Modern Albania: From Dictatorship to Democracy
Albania’s Turbulent Transition from Dictatorship to DemocracyVoices
Join us for a conversation with Fred Abrahams and Aryeh Neier about Abrahams’s new book, Modern Albania: From Dictatorship to Democracy.
In 1990, Europe’s most closed and repressive state began a process of transition from dictatorship. Tiny Albania, for four decades under the tyrannical rule of Enver Hoxha, could not resist the changes that were sweeping across the Eastern bloc. Twenty-five years later, Albania has undergone radical reform. It enjoys a dynamic pluralist system and a vibrant society that is open to the rest of the world, but it has also been plagued by intensely polarized politics, poverty, and social strife.
Fred Abrahams, a former fellow at Open Society, will talk about the communist regime’s collapse and efforts to rebuild Albania after decades of labor camps, thought police, and one-party rule. He’ll discuss Albania’s turbulent transition, the rise and fall of the massive pyramid schemes, and the war in Kosovo, all with an eye on the role of the United States. Too often, his book concludes, Washington has supported an Albanian leader over the country’s institutions in the name of regional stability.
Based on hundreds of interviews, declassified government documents, and personal observations from 20 years of work in Albania, Modern Albania gives readers a front-row seat to the last battle of Cold-War Europe.
- Fred Abrahams is a special advisor at Human Rights Watch and a writer who has worked for 20 years in areas marred by political crises and armed conflict, including the Balkans and the Middle East. Most recently Abrahams has been covering the crisis in Syria and Northern Iraq, with a focus on children.
- Aryeh Neier (moderator) is president emeritus of the Open Society Foundations, serving as president from 1993 to 2012. He was executive director of Human Rights Watch, of which he was a founder, for 12 years, and worked 15 years at the American Civil Liberties Union, including eight years as national executive director.
A Garden Grows on Lampedusa
On the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa, which remains on the forefront of migration to Europe, the locals are reclaiming their culture of farming and building community—one ancient seed at a time.
Freedom’s Front Lines
France’s War on Protest
By allowing the continued militarization of its police forces, the government in France risks normalizing authoritarianism and diminishing civil liberties. Recent confrontations between police and protestors only further emphasize the peril.
History and Hope
Keeping Open Society Alive in Sarajevo
During the war in Bosnia, Sarajevo was under siege, and the very idea of open society was under attack. George Soros was moved to help the inhabitants of the Bosnian capital survive, as well as preserve a sense of community and culture.