Coffee Talk 1.2: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Last Saturday, with our coffees hot and our minds and hearts full of ideas, we kicked off Coffee Talks 1.2 with the topic SDG 16 “Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions”. This wasn’t a casual choice, but a well thought one, taking into account the Justice Reform and on the other hand the process of opening negotiations with EU, that Albania is facing these days.

The event started with a short presentation of UNA-A and the concept of Coffee Talks, followed by an inspirational TED Talk “What is Fair and What is Just”, which ended up being quoted several times during the group discussion. Our special guest this time was Arnisa Tepelija, expert of the EU Twinning Project “Support to the formulation, coordination and implementation of anti-corruption policies” and of EU Policy Hub.

Arnisa gave the debate a different orientation from the ones that we are used to see/read in mainstream medias. Her take on the Justice Reform, currently underway, was in the main mechanisms that the citizens have in their hands to be part of the whole process and consider themselves both as participants and beneficiaries, reminding everyone of the number one goal of the Reform: build public trust in the judicial/public institutions.

Soame good examples were given about the means that citizens have in their hands. Starting with the Commissioner for the Right to Information and Protection of Personal Data, to the Whistleblower Law that now gives employees a mechanism to expose corruption while safeguarding their identity. Top-down or bottom-up reform, locally owned, human resources and timeframe of the reform were some main topics that we exchanged views on.

From the discussion what is fair and unfair, to the just and the unjust, and considering the system as  vicious circle, our coffees started to get cold and our conversation quite hot. It also lead us to some conclusions, which are shortly listed below:

–           Today’s inspiration, tomorrow’s status quo.

–           Effective legal mechanisms and active citizens.

–           Healthy perceptions, institutional culture and information.

–           The importance of the expertise.

–           A successful reform needs duration in time and human recourses.

–           The Justice Reform is more than just VETTING.

–           The Justice Reform is ours too.

Coffee Talks proved itself again to be a great medium not only for exchanging points of views among youngsters, but also for learning more about the SDGs in a quite cozy setting. Since we at UNYA-A love quotes, let me conclude this post-activity note by quoting Carrie Chapman Catt, the women who never stopped fighting for universal suffrage for women:

– To the wrongs that need resistance, to the rights that needs assistance, to the future in the distance: Give yourselves.

…by Anxhela Kosta and Elbjana Murati