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Goats are seen in the village of Nivica, southern Albania. An ambitious project is aiming to open up remote villages in the highlands of southern Albania to the outside world and to tourists wanting to discover the spectacular natural beauty and rural way of life of the more isolated parts of the Balkan country. (AP Photo/Geo Delveroudis)

High in the mountains of southern Albania, a bone-jarring drive along a rough track with switchbacks frequented more by goats than by cars leads to a cluster of small villages where time appears to have stood still for decades.

Sheep’s milk is still carried to the local cheesemaker by donkey. Elderly villagers hike into the mountains to collect fistfuls of wild oregano and other herbs. Old rituals of lighting candles to honor ancient, gnarled, sacred oaks are kept alive, although no one who practices them seems to know why or how they came about.

Strung out along a sheer cliff behind an old, crumbled fortress, the village of Nivica is unknown to many even in Albania. But an ambitious project is aiming to open it up to the outside world and to tourists wanting to discover the spectacular natural beauty and rural way of life of the more isolated parts of the country.

“We are doing a pilot project on the concept of how to connect rural communities very close to the coastline but (which have) never been helped by coastline tourism,” said Auron Tare, who heads Albania’s National Coastline Agency and is leading the project in Nivica.

The area’s attractions are many. Crystal-clear streams run through sheer canyons and gorges slicing through the landscape. Small stone Ottoman-era bridges still arch over gullies, untouched for centuries. At sunset, shepherds drive their flocks through the fields to small corrals for milking.

And like everything in the Balkans, the region is steeped in history.

“Apart from the landscape, the reason to come here is because of the stories. This is a place where Roman troops traveled, this is a place where Normans traveled, this is a place where Ottomans traveled. World War I, World War II. There are many stories to be connected to this area,” Tare said.

“Plus the wonderful landscape, and also the untouched life. Here you see people milking their sheep and their goats as they did 4,000 years ago. You see people in their pastoral daily life, which is extremely attractive to people who have lost that heritage, and you would come here and find that spiritual enrichment in your life.”

For now, visitors are mainly young backpackers from European countries hiking along Albania’s ancient trails and camping in a field just outside the village. Tare says about 150 tourists visited the village over the past month, mainly from the Czech Republic, drawn by comments on social media from a team of Czechs who have been working on marking centuries-old paths as hiking trails.

The area is still far off the beaten track; many of those living on the coast just over the other side of the mountains have never even heard of Nivica.

“This village, we can say that it is deeply (hidden) in the mountain,” said Lorena Sinatrakaj, a 29-year-old archaeologist working on the project. Even she herself had never heard of it, she admits.

When the project leaders arrived, they found a village based on agriculture and animal rearing, she said. Tourism was an alien concept, and the village was in a general state of dilapidation.

Many of the locals had moved away to towns and cities elsewhere in the country. With little state infrastructure or services, waste management consisted largely of throwing garbage down the ravines or tossing it in the street.

“When we came here last year, there was 30 years’ worth of garbage in the village square,” Tare said.

The project’s first task was to clear up the trash, both inside the village and in the nearby ravine. Now the village square has been cleared, and villagers drive their sheep past stonemasons chipping at rocks, the sound of chisels striking stone echoing through the sultry summer heat as they work on the village’s biggest single project: a new guesthouse, scheduled for completion next spring.

The overall project includes restoring old buildings to be used as guesthouses, and helping locals start grass-roots bed-and-breakfast businesses in their homes. Sinatrakaj says locals quickly embraced the project once they saw the potential for tourism.

For Dallandyshe Merio, a local woman who left the village two decades ago and moved to the southern port town of Vlora, the project has brought such hope to the village that she is considering moving back.

“I’m happy that the village has come back to life again. Before, everyone was gone,” said Merio, who initially converted one of the rooms in her house in the village for paying guests. When she saw how well the system worked with her first guest, a German, she renovated a second room and now runs a small bed-and-breakfast.

“People are coming back and rebuilding,” she said.

Crucially, part of the project includes turning the dirt track leading to the village from the nearest town of Tepelene into a road, to ease access.

But the danger of opening up too fast to too much tourism is a real one, and something Tare and Sinatrakaj are well aware of. The aim, they say, is not to turn Nivica into a place where tour buses disgorge thousands of tourists, something that would shatter the tranquility of the area and endanger the local way of life.

“As we know, tourism has a lot of good benefits but also negative effects, such as destroying local culture and destroying (the) environment. And that’s a very good point to take into consideration,” Tare said.

“And as we go slow, we’re trying to convert the traditional hospitality to a more welcoming feeling and place for visitors to come, without disturbing the local culture. It is a challenging aspect, of course, and time will tell if we are right or not.”

Originally reported by Associated Press.

Remember, no issue has a quick fix solution. Thus, always ensure to consult highly knowledgeable group of professionals whom would provide you with a collective advice, never individual advice. This group advice and approach is unique with CWIIL Group and is based on the overall Management Philosophy of all CWIIL Group Companies.

