Mr. Erion Veliaj
Major of Tirana Municipality
(2015 - 2019)
Erion Veliaj is the Mayor of Tirana. He was born in Tirana on December 17, 1979. After graduating from high school at Sami Frashëri, he attended high school in the United States, where he graduated for "Political Science" at Grand Valley State University, Michigan. Later, he completed Master's degree in the United Kingdom at the University of Sussex, focusing on European Integration. Prior to returning to Albania in 2003, Erion Veliaj worked in North and South America, East Africa and Kosovo.
In 2003, Veliaj founded the MJAFT Movement, an organization that unifies the activist and protestive spirit of Albanian youth, who in 2004 received the United Nations Award for Civil Society. MJAFT Movement, besides creativity and energy, became well known for the innovative way of direction, where the work of the group prevailed. Instead of centralizing the activities under the leadership of the leader, the movement was characterized by delegating work to all members of the team - an element that continues to remain essential in Veliaj's direction.
Erion Veliaj led the MJAFT movement until November 2007. In the 2009 parliamentary elections he was a candidate for the Albanian Parliament through the G99 list.
In 2007-2009, Veliaj joined the European Stability Initiative, a key body in promoting the EU's enlargement to Central and Eastern European countries. In 2011 Veliaj joined the Presidency of the Socialist Party of Albania as Secretary for Youth and Emigration, where he was distinguished for the first organization of the Socialist Party's structures in the countries where Albanians work and live, especially in Greece and Italy.
In the 2013 parliamentary elections, Veliaj was a candidate for the Socialist Party in the district of Gjirokastra, where he was elected deputy of the Albanian Parliament. In September 2013, Veliaj was appointed Minister of Social Welfare and Youth. At the helm of this ministry, he was distinguished for the highly successful management of an institution whose budget accounts for about 30% of the state budget. In just one and a half year under Veliaj's direction, the MSWY emerged in the government cabinet and in the public opinion sphere with the design and implementation of the five major reforms that were of great importance to the country.