Erion Veliaj was re-elected as Mayor of Tirana in June 2019, after being first elected in June 2015. During his first term in office, Mr Veliaj’s leadership focused on the implementation of child-friendly policies aimed at transforming Tirana into a long-term sustainable city. As part of his vision of giving the city back to its citizens, Mr Veliaj’s administration worked on the complete renovation of the city’s central square, the Skanderbeg Square, which was awarded the European Prize for Urban Public Space 2018. Another major project that has been initiated during his term in office, is the Orbital Forest; a two-million tree belt that will serve as a pivotal element in addressing the environmental concerns of the city by 2030.
Mr Veliaj served as Minister of Social Welfare and Youth from September 2013 through April 2015. In the parliamentary elections of June 2013 he was elected Member of Parliament for the district of Gjirokastra. He joined the ranks of the Socialist Party of Albania as Secretary for Youth and Immigration in 2011. In 2003 Mr Veliaj founded the movement “MJAFT” (i.e.: “Enough”), which was granted the United Nations Award for Civil Society by the former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan. Before, he worked with several international humanitarian organizations in the Americas, Eastern Africa and Kosovo.
Mr Veliaj holds a Master’s degree in European Integration from the University of Sussex, UK and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the Grand Valley State University, Michigan. In April 2017 he received the “Doctor Honoris Causa” degree, extended by the Grand Valley State University for his contribution to the improvement of the quality of the public services in Tirana.