Consulting CWIIL Group of Companies, for any / all investment matters ensures advice based on highest level of knowledge which are given to you by a team of select research-oriented experts whom each will do their own assessment of your matter, and also assess it together, thus ensuring that in case a mistake has been made by one, it will be noticed and corrected even before it is being passed on to you. Receiving incorrect and un-knowledgeable investment advice can be disastrous and thus should be avoided.

CWIIL Group of Companies is a global group of multi-specialised units with diversified interests and activities, wherein each company is a separate legal entity registered under prevailing laws in different parts of the world. CWIIL Group of Companies Products, Services, Project and Solutions are in a multitude of Verticals including, but not limited to, Infrastructure, Power, Oil & Gas, Legal, Media, Technology, ITES, HR, Shipping, Aviation, Real Estate, Hospitals, Health and Medicine, Education, Funding & Investment, Business and Legal Consultancy, and Public Private Partnerships, and other CWIIL Group Units, worldwide, to name a few.

For Further Queries Feel Free to Contact :

Mr. Gregor Novak,
Deputy Global Director, No. 11,
Operations Research & Implementation Division,
Email : deputy.gd.11@cwiilgroup.eu
Voice : +45.8176.1946
Social Media : LinkedIn – Twitter – Facebook

For Queries Specific to the EU Region :
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For Any / All Other Queries :
CWIIL Group Global Regional Headquarters Denmark,
Address : No. 1, Klokkebjergevej, DK6900 Skjern, Denmark
Voice : +45.5148.3608
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The Corporate Communications Team would require minimum a fortnight for Reviewing & Responding to Queries, which please note.

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musiqana

Musiqana, a Syrian band based in Berlin, Germany, performs during a concert on December 18, 2016, marking their record release. The musicians from left: Alaa Zaitouna, Adel Sabawi, Abdallah Rahhal, Bila Hammour and Hazem Nassreddine. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber).

Instead of bombs there were beats. Guitars took over for guns. And there were cheers, not screams. But Aleppo was never far from the minds of the band Musiqana and the crowd at its record release concert in Berlin.

“I didn’t know if I should cry or be happy,” said Samaa Hijazi, a 20-year-old medical student has been in Germany about five years but grew up in Syria. “I was thinking about the times my father sang these songs. I sang them together with my brother. And they are all still in Syria.”

Lead singer Abdallah Rahhal, 28, is an Aleppo native, and the band’s music is the city’s version of Arab Tarab, a traditional Arab music often referred to as “musical euphoria,” with emotional and poetic lyrics.

They’ve been working on the five-track, self-produced recording called “The Beautiful One” since forming as a band in January, but almost called off the release party, saying it didn’t feel right to celebrate and dance while the humanitarian disaster in and around Aleppo continued.

But in the end, they decided it was better to go ahead with the performance on Dec. 18, bringing their Tarab songs, known to most in the Arab world, to a European audience.

“Every day there is tragedy, and every day we play music,” said guitar player Adel Sabawi, who is from Damascus. “We came here not to make the people happy but we have a message: it is true that we are displaced, but we have music, and we have traditional music, and we try to bring it here.”

The five band members are all recent arrivals, part of a wave of hundreds of thousands who have made their way to Germany over the past two years. They met at an event called “refugees in concert,” and have since played more than two dozen concerts as a band, the largest one with the Berlin Philharmonic orchestra in front of 1,500 people.

The record release concert drew a mix of Germans and Syrians to a 1920s venue that used to be a silent film cinema before becoming a vegetable warehouse in what was once East Berlin.

Many Germans had come to learn more about the Syrian culture of the migrants that are living next to them.

“I was simply curious,” said Heike Winter after the concert. “I wanted to get to know these people and their music. And I’m really happy that they brought their culture here.”

Rahhal said the last 12 months has provided the band the opportunity to “tell the German people about our culture. About our music. About how we make parties.”

He says he also hopes interacting with his German hosts will help them see him and his bandmates as something other than refugees.

“Refugee, that’s not my name. And it is not my work. I’m a singer. I’m a Syrian man,” he said. “But the problem is that my situation is that I’m a refugee. It is only the situation.”

Originally reported by Associated Press.

Remember, no issue has a quick fix solution. Thus, always ensure to consult highly knowledgeable group of professionals whom would provide you with a collective advice, never individual advice. This group advice and approach is unique with CWIIL Group and is based on the overall Management Philosophy of all CWIIL Group Companies.

Consulting CWIIL Group of Companies, for any / all investment matters ensures advice based on highest level of knowledge which are given to you by a team of select research-oriented experts whom each will do their own assessment of your matter, and also assess it together, thus ensuring that in case a mistake has been made by one, it will be noticed and corrected even before it is being passed on to you. Receiving incorrect and un-knowledgeable investment advice can be disastrous and thus should be avoided.

