During the last twenty-five years, the phenomenon of mass-migration has been at the very core of the political, economic and social changes occurring in Albania. By the end of 2015, it is estimated that around 1.4 million Albanians or one third of the population live abroad, mainly in Greece and Italy. A smaller number resides in several European countries (UK, Germany, etc.) as well as in the US, Canada and Australia. Furthermore, around 20% of the population have migrated internally mainly towards the Tirana – Durrës axis. No other country of Central and Eastern Europe has been similarly affected by international migration, and within such a short timeframe. Migration has turned Albania into a country on the move, as characterized by Carletto et al., (2006) or into a “sort of laboratory for studying new migratory processes”, according to a description by Russell King (2005).

Internal and external migration combined with recent flows of returning migrants affects economic, social, and political development of Albania. CESS has studied some of the most relevant dimensions of the Albanian migration including:

  1. Brain Gain/Brain Drain;
  2. Scientific Diaspora;
  3. Poverty and Migration;
  4. Remittances and Development;
  5. Returned Migrants;
  6. Potential Migrants;
  7. Migration and Global Economic Crises;
  8. Human Trafficking
  9. Roma Migration, etc.

In the realization of projects in the field of international migration, CESS collaborates with a group of researchers and academics from Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia and the diaspora. Some of them are:

Bresena Kopliku is a lecturer of Population Geography, Cultural Geography and Regional Geography at the University of Shkodra, Faculty of Social Sciences since 2000.  She has attended professional training courses in Oxford, Klagenfurt, Trieste, Budapest etc. Since 2014 she has earned a Doctor degree in Human Geography from the Department of Geography, University of Tirana, after the presentation of the thesis: Migration and Population Change in Shkodra Region. She has done research on various topics including urbanization, human landscapes, sense of place, but her main research has been focused on population movement. Migration is her main area of expertise, especially on the regional level. She has done research on various migration topics such as internal migration, diaspora, return migration and transnationalism. Some of her papers have been published by prestigious publishing houses and presented in important International Conferences. Her current research interests lie on migration and development.

Eda Gemi is a senior lecturer in sociology at the Department of Applied Social Sciences of European University of Tirana. Since 2010 she has been a research fellow at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies of the European University Institute (EUI), Florence, Italy where she has been involved in research projects focused on circular migration, media and diversity, transnationalism and return migration. From 2012 to 2016 she was a research fellow and coordinator of migration team at the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy – ELIAMEP. She was awarded from London Metropolitan University, UK a PhD in Business and Law with a focus on integration of immigrants. She holds a Master of Arts in Southeast European Studies from the Faculty of Political Science and Public Administration of University of Athens. Dr Gemi has authored a book on “Socio-economic integration of immigrants in Greece” and her monograph on housing and spatial segregation is expected to be published by Papazisis publishing firm in mid 2017. She has published articles in refereed journals, book volumes and media.

Eralba Cela is currently a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Demography at the Department of Economics and Social Sciences, Faculty of Economics at the Università Politecnica delle Marche, Italy. She completed a PhD in Demography at the University of Bari (Italy) in 2008. Since then she has held a number of research and teaching positions at the Università Politecnica delle Marche. She has been working on the determinants of remittances, the links between integration and transnationalism, gender and generational dynamics of migration and migration policies. She is currently working on vulnerabilities/wellbeing among aging migrants and intergenerational provision of care within migrants’ families. Recent publications from her research include articles in top-rated international peer-reviewed journals such as ‘International Migration Review’ and ‘Population, Space and Place’.

Dr. Elvira Fetahu is currently an Adjunct Professor and a Post-Doctoral Researcher at the Department of Economics, University of Bologna, Italy. She is also an Associate Professor of marketing at the Faculty of Economy, University of Elbasan, Albania. She has a Bachelor degree in Finance (UNYT), a Master degree in International Marketing and Business (EUT) and a Doctoral degree in Marketing (UAMD) and has been a PhD fellow at the European Center for Minority Issues (ECMI) in Flensburg, Germany and at GSSPS at the University of Milan, Italy. Her research interests are specifically related to internationalization, immigrant entrepreneurship, and marketing. Actually she is working on a meta-analysis in tourism and growth and migration as well. She is the Executive Director of ISHEP-Institute for Scientific Research and Higher Education Policy (www.ishep-albania.org), Editor of JSHER journal and one of the members of the Higher Education Reform Experts (HERE) team of Albania.

Dr. Erka Çaro is a researcher and lecturer at the Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of Jyväskylä, Finland and at the University of Tirana, Albania.  She received her PhD in Population Studies from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands in 2011. She is the Principal Investigator and coordinator of the Regional Research Promotion Program funded project ‘Industrial Citizenship and Labor Migration from Western Balkan, Cases of Albania and Kosovo migration to Germany, Switzerland and Greece’ and is currently co-coordinating the Academy of Finland funded project “Industrial Citizenship and Labor Mobility in the EU:  a Migrant Centered Study of Estonia-Finland and Albania-Italy Labor Mobility.” Her research interests include areas such as migration, labor mobility, labor and migration politics, trade union relationships with migrants, gender studies, human and political geography, Western Balkans, Southern Europe.

Ilir Gëdeshi is Founder and Director of the Center for Economic and Social Studies (CESS). His research focuses on migration, economic development, poverty, and Roma issues in Albania. Previously, he was lecturer and director of the Department of Economy at the University of Tirana. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Tirana.


Reversing the brain drain through the Scientific Diaspora.

Donnors: Central European Initiative (CEI)

Improved social inclusion policies for vulnerable categories of migrants in Albania.

Donnors: International Organization for Migration (IOM)

First Annual Conference of the Western Balkans Migration Network.

Donnors: Central European Initiative (CEI)

Social Impact of Emigration and Rural-Urban Migration in Central and Eastern Europe – Albania.

Donnors: EU, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities

Migration and Development in Kosova.

Donnors: “Friedrich Ebert” Foundation, Kosova

Living Together. MyGrant Cities.

Donnors: British Council

Maximizing the positive effects of returned migrants.

Donnors: Democracy Commission Small Grants

Promoting Safe Migration and Preventing Human Trafficking in Albania.

Donnors: International Organization for Migration (IOM)

Highly-skilled migration and mobilisation of Albanian Diaspora.

Donnors: DRC Migration and Poverty, Sussex University, UK

Albania Country Migration Report.

Donnors: DRC Migration and Poverty, Sussex University, UK

Patterns of Migration and Human Resources Development Issues-Albania.

Donnors: European Training Foundation (ETF)

Competing for Remittances.

Donnors: International Organization for Migration (IOM)

Transition and intellectual emigration from Albania

Donnors: Albanian Foundation of Civil Society