Albania, the capital converts the Hoxha mausoleum into a school of technologies: “Tirana will soon become the Tel Aviv of the Balkans”

Tirana it will no longer be the city of call centers, but of gods big data“. To tell a the future of the capital ofAlbania is the mayor Erion Veliaj43 years old, mayor since 2015. Graduated in political science at the Grand Valley State University from Michigan, after returning to his country, he worked with humanitarian organizations in Kosovo, Latin America, Africa and now he has chosen to devote himself to his city.

Veliaj, who speaks Italian fluently and knows many mayors of the Peninsula, primarily the president of Anci and mayor of Bari, Antonio De Carohas clear ideas: “Tirana will soon become the Tel Aviv of the Balkans “. It seems a well-coined slogan but just wandering around the city to understand that the direction is that.

On buelvardi Desmoretshortly after crossing the Lana stream, there is a pyramid: it was the museum Enver Hoxha built in 1988 on the initiative of the dictator’s daughter as celebratory mausoleum. Inside, in the days of communism, there was one marble statue of the leader and a collection of gifts he had received.

With the fall of the regime it first became a public building, then a private one and ended up abandoned in the hands of children. Today, there is a construction site. The pyramid was not demolished but gutted to build the largest school 2.0 of the Balkans. Thanks to’Albanian-American Development Foundation (Aadf) in a few months (the inauguration is scheduled for spring) a Tumo center that it will offer teenagers between the ages of 12 and 18 access to digital skills able to give them an employment future.

Similar spaces already exist in Yerevan, Paris, Beirut, Berlin, Lyon, Moscow. The project, by the Dutch architecture studio MVRDV aims to open the structure and its large atrium towards the city, also renovating the outdoor spaces. This is a disruptive point of the plan because “even if dilapidated and abandoned – explains the Dutch study – the pyramid has always appeared to citizens as a hermetically sealed and inaccessible building. The architects have instead thought of a transparent building that even on rainy days will be closed only by large glass structures and with a large and welcoming internal atrium, an open space with trees and greenery ”.

The workers are working day and night to make a small village made up of classrooms and studios, cafes and restaurants. Here we will study techniques such as software, robotics, animation, music And movie. “We will pass – explains the mayor – from training one thousand children a month, to new technologies, to six thousand. In this way we will have created a certain employment future to a generation. When they ask me which city I am inspired by, I always answer that Tirana will never be like Rome or Athens but it can aim to become like the capital of Israel who, like us, experienced drama but also creativity ”.

Veliaj, who every day carves out an hour, between his appointments, to meet children and school children, from childhood to high school, also focuses on the little ones: “At the pyramid we will train adolescents but in a hundred primary we have given birth to of the coding courses. In the future, the classical language will be neither Italian nor Albanian but it will be java. We must be ready. In the nineties we managed to survive by learning Italian, but now we have to live with dignity preparing for new jobs ”.

Albania, the capital converts the Hoxha mausoleum into a school of technologies: “Tirana will soon become the Tel Aviv of the Balkans” – Il Fatto Quotidiano