"I believe very much in the importance of Europe to the rest of the world. I also think that Europe has both to recognise the interdependence and unique heritage characteristics of each European state. For this reason, I believe the integration of each nation plays an important role in Europe’s self-awareness and self-conciseness."
SynopsisZenel Hoxha was born on September 1, 1958, in Peshkopia, Diber region, Albania. In 1995, he married Silvana Hoxha. He returned to Albania in 2001, having lived in the UK for seven years. A year later he founded the Albanian British Chamber of Commerce and Industry which aimed to support the British and International companies in Albania and to increase trade between the two countries. Pretty soon he realised that the Chamber had to offer far more services and support to make up for the local lack of expertise, typical of post-communist countries like Albania. In 2009 Hoxha established the English Speaking Union in Albania integrating Albania to the network of the international Anglo - Saxon world and steering it towards declaring English language as the second official language in Albania. Since then Hoxha has been an outspoken personality creating waves in policy making, supporting progress and offering an ambitions vision for the country’s way forward.
Early LifeZenel Hoxha’s birthplace is a small town whose population are famous for their skilful use of natural resources through hard work. His grandfather Hasim Hoxha and his father Mustafa Hoxha had an enormous impact on his formation and life skills while both lavished attention on the young boy, instilling in him the importance of a good education. In autumn 1972 Hoxha moved to boarding school in the capital Tirana, at age of 14. The programme of ‘Harry Fulls’ school was designed to equip the students with the most up to date technology skills provided by Professors who had graduated from the world-famous Universities in Russia. Their influence on the young Hoxha was to be seen in many years to come as he understood, at that early age, the many faults of the communist system.
Higher EducationUpon graduating from high school in 1976, Hoxha took a year of work experience which was a government requirement. He worked at the National Bank branch for the region at the age of 18,and was promoted within months to be head of the branch as a result of the impressive nature of his work. Hoxha then succeeded in enrolling at the Tirana Polytechnic University to study Mining. He immediately thrust himself into university politics, serving as the president of his freshman year. Two years into his studies Hoxha also find at the Faculty of Civil Engineering graduating with a double award diploma in Mining and Civil Engineering. By then, his skills in politics had clearly been exhibited with Hoxha becoming the Director of the Board of the National Students Union.
Early Career and Political InvolvementAfter graduating from Tirana University, Hoxha moved to Gramsh-i, where he was put in charge of the state-owned building company supervising the River Bank Protection Project. He experienced first-hand the poverty caused by the ‘Albanian communism’ ideology. Hoxha completed the project, a year ahead of time, and was offered a placement in the Institute of Research of Water Management and Irrigation in Tirana. The appointment was heavily sabotaged by the head of communist party for the region, taking Hoxha back and foreword between Gramsh and Tirana few times. Working for the Institute he visited most of the regions of Albania in some of the harshest terrains and extreme poverty cementing his believe that time had come for a regime change.
1989In 1989 Zenel Hoxha, together with a group of 32 Geodetic Engineers, founded the first Non-Government Organisation, as a test to challenge the State Control. Soon after, Zenel Hoxha supported the Student Movement of December 1990, providing the vital inspiration and support that the movement needed to avoid fading down into just ‘movement for better student living conditions’. Hoxha gains recognition by the students for his selfless act of joining the front line of the student demonstration, ending up being arrested. He heavily contributed to the foundation of the first opposition party the Democratic Party of Albania and was one of the 15 first Board Founding Members, which lead the Albanian revolution. He was the first leader of the Tirana branch of the Democratic Party, registering record numbers of some 60% of the voters as members of the party. Tirana is the most important political district for any party. In 1992, Hoxha resigned his political post recognising that the party was already slipping off its program and was had taken hostage by ex-communists with the interest of riding the change, in order to save their privileges.
1993A year later in 1993, while running his successful business, the National Chamber of Commerce elected Zenel, initially, to the post of General Secretary and within a couple of months as Executive Director. He was trusted with an important job to design and implement changes steering the chamber effectively into the open market. Hoxha restructured the chamber from a government policy promoting and implementing institution into an independent, market research and business support institution open to all businesses without prejudice of age, background or religion.
