How would you present yourself shortly?
I am Donika Hoxha, Asia’s mom and Ambassador of the Republic of Albania to the Republic of Bulgaria and the Republic of Moldova. I represent my country in Bulgaria and try to do my utmost to promote people-to-people relations and strengthen traditionally friendly relations between Albania and Bulgaria and Moldova.
What motivates you to represent your country abroad and what is the message you want to spread through your work here, in Bulgaria?
Being a diplomat and representing your own country is not merely a profession. You have to love your country, what it has been at different times in its history, and begin your duty by knowing what best serves its interests and then seek to achieve an outcome as close to those requirements as possible. For this, you need to invest time, energy and effort in your own professional development.
Bulgaria and Albania share the same democratic values and the same vision, having the strengthening of relations within the European Union and the NATO as their strategy. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1922, the two countries have always been adhering to the principles of sincerity, friendship, equality, mutual trust, and win-win cooperation. The historically good relations between our peoples have also served as a bridge of deepening and substantiating of the bilateral cooperation, which have been developing smoothly with fruitful cooperation in various fields. In the end of 19th century and beginning of 20th century, Sofia, has served as a “home” where the Albanian patriots used to gather and a very rich activity for the Albanian national cause has taken place here.
Together with my colleagues in the Embassy, I am committed to deepening pragmatic cooperation between the two countries, promoting culture and people-to-people exchanges, and pushing Bulgaria-Albania mutual beneficial cooperation to a new high by embracing new opportunities.
Through our activities, we wish to awaken your enthusiasm for travelling to our country, facing the Adriatic and Ionian Seas and discover, or rediscover, the diversity of landscapes, the cuisine and the traditions of Albania, the commonalities with Bulgaria and the gorgeous region of the Balkans.
New leadership – what are the qualities, that people have to develop, to work more on?
The most important qualities of a good leader have always been strategic and critical thinking, innovation and action. As we move farther into 2021, after being faced with the biggest challenge of the century, the COVID pandemic, I believe that the best leaders continue to be those who inspire, motivate and empower their team. I would like to quote Steve Jobs “Management is about persuading people to do things they do not want to do, while leadership is about inspiring people to do things they never thought they could.”
To be an effective leader you’ll also need to be a good listener and communicator. Among the skills we need to improve are transparency and good communication, to ensure that everyone has the right information no matter where they work and get motivated to be engaged. Accountability is yet another important matter which factors into success. Leaders must hold themselves accountable to do the necessary work to fulfill their promises.
A good leader needs to have the resilience to push himself/herself over, through, around, and sometimes under obstacles. True motivation only appears by overcoming difficulties.
How new leaders rise and how we could support and develop new leaders among the young generation?
Most of leaders all throughout history have emerged out of the needs of the situation, arising from the dynamics and processes that unfold within and among a group of individuals as they endeavor to achieve a collective goal. As different situations call for different configurations of knowledge, skills, and abilities, the group turns to the member who mostly display drive, self-confidence, knowledge of the situation, honesty, and integrity. It is not difficult to spot them as they are able to exert considerable influence and provide direction while driven by a vision embraced by the entire group.
Talented up-and-coming new leaders among the young generation need challenging assignments that stretch them to new heights. We need to believe in them, encourage and support their aspirations. We need to produce more leaders rather than more followers, which is fundamental to long term success. To do that we need to support leadership development initiatives among the youngest generation, empowering them to make decisions that support the goals and vision of the community.
We need to create the conditions for our young people not to flee our countries and develop their talents. This would give long-term competitive advantages to our countries, especially considering our current situation of brain drain. Leaders exist at all levels. We have to identify the ones who can step in and fill critical roles when necessary. This should be our mission. As I said above, we must be held accountable for developing other leaders.
Your message to people who want to change, but don’t know how to make the first step?
Many of us just happened to feel like we wanted to change, but we didn’t know where to start. My first advice is to start by acknowledging and accepting where you are right now. Of course, this is not an easy thing to do, but that’s the way to start a conscious process of sustainable change. Then, it’s just a matter of putting one foot in front of the other and, before you even become aware of it, you’ll have transformed your life and the lives of the people surrounding you. As change is build step by step, also leadership is earned day by day.