It is Monday morning. I am just back from my sister's graduation in Vilnius, Lithuania. I find myself in my working desk at the University of Antwerp. As I enjoy the sweet taste of a croissant and the refined Italian espresso, I notice how the scent of bitter coffee reminds me the fate of life: bitter and sweet at the same time. There are old magazines and newspapers on my desk. Beside them a pile of books on politics, interest groups, and the European Union. But everything is kept free of dust by a diligent hand. There is a bit of air coming through the window that purifies the atmosphere, but the bitter coffee puts me in a propitious place, to put my thoughts on paper.
People always told me I have luminous pupils; big, blue eyes, long dark-blond hair and a slim figure. They try to convince me that I am in possession of some peculiar features, which apparently bring haughtiness qualities. That brings up an invincible smile which gets me to the far shore of ecstasy. The unmistakable breath of bitter coffee accompanies my morning, making my diligent handwriting more noticeable:
"I believe in the power of dreams. That if you fight, they will become a reality. And on many occasions, I have proven over and over again how to fight for them.
Born and raised in a small Albanian family, I have had big dreams, although few opportunities. But I would always put them on a letter. Then I would consider them as "a flower of promises." It happens that I didn't open them in a long time, because of allowing myself to blossom, and bringing love, pleasure and achievements in my life...
I have learned that I am not afraid to fall; indeed failure is such a great companion to everyone. Because no matter the times you are not able to succeed, you learn a lesson. That it is the possibility to have a dream come true what makes life more interesting. The best thing you could do is dreaming for your own dreams and letting yourself blossom not only in delirious spring -- but at any season of the year.
My entire life has completely changed. Love, dedication and hard-work have given me confidence and strength I had never known before. In a nutshell: I am a Ph.D. student in Political Science in Belgium. In the past I have been awarded a Summa Cum Laude from the University of Tirana, Albania. The title brings underneath responsibilities too. I have felt that it is my duty to inspire and to empower others too. Having participated in multiple international programs together with other young people have pushed me to discuss European politics. I have also had some appearances on radio and TV, published many opinion articles and blogs too.
What I love the most is to turn my words into a volcanic display of action... This power is what encourages me to take part at youth activism and debates. In 2014, I received the Active Citizens of Europe Award for my invaluable contribution to promoting volunteer work, fight against prejudices and xenophobia at the local, national and international context. This moment made me realize that all I want is to hurry up for spreading ideas and knowledge to others.
I have decided not to reserve this passion only for myself. Everything is more beautiful because of appreciating the knowledge, and sharing it. By the end of the day, it is a matter of time; of making the great leap for discovering who you already are while being aware about your unique personal journey. Everyone is born a leader; the ones that try to prove so, are the ones that discover many secrets, and reveal passions in supranational silence.
Youth is the voice of change, which broadens the horizons of mind. Young people are the potential, who can contribute for the change want to see in the world. I hope that you know what a brilliant career awaits for you in any discipline you may choose. Learn the ideas about the profession you will pursue in the future, and most of all: put your gloves on... Have the courage to think differently, to invent, discover, travel the unexplored path and conquer the world. This is what makes life more interesting. Never be afraid to follow your intuition and your heart, because somehow it already knows who you truly are!"
It is late afternoon. I understand that my Monday is completely different. I am about to attend a conference in Brussels and deliver the inspirational speech I just wrote. I seldom visit my parents, at these busy days. They still live in the house my grandfather build years ago, with his love and affection reflected in the attic, the green garden and flowers, round-rooms and big windows for allowing sun-rays to penetrate easier inside.
Being Albanian by nationality, I feel more than ever connected with cultures, languages, customs, and traditions. I am happy to have reached that enlightenment of: living a good life, becoming an open-minded person and accepting other people for who they are. And I never forget, even just for a sight how curiosity has enriched and brought astonishing dreams to not only put them in letter, but to find moral justification and reasoning to share them with others...