1994 - 1999In 1994 Zenel Hoxha escaped a physical and political assassination by the Democratic Party, now in power, which considered Zenel’s progress as an obstacle to them. He found refuge in London UK for seven years. During which time, Democratic Party in power, took Albania to the brink of the civil war.. In London, Hoxha followed various studies in Language, Politics and Economy. He fiercely spoke his mind in various interviews requested by international channels such as BBC and CNN among others, on Albanian unrest and the real political and economic issues leading to it. He also motivated the Albanian community in UK to take a more active role. Hoxha primed the first Kosovo Crises Committee which lobbied in support of Kosovo’s Human Rights and Independence. The Committee also provided financial support for Albanians from Kosovo during the 1999 war.
ABCCI PresidencyIn 2001, Hoxha addressed the need of the British – Albanian Businesses for support, by bringing stakeholders together and founding the Albanian British Chamber of Commerce and Industry in January 2002. The Chamber promoted the value that British Expertise could bring to a country that was just about on its feet, namely Albania. The country had gone through a massive ‘brain drain’ in 1990, a popular unrest in 1997 and a war in Kosova with Albania taking in three times its population in immigrants from Kosovo in 1999 -2000. During the first two years of its lifespan, the Chamber surveyed the economic potential of Albania and created the first statistics on which to base business plans and promotion for the country. Then the Chamber started the promotion for Albanian in 2004 focusing in agriculture products at the Royal Agriculture Show in Coventry, UK. Since then Agriculture has been one of the business opportunities the Chamber specialises in. The Chamber has several landmark achievements such as Albanian watermelon sold at Asda, Albanian’s producing clothes for Harrods and shoes for most of the retailing industry in the UK. British Airways started direct flights to Albania, many British service companies set up their offices in country and a multimillion gas pipeline project headed by British Petroleum, a Board Member of the Chamber, included Albania in its route with great positive impact in FDI from 2016.
ESU AlbaniaZenel Hoxha worked closely with the English Speaking Union, a Charity under the Patronage of H.M. Queen Elizabeth the II, to promote use of English as a mean of communication and integration of communities. The Albanian branch was approved in 2009, and has since impacted the Albanian education system by promoting the improvement of curricula’s to address the needs of the job market. The first ever regional scale exhibition was held in October 2010 titled ‘Education for Sustainable Development’. Every year ESU Albania has successfully run the International Public Speaking Competition with some 40 000 students taking part annually, and successfully presenting Albania in the finals in London. Hoxha has also shared his time and expertise with various other Non-Governmental Organisations contributing to their progress in fields like Sports, Education and Environment.
2015In 2015, Hoxha received the acknowledgement which is closes to his heart, the appreciation for his achievements and contribution from his home town. the title of "Honour of the Region" from his birthplace in Dibra is given to those who are always proud and outspoken about their origin in addition the highest award is given to the very few for outstanding professional and charitable contributions.
2016Zenel Hoxha, yet again in line with his international vision to bringing together nations and communities, "because there is more uniting us than divides us", he has been appointed as the Honorary Consul for the Republic of South Africa in Albania. Hoxha accepted the title with great honour. He has always admired South Africa and seen great similarities between the history of their struggle for freedom of speech for all South Africans and the Albanians long struggle for freedom. Both countries have rich natural resources and their people are outspoken and hardworking with great hospitality.
2017THE TITLE "KINGHT OF THE ODER OF SCANDERBEG"
In the last year Zenel Hoxha, yet again in line with his international vision to bringing together nations and communities, "because there is more uniting us than divides us", he has been appointed as the Honorary Consul for the Republic of South Africa in Albania. Hoxha accepted the title with great honour. He has always admired South Africa and seen great similarities between the history of their struggle for freedom of speech for all South Africans and the Albanians long struggle for freedom. Both countries have rich natural resources and their people are outspoken and hardworking with great hospitality.
THE TITLE "KINGHT OF THE ODER OF SCANDERBEG"
REPUBLIC OF ALBANIA
PRESIDENT OF ALBANIA
MISTER ZENEL HOXHA
THE TITLE "KINGHT OF THE ODER OF SCANDERBEG"
In appreciation for his contribution to the democratic movement at the beginning of the 90s, for his precious support for Kosovo’s Independence, as well as his commitment to bring closer to each other the Albanian and the British peoples, through provision of services which further enhanced the Albanian - British business relations and massification of the English language all over Albania.
Decree number: 10123
Tirana, on 10.04.2017
PRESIDENT OF REPUBLIC