Dear friends of POLIS and visitors of this page,
In these few lines I would like to share with you some values, ideas and efforts that led us to the establishment of POLIS and its further consolidation as an institution of education and alternative intellectual ideas. Together with my co-founder colleagues of POLIS, members of the “generation of changes” in the ‘90s, we were all witnesses and participants of events that occurred in Albania before and after the change. Since its very creation POLIS tries to influence the entire society by viewing educational process as a form of change which enables continuity and growth through the transmission of knowledge.
POLIS as an institution is the reflection of how we have tried to involve, work and learn. Trust in the concept of partnership, process and debate are the basis of the DNA inherited from Co-PLAN, the Institute for Habitat Development, which also constitutes the essence of today’s POLIS and of the practical experience at a higher academic level.
POLIS aims to play a role on the society’s emancipation by opening discussions and debates on untouched topics by Albanian society in relevant professional fields, making the younger generation realize that there are many ways of solving concrete problemes. Mind-opening, creativity and positive approach to problems is an important part of the transmission of “secret knowledge” and its translation into action.
Within its extended family, POLIS has already generated social movements and trends of different natures which aim to bring new and anti-conformist perspectives to society. It is no wonder that the founding group of the Union of Architects and Urban Planners of Albania emerged from this organization with the aim of creating professional alternatives in the areas of interest. An important role here is also played by scientific publications like Architecture and Urban Planning Periodic, the “Forum A+P”, or “MAD Magazine”, dedicated to Art and Design, and also the “Habitat Magazine” dedicated to environmental issues. Similarly important are the annual activities of TAW – Tirana Architecture Weeks and TDW – Tirana Design Weeks, which are held in public spaces and have been turned into experimentation and debate spaces among different actors with diverse experiences and cultures. A similar role is played by the cultural clubs outside the academic premises, like “Destil”, which increases the interaction between students and professionals from different institutions; or even voluntary groups of urban activizm or protection of the environment which are often anticonformist voices and have served as a means of pressure for the improvement of transparency and local governance.
At POLIS we believe that politics can not be done by politicians only, it needs professional expertise for ideas.
In addition, we, at POLIS, are convinced that the future of how we will live in human habitat depends on the organic interrelations of urbanism and architecture with science. Thus, for POLIS and the generation of researchers and talented young people, research and innovation are a way to help development. We believe that in order to make innovation or to give avantguarde solutions, inspiration comes from the concrete problems to be solved and real modernism is the effort to convert crisis into values. It is this effort that inspires new incentives of design and research in the fields of architecture, design, engineering, city planning and environment in general. This is why POLIS aims to go beyond its academic role as an institution and has already established the Research and Development Institute.
Courage and trust towards infinite spaces of modernism are the antidote that erases every hesitation towards future or monopolies of knowledge and mind. POLIS is a longterm project where we want to share with others our modest efforts, because we hold the belief that this is the way to better achieve our social mission.
There is still a long way to go!
Doc. Sotir Dhamo
The Founding Board of U_ POLIS