5) Heritage Champions
Member of the Selection Committee
Sadi Petrela has been Executive Director of the Gjirokastra Foundation for the past 15 years, an organisation which has undertaken over 20 years of uninterrupted activity in culture conservation and development in the UNESCO site Gjirokastra in Albania. Previous to this role, Sadi Petrela has gained extensive experience in journalism, media ethics and history teaching.
Year on year, the Gjirokastra Foundation developed an intense and multifaceted activity in the conservation and development of the vast heritage in Gjirokastra (both town and surrounding area) and, in some cases, elsewhere in both Albania and neighbouring countries.
They have developed more than 50 projects, both large and small, covering almost all different areas of cultural heritage in Albania. Their fundraising and various projects with new innovative approaches have earned the Foundation a strong reputation at both national and regional levels.
The Foundation’s projects include, among others: the restoration and revitalization of traditional buildings; the preservation and development of traditional arts and crafts; creating a new historic museum of Gjirokastra and opening up a tunnel from Communist times as a tourist attraction; the development of traditional cuisine. The Gjirokastra Foundation uses a participatory approach and community involvement in culture heritage management, connecting the city with similar historic centres. Their activities are considered groundbreaking and example creating for Albania and the wider area, especially considering the difficult political, economic and social environment in which they are undertaken. Gjirokastra Foundation is a winner of European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Award in the category of Dedicated Service to Heritage for the year 2021.