What we stand for?

The Interfaith Institute (IRI) is an initiative of two partners, the Albanian Institute for International Studies (AIIS) and the Center for Interfaith Cooperation in Elbasan (IRCCE), supported by many stakeholders, private and public, throughout Albania. The IRI aims to develop the democratic values (harmed during the communist regime) of mutual respect for believers and non-believers, regardless of religious affiliation. It supports active citizenship initiatives involving religious communities and faith-based organizations, as well as creating strategy, networking and action planning, advocacy and policy making. In addition to the scientific approach, IRI provides expertise and methodology for interfaith activities. It takes on a coordinating and supportive role, especially in promoting and building capacity at the grassroots level.


Alba Çela

Additionally, Alba participates as an independent expert in research, monitoring & evaluation and advocacy projects for several international donors and organizations such as WBF/OSFA/ FES/ BIRN etc. Alba Cela holds a B.A in Political Science/ International relations from the American University in Bulgaria  as well as an M. A in Nationalism Studies from the Central European University . She has been a recipient of the prestigious John Gunn scholarship at the University of Washington and Lee in Virginia. Alba’s main areas of research are: democratization, political parties, national identity and European integration. 

PhD. Arben Ramkaj

  • Qualification: Expert on security and religious issues
  • Email: benramkaj@gmail.com
  • Mobile: +355 697839503

Arben Ramkaj is an expert on security and religious issues. In 2005, he completed his theological studies at the University of Kuwait. In 2011, Arben completed his Master studies at the International University of Struga, and in 2017 his doctoral studies at the same university, in the field of international relations. Arben is one of the key actors in civil society, contributing to the development of interfaith dialogue and increasing cooperation between communities. At the same time, Arben is the initiator for the establishment of national and international institutions who support inter- religious dialogue inside and outside Albania. ;...From 2007 onwards Arben is: – The founder and board member of the Inter-Religious Institute of Albania (since 2020) – The executive Director of the Institute of Interreligious Studies (since 2020); – The president of the Inter-Religious Center of Elbasan (since 2017); – The founder of the European Muslim League (since 2011); – The representative of the Global Council for Tolerance and Peace for the Balkan countries (since 2018); – The member of the Security Council in the Municipality of Elbasan (since 2017); – The member of the High Council of Theologians (since 2015); – The member of the General Council of the Muslim Community (since 2007). Some of his research work includes: – Religious radicalism and violet extremism in Albania – Institute for Democracy and Mediation – Vlerësimi i rreziqeve për sigurine kombëtare/aftësia e shtetit dhe shoqërisë për të reaguar; Lindja e një ndikimi të ri radikal dhe ekstremizmi fetar në Shqipëri- Instituti i Studimeve Ndërkombëtare, Tiranë 2015. – Strengthening religious education should be at the core of anti-radicalization efforts.


Based on an inter-sectoral approach, the objectives of the Interfaith Institute are defined as follows:

To strengthen religious communities, after the communist regime, especially:
  • To strengthen respect for religious identities.
  • To learn and provide information about one's religious affiliation and belief and the belief of others to build relationships of mutual trust.
  • To support young people and women to take an active role in their communities.
  • To strengthen families as bearers and promoters of values and traditions rooted in religion.
To initiate, develop and execute interfaith activities to promote tolerance and peaceful coexistence in Albania, and to set an example for the Balkan region and Europe, in particular:
  • To provide spaces for interfaith communication, meetings and community building to combat prejudice and promote an open mentality towards each other.
  • To encourage religious communities to play an active role in Albanian civil society.
  • To build the main competencies of the 21st century, such as critical thinking, collaboration and teamwork, or making joint decisions about personal development and civil society. 
  • To foster cooperation between religious communities, public and private actors, education and academia, and the media.
Lobby and advocate for:
  • The involvement of issues raised by religious communities in the political agenda.
  • Providing information and using accurate terminology regarding different beliefs in press and media.
  • More information reflected in the press and media about the important social roles taken by religious communities in Albanian society.
Provide evidence-based interdisciplinary information for:
  • Interfaith dialogue.
  • Development of civil society.
  • Development of political agendas.
  • The fight against violent radicalism and extremism.
  • Best practice strategies in Europe.
  • Development strategies in dealing with the communist past.
Encourage donor organizations to recognize the potential of interfaith dialogue for peaceful coexistence and to develop:
  • Their strategies to improve interfaith dialogue
  • Innovative field activities
  • Sustainable organizational structures


  • Conducting research projects on religious issues, interfaith dialogue and social influences.
  • Promotion of young researchers.
  • Organizing and participating in scientific conferences.
  • Publication of scientific works and books.
  • Establishment of a library for interfaith dialogue.
  • Development of evidence-based approaches to interfaith activities at the grassroots level that have an impact on social behaviour and behavioural changes.
  • Development of strategic goals and joint action plans for the cooperation of stakeholders.
  • Development of the database of Albanian and international actors in interfaith dialogue.
  • Development of a joint online platform for interfaith dialogue.
  • Increasing international cooperation, especially in the Balkan region

While integrating the security with the DevOps approach has always been of high demand, this requires a completely different range of processes and tools. DevOps is already known to boast of an agile development methodology. Now when the inputs of the security experts I’ll be brought in a collaborative environment, the project will have an array of effective security safeguards.

  • Ensuring various non-formal education formats for personal development, including the promotion of religious identities and respect for other religions.
  • Formation of new leaders and mentors young people and women.
  • Strengthening volunteerism.
  • Promoting the social inclusion of marginalized groups and minorities.
  • Providing informal educational activities in schools.
  • Formation of competencies of ITC, media and social networks
  • Advocacy for religion and ethics lessons in school
  • Promoting teacher education in religious, interfaith and social topics
  • Support for art, music, theatre, film and other cultural activities as a form of religious and social expression, meetings and exchanges
  • Celebrating religious holidays and traditions at the invitation of the public
  • Combining cultural activities in order to promote tourism in Albania.
  • Close cooperation with the press and media
  • Training and sensitization of young journalists on religious, interfaith and social issues.
  • Campaign for / and recognition of activities undertaken in religious communities, or

from the Albanian and international interfaith network.

  • Involvement in the preparation of policy documents on religious, social and ethical issues.
  • Promotion of active citizenship at local levels.
  • Political lobbying for more regular financial support from public sources in the interfaith field.
Contact us to learn more about our work

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Religious communities in Albania:

Muslim, Bektashi, Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, etc.

Think-tanks, research institutions

and universities in Europe and around the world.

Basic non-governmental organizations

involved in interfaith activities at the local level

Formal and non-formal education sector

in particular collaboration with schools and universities

Government organizations and public institutions

at local, regional and national level.

Press and media, social media

and several other communication channels


The Interfaith Institute is established as a non-governmental and non-profit organization with headquarters and office in Tirana.
The office is headed by an executive director who is primarily responsible for strategic business development, human resource management, fundraising and financial management. Two managers have been hired to develop the two main areas of business, which at a later stage, will lead two organizational departments:
a) Research Department, and
b) Project Department for Interfaith Dialogue.
With its expertise, the research department supports the development of the strategic project at the grassroots level and builds innovative methodologies for interfaith dialogue. All three areas of business also cover awareness raising and PR, as well as advocacy in the area of ​​their activities.