(Please note that this list is nonrestrictive, papers and contributions on other relevant issues are welcome)
- Theoretical examinations: foreign policy models of small states, myths in foreign policy making and understanding, etc.
- Historical examinations: historical analysis of the Albanian-American relations in key moments and key junctions of history (American-Albanian relations and US influence over Albania in WW I, Peace Conference and Wilson administration, WWII, Cold War, transition and democratization years, etc.)
- Albanian-American relations in the context of Kosova
- Albanian diaspora in the United States – Albanian community now and then (historical role on state formation and preserving, elite contributions, etc.)
- Albanian-American relations in the context of the Balkans and Europe
- Examinations over contemporary relations and exchanges: economy, culture
- The Future of Albanian American relations.
For more detailed information, please contact Alba Çela at email@example.com
Albania, despite being a micro-state from the perspective of international relations, has always sought to claim an ‘exclusive’ relationship with a global power such as the United States.
The Albanian state, which proclaimed its independence in 1912, was seriously threatened at the end of the First World War when major European powers supported the elimination of an independent Albania and the division of its territory among its Balkan and European neighbors. At the Peace of Paris, which brought the war to an end, the United States and the Wilson doctrine prevented the dissolution of Albania.
Following this pivotal moment, the relationship between Albania and the United States proved to be influential if not decisive in developing and maintaining democracy, and establishing a western orientation for the small state for over a century.
At the end of the Second World War, the United States refused to recognize the communist regime in Albania and Albanian political leaders began to look eastward.
The Bolshevik regime in Tirana ultimately designated the United States as the principal enemy of the communist republic, the major threat to the security of the country and its sovereignty while they were building an extreme form of dictatorship which isolated the country for nearly half of a century. This orientation proved to be extremely detrimental to Albania and the consequences of that decision continue to be felt even today.
The re-establishment of the diplomatic relations with the USA in 1991 coincided with the destruction of the communist regime and the re-alignment of Albania with the west.
During the 30 years following the fall of the communist regime it is reasonable to conclude that relations with the United States have been, in a significant and substantial way, quite decisive for the construction of a free democratic Albania and its integration into the community of free and democratic states. The relations between Albania and the United States remain asymmetrical, often controversial and almost mythical.
In 1919, a time during which the future of the independent Albanian state was seriously threatened, the most prominent Albanian elite established in the USA the de facto the government of Albania, and proposed a US mandate over Albania, establishing a significant precedent in international relations. In order to preserve Albanian independence Albanian leaders in the diaspora decided to voluntarily subjugate the sovereignty of one country to another.
The communists, who came to power in 1944, despite the legitimacy they enjoyed at the end of the war, had a difficult task trying to orient the country towards the east. Although the society was quite poor, it was in its majority pro-western and inside this majority the qualifying inner majority was pro-American. In 1945, fully one quarter of the Albanian population was related to the United States of America principally through relatives and friends with whom they had significant financial relations, while also discussing influential ideas.
Despite half a century of intense anti-American propaganda, Albanian communists were unsuccessful in breaking the almost spiritual connection. As a result, after 1992, Albanians systematically chose the United States as their most important strategic partner in the international relations of Albania, maintaining that their country should build a strategic relation with the US.
In 1999, the United States led the move on the part of a community of democratic states against the apartheid regime in Kosovo, an action that ultimately changed the political map of the Balkans through the establishment of the independent state of Kosovo.
Since the re-establishment of diplomatic relations in 1991, American administrations have supported the political, social and economic development of a pro-western Albania, which has been and continues to be in its essence a process of building a functioning democratic state, and building a market economy based on freedom and competitiveness.
Albanian-American relations which have been critical for the key essential issues of the nation, such as independence, the existence of the state, sovereignty, democracy, the state and future of liberty, progress and economic prosperity, are now in transition 25 years after their re-establishment. What does the future hold for these relations?
First and foremost, a debate over the future of Albanian-American relations is impossible, or would at least be incomplete without re-examining the history of these relations which, as mentioned above, have had a significant impact on the key decisive moments in the entire modern history of the Albanian state.
Second, the relations between Albania and the United States are asymmetrical relations between a major power/ super power and a small state/micro state. In such an asymmetric relationship it seems that there is no room for change, either in the practical or in the theoretical sense. Relations are determined by the power/superpower and the small (micro) state should simply follow the lead of the superpower.
Is there any potential for the democratization of Albanian-American relations? Democratization of these relations might be necessary for the future, especially if we keep in mind the circumstances of the past, in particular the last 25 years which have led to the ‘mythologization’ of relations.
The Albanian Institute of International Studies (AIIS), on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the re-establishment of the relations between Albania and the United States, will organize a symposium: Albanian American relations: Past, Present, and Future.
On behalf of AIIS, I wish to invite all AIIS members, Albanians and foreigners, scholars and experts on international relations and foreign policy to offer their contributions towards a critical approach for the debate and the future of the Albanian-American relations.