Edi Rama

Prime Minister of Albania

Tirana, Albania

Before entering politics, Prime Minister Edi Rama was a painter with a deep affinity for light and color which he brought to transforming Tirana, Albania into a modern European capital as Mayor from 2000–2011. Tirana, like other post-communist cities, was flooded by migrants and a rapid up cropping of impromptu grey stricken buildings after the fall of the Soviet Union. Over the course of over a decade, Rama cut down on government corruption by enforcing a new dress code and norms for professionalism and hiring young politically neutral employees along with maintaining much of the previous administration. His Return to Identity project beautified the city by repainting a large swath of the city’s buildings. Rama also created an abundance of public green space and destroyed illegally constructed buildings on city property. At the end of his tenure Rama made important gains in restoring the people’s faith in the government and introduced public debate as a means of building civic involvement.

Elected leader of the Social Party of Albania in 2005, Rama’s victorious campaign for Prime Minister in 2013 focused on similar issues on a much larger national scale. His first year in office has been devoted to clearing out government corruption and inefficiency and preparing for Albania’s candidacy to join the European Union. Rama went as far as bringing on former British Prime Minister Tony Blair as his personal advisor. In June 2014, Albania took a significant step forward by being officially acknowledged as a candidate to join the European Union. Within his first term, Rama has already garnered acclaim for helping Albania “(regain) its lost dignity in the eyes of international partners”.

Take back your city with paint

Make a city beautiful, curb corruption. Edi Rama took this deceptively simple path as mayor of Tirana, Albania, where he instilled pride in his citizens by transforming public spaces with colorful designs. With projects that put the people first, Rama decreased crime — and showed his citizens they could have faith in their leaders.