Villa Aurora Grant Recipients | 2017

Oct, Nov, Dec

Alida Tota | Feuchtwanger Fellow

Alida Tota, Photo: Private
Alida Tota, Photo: Private

Alida Tota was born in Kukës, Albania. She studied Journalism at the University of Tirana and is a PhD candidate in Diplomacy and International Relations. She is fluent in English, French, and Italian.

Alida has been working as a journalist since 1995. As correspondent and interpreter for international TV and newspapers, she covered the Kosovo crisis from 1998-1999 and has been working for several radio and TV channels in Albania and the region.

Alida’s focus is political journalism. She is an expert on central government, press communications, and proceedings at coordination offices of high-level state institutions, including the Council of Ministers and the Parliament of Albania. While serving as Director of Gender Equality and Family Policies at the Albanian Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunity,  she has worked with different UN agencies and other international organizations on human rights issues, especially women’s and children’s rights. Alida also held the office of National Coordinator for LGBT Rights in Albania. From 2008 to 2013, she taught journalism at the Albanian University in Tirana.

In August 2016, she directed a TV report on Tirana’s waste landfill covering the tragic death of a 17-year old worker, who died as a result of poor working conditions in the absence of employment contracts, insurance or safety precautions. In the documentary, Alida exposed a presumably illegal contract between the Mayor of Tirana and the operator of the privately owned landfill. A few hours after Alida Tota contacted the Mayor of Tirana's office for comments on this case, the manager of her TV station, who happened to have worked for the Mayor in the past, pressured her to divert the investigation. She was fired the next day. The Albanian Parliament, with representatives of the international community in attendance, conducted a Commission hearing on the incident. The hearing failed to reach a conclusion, however, because there was no quorum present after the members of the governing coalition had left.