The first ROM Leadership Forum took place in Tirana, Albania, March 24-26, 2023. The Forum was organized in partnership with the Forum for Democracy and Ethics (FDE), and brought together 30 young leaders and speakers from Albania, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Romania, North Macedonia, US, and the UK.
The theme of the conference was "Leadership in Times of Crisis," and the plenary speakers provided a platform, through their insights and ideas, for lively discussion of the challenges facing Albania and Southeast Europe today.
Leading Albanian philosopher Professor Gjergj Sinani spoke about the history of the idea of Europe, and about the dangers of the manipulation of democracy, the possibility of new dictatorship, and the need for new leaders to counteract these dangerous trends.
Zoran Jolevski, former Minister of Defense of North Macedonia and North Macedonian Ambassador to the United States, spoke about Southeast European EU accession and European integration and the connection between economic growth, stability, and democracy.
Pastor, theologian, and linguist Alfred Golloshi spoke about how a leader's character and integrity are most important in times of crisis, and how it is times of crisis which test and reveal character.
Heather Staff, an elected Councillor for Laycock ward in the London Borough of Islington, and parliamentary advisor on refugee and asylum policy, spoke from personal experience about the challenges of living out principles of integrity in everyday politics, not just in theory.
In addition to these enriching sessions, participants had the opportunity to build relationships and learn from each other and the speakers during mealtimes and an excursion to the beautiful Mt. Dajti just outside of Tirana on Saturday afternoon.
Participants shared gratitude for the opportunity to learn, connect, and grow, and we plan to organize follow-up events in Albania with the Forum for Democracy and Ethics in the future.