that we draft with a human rights approach.
How can learning to apply the Human Rights Based Approach make a difference in your work?
I mean, it’s good to understand. The regulations of the European Union and the aspirations we have to be part of the European Union require us to respect human rights. So it gives us a process for implementing them and writing them as we should do. Also, when cooperating with local governments, we can now also represent the new concepts we have learned, such as Human Rights Cities.
I want to underline that we chose to implement this particular project on Human Rights Cities because we wanted to bring to Albania something from Swedish culture. We could have chosen any other expertise that we deal with in our professional life, but instead we chose that because we wanted to give the people of Albania and Kosovo something new.
What was the best thing about participating in SAYP?
Firstly, having this opportunity to come and visit the Lund University, participate in lectures and gain knowledge from lecturers who have different perspectives compared with lecturers in Albania. The university here has more researchers as well as deeper knowledge, and we were very pleased and delighted that the professors we had during the sessions of SAYP were this knowledgeable.
Secondly, all the exchange that we had with each other and getting to know other colleagues, for example from Kosovo, Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia etc. We were able to expand our networks with each other and maybe invite each other in other projects. And this was especially important for me – building sustainable networks.
Lastly, being part of SAYP gave me the opportunity to be part of the board of the Sweden-Albania network, as we have this alumni group in Albania, and I have been appointed as a project advisor. During this year we will organize many activities in Albania and invite all the alumni of SAYP. So, I think that SAYP gave me a lot of opportunities.
“Participating in SAYP helps you level up in the sense of becoming a better person, and it gives you opportunities and chances to become a better professional, a better young leader. I would encourage other young people to utilize this opportunity and to bring something better to their country. All this experience will help you grow on another level, while giving you many opportunities for yourself and enabling you to get to know Swedish culture. You will learn a new perspective and get to know new people as well.”
How was the SAYP programme unique compared to other programmes you have participated in?
Maybe unique was this opportunity that SAYP gave us for organizing a project. It was, let’s say, a surprise for us – this idea that they open a call, and we have to apply for our proposal project. This made SAYP unique I think, because all other programmes end eventually and don’t give you any other opportunities. But organizing this project and receiving funds for implementing the project was a unique experience. That is compared with other young professional academies that I was part of.