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Urban Superheroes, a City Transformed by Kids | Erion Veliaj | TEDxVitoriaGasteiz

Written by rts007

Tirana, the capital of Albania, is today an example of a “smart transformation”, even acclaimed by the UN. But how did it happen? Erion Veliaj, the mayor of the city, explains how kids were the main protagonists of this change.

At TEDxVitoriaGasteiz 2017 our speakers encapsulated the idea of trace, or how our actions and inactions, as well as our ideas, might translate into something tangibly different or even leave their traces in others and in the environment.

Erion Veliaj, born in 1979, is an Albanian politician and longtime civil society activist. Between 2013 and 2015, he served as Minister of Social Welfare and Youth in the Cabinet of Prime Minister Edi Rama. During his term as Minister, he implemented important reforms regarding pensions, employment, social welfare payments and professional education. Veliaj initiated the process of opening up the files of the former State Security and reformed the compensation system for formerly politically persecuted people in Albania.
He obtained a B.A. in Political Science from the Grand Valley University, Michigan (U.S.). He also pursued postgraduate studies at the University of Sussex, receiving a Master’s Degree in European Integration.  Prior to his return to Albania, Veliaj worked with several international humanitarian organizations in the Americas, Eastern Africa and Kosovo.
In 2003, he founded the movement MJAFT, a civic organization which unifies activists to raise awareness and inspire the spirit of protest for diverse social, educational and political issues in Albania. MJAFT gained huge popularity as a youth movement that found striking and very creative ways to protest, as opposed to the tasteless and often violent forms of civic engagement that were dominant in Albania before the organization’s inception. In 2004, MJAFT was granted the United Nations Award for Civil Society by Kofi Annan for its exemplary and highly efficient methods of protest. Erion Veliaj ran the movement until November 2007, when he joined the Initiative for European Stability, a key organization in the promotion of EU expansion towards Central and Eastern European countries.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx

Mayor of Tirana. Longtime civil society activist. Between 2013 and 2015, he served as Minister of Social Welfare and Youth in the Cabinet of Prime Minister Edi Rama.

Alcalde de Tirana. Larga trayectoria en activismo social. Entre 2013 y 2015 fue Ministro de Asuntos Sociales y Juventud en el gabinete del Primer Ministro Edi Rama. 

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx

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