Interview with Dael Dervishi, about the initiative “Naturally Transparent Resources”.
What are you currently working on? Tell us a little bit more about your company/organization.
Dael Dervishi: Since September 2016 I’m part of the Next Generation Leaders (NGL) program of the McCain Institute. Each year, the McCain Institute selects around 10 emerging leaders to be a part of this outstanding program. In the last 4 years, the NGL program has trained around 40 leaders from around the world in values, ethics, and character-driven leadership. The result is a global network of emerging leaders who will shape the future world.
The NGL program of the McCain Institute is an exceptional experience, offering me professional development, exposure to top-level policy makers, and training in leadership and communications, as I am building reserves of personal capital and support networks that I believe will last a lifetime.
Before joining the McCain Institute NGL program I was the former Executive Director of the National Agency of Natural Resources in Albania. In this role, I was supervising the operations in the Albania’s natural resources, including mining, hydropower, and petroleum. I oversaw reform of the country’s mining sector, which has been largely informal. I am an attorney by training, and now I am seeking to reform the Albanian natural resource sector in order to stimulate the economy, eliminate corruption and promote transparency in government.
What three social issues are most important to you and why?
Dael Dervishi: For me, the most important social issue is transparency and fight of corruption in government. Corruption in Albania has become so prevalent, and so corrosive that most of us feel it has become the norm and there is nothing we can do about it. If we all raise our voice against corruption, we, the Albanian citizens will feel more empowered instead of impotent, we will become highly competitive in the global economy and our children won’t need to emigrate in order to receive an adequate education because they will receive it in our home country.
Another important social issue when it comes to discussing our country is the lack of economic opportunity. According to the latest surveys, more than half of Albania’s population is willing to leave the country for a better life elsewhere. There is something terribly wrong with our policymakers and this must change, otherwise, Albania will turn into a country of old people and shrink to half its 1990 population in the next 30 years.
The last social issue that I would list here is the lack of political stability in our country. We are dealing with it periodically by now and the last one we have faced was right before the political elections. This is highly affecting business environment in Albania especially foreign direct investments.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in your career?
Dael Dervishi: Know what you stand for, and what you don’t. It gives you clarity. Our personal ethics should be the only guidance in our everyday decisions. Every time our internal compass will alert us something is wrong means that it’s time for us to reorient ourselves.
What are the most important values and ethics of a leader?
Dael Dervishi: I think the most important value for a leader is trust. Leaders must rely on those who share their vision and goals; they cannot carry the load alone. Therefore, you need people to trust you and you need to trust others enough to ask for their help. Being a trustworthy leader certainly comes only after being true to yourself, this is the first step in becoming authentic to others.
How can one improve their leadership skills?
Dael Dervishi: The best way to improve your leadership skills is by getting inspired. Inspiration is the best source of motivation. And motivation is inside us. If we find what really inspires us, we will be able to motivate ourselves and others.
All of us are leaders in one way or another, politicians, administrators, business owners, teachers, students, family or community members are all leaders.
What/who inspires you?
Dael Dervishi: My main source of inspiration is my country, Albania. I believe that each and every one of us can do something to bring change in our country. Most people underestimate their ability to make a positive change in Albania. They’re discouraged from the infinite number of things that need to be done, all the people that need help and the injustice that surrounds the society. However, I’m sure that everyone of us can do something small, lots of individuals making small efforts can change Albania.
What are your future plans/goals/projects?
Dael Dervishi: I have just started a project, Naturally Transparent Resources, which is a non profit initiative aiming to promote transparency and fight corruption in the management of the natural resources of Albania. Together with some members of the Albanian Community in the USA, like Mr. Besmir Buranaj Hoxha, we have several plans for this project such as implementing an Albanian Journal that incorporates all types of sciences – technical, political, cultural, etc.