Blerina Zoto: an Albanian Francophile fighting for the dignity of minority populations
Blerina Zoto (MA, University of Montesquieu Bordeaux IV) is a humanitarian worker.
What have been the highlights of your career?
Throughout my career, and especially over the past ten years, I have held posts in the Albanian government. I have worked to defend human rights generally and the rights of Roma populations more specifically, striving both to advance their economic development and to increase their social integration.
What was your main role within the Albanian government?
As part of my position as Director of the technical secretariat of the Albanian Ministry for Social Protection and Youth, I had the honour of representing the Albanian government at the United Nations and European institutions. At the Council of Europe I was named ‘national expert on Roma-related issues’ (CAHROM) and ‘member of the Committee of Experts on Roma and Traveller Issues’ (MG-S-ROM).
You also fight for women’s rights …
You might say that. Since 2002, as Founding President of the Albanian Association for Female University Graduates, I have been building a network of over 200 Albanian women. Via this organisation we attempt to put in place various training programmes using subsidies from donors such as the Greek Embassy and the Soros Foundation.
What were the aims of these programmes and how did they function?
Through these programmes we strove to promote policies in favour of equality of opportunity. We also worked to promote women to high-level positions of responsibility.
I work as a programme leader for ICVolontaires in Geneva. ICVolontaires is an international organisation that recruits and trains volunteers for non-profit projects (language services, conference support etc.).