The Hon. Rexhep Meidani

Former President of Albania; Former Dean, Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Tirana, Albania

Rexhep Qemal Meidani has had an illustrious career in academia, Albanian politics and elsewhere. He graduated from the University of Tirana's Faculty of Natural Sciences where he specialized in Physics. Meidani also successfully completed his postgraduate studies in the University of Caen in France. He received his PhD in Solid State Physics from the University of Paris XI in 1976, and his PhD in Condensed Matter Physics from the University of Tirana. Between 1966 and 1996, he worked as a professor, a department chair, and as a dean in Natural Sciences. Meidani has been a visiting lecturer and scientist at universities in Italy, Germany, and England. He was a guest lecturer at Dallas University and Boston University in 1992. During this academic career, Meidani also published a number of studies, books and articles both inside and outside of Albania, and has been considered one of the nation's leading academics for his work.

Meidani's political career began in the 1990 when he served as chair of the Central Election Commission in the first multiparty elections in Albania in 1991. He was a member of the Presidential Council the same year. From 1992-1996 he was also engaged in civil society, and served as the chair of the Board of the Albanian Center of Human Rights. In 1996, he joined the Socialist Party and was elected as its Secretary General.

In the anticipated parliamentary elections of June 1997, Meidani was elected as a member of parliament in the Albanian Assembly. After the elections, the Albanian Assembly elected Meidani the President of Albania. Meidani served as the nation's third President until 2002. During his time in office, he played a crucial role in safeguarding his country’s nascent democratic institutions and facilitating its economic revival. He also played a key role in the adoption and implementation of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe, a measure designed to foster peace, democracy, and economic development in the Balkans.