CWIIL Group of Companies is a global group of multi-specialised units with diversified interests and activities, wherein each company is a separate legal entity registered under prevailing laws in different parts of the world. CWIIL Group of Companies Products, Services, Project and Solutions are in a multitude of Verticals including, but not limited to, Infrastructure, Power, Oil & Gas, Legal, Media, Technology, ITES, HR, Shipping, Aviation, Real Estate, Hospitals, Health and Medicine, Education, Funding & Investment, Business and Legal Consultancy, and Public Private Partnerships, and other CWIIL Group Units, worldwide, to name a few.

For Further Queries or to Request a Personal Quote Feel Free to Contact :

Mr. Francis Thomas Matthews,
Deputy Global Director, No. 8
Marketing Research & Development Division,
Email : deputy.gd.8@cwiilgroup.eu
Voice : +45.8176.1924
Connect : LinkedIn I Twitter I Facebook I Tumblr

For Queries Specific to the EU Region :
Email : eu@cwiilgroup.com , hq@cwiilgroup.eu
Web : www.cwiilgroup.com , www.cwiilgroup.eu

For Any / All Other Queries :
CWIIL Group Global Regional Headquarters Denmark,
Address : No. 1, Klokkebjergevej, DK6900 Skjern, Denmark
Voice : +45.5148.3608
Fax : +45.7014.1498
Email : corpcomm@cwiilgroup.eu
Web : www.cwiilgroup.eu
Connect : LinkedIn – Twitter – Facebook – Quora

Office Hours :
Monday to Friday : 10.00 – 17.00 CET.
Saturday : 10.00 – 14.00 CET.
Sunday : Closed.

The Corporate Communications Team would require minimum a fortnight for Reviewing & Responding to Queries, which please note.

Syrian Chef Mohammed in restaurant kitchen

Syrian chef Mohammed has come up with a mouthwatering menu at Strasbourg’s La Ruche restaurant. He and his wife want ‘to show that Syria is more than just war’.

Syrian spinach pie, Afghan savoury rice, Tibetan dumplings – just a few of the dishes that customers at six restaurants in Strasbourg tried during this week’s Refugee Food Festival.

Across Strasbourg, restaurant owners have thrown open their kitchens and invited chefs who have fled Syria, Afghanistan and Tibet to use their ovens and pots and serve their favourite dishes from their homeland to customers.

For the refugee chefs, it is a joyful chance to show off the culture they have left behind. Iman Rahal and her husband Mohammed from Damascus are two of the refugee chefs that joined the festival, and are happy to have the chance to “show that Syria is more than just war”, as Rahal puts it. “I want people to know that we have a great culture and wonderful food.”

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Chef Esther Molnar with Syrian chefs Iman Rahal and her husband Mohammed at La Ruche.

The menu they come up with for the La Ruche aux Deux Reines, a Strasbourg restaurant that serves food from all over the world, is tantalisingly mouthwatering; fattoush (a salad with fried bread), fatayer (spinach and cheese pie), kibbeh (bulgur balls) and three delicious desserts. The reaction from customers has been overwhelming; “I had to disappoint about 60 customers,” restaurant owner Vicky Djama says. “There simply isn’t enough space for everybody.”

She loves the idea of the Refugee Food Festival and jumped at the chance to take part. “I see it as an honour,” she says. “I always wanted to know more about Syrian cuisine. But more importantly, we are all concerned about what’s happening in Syria, but we haven’t got a clue when it comes to doing something. For me this is a great opportunity to actually do something: help these refugees to show their talents to the public.”

The festival was the initiative of Parisians Marine Mandrila and Louis Martin, who run an organisation called Food Sweet Food that specialises in forming connections between people through culinary events, books and documentaries.

“The festival has three objectives,” Marine says. ‘First of all, we want to change the way people look at refugees. There are all these negative assumptions. We want to show that they are people like you and me, who have skills and talents and can contribute to society. Secondly, we want to introduce unknown cuisines to the French public. And thirdly, we want to help these refugee chefs to integrate and increase their job opportunities.” The initiative has been supported by the UN refugee agency and the city of Strasbourg.

For Iman and Mohammed the festival is an important occasion to introduce themselves to the public. They set up a little Syrian catering service at home a while ago, but hope to begin a real restaurant and are looking for a financier. “A real restaurant is our dream,” says Iman. “But for now we just hope to make the people who come to the festival very happy.”

She has just heard that her sister, who is still in Syria and has applied for asylum in France, has to wait another three months. “All of our family members are still in Syria, so it’s not going to be a very joyful Christmas for us,” says Mohammed, who used to be an architect and ran a large building company in Syria, but lost everything.

A few blocks away, in an Italian restaurant, chef Massimo Solinas is working with Dorje, a Tibetan refugee who for safety reasons doesn’t want his last name mentioned. The Italian chef has discovered, to his surprise, that Tibetan cuisine has a dish similar to ravioli, called momo. So he is offering his guests a menu that combines Tibetan momos and Italian ravioli.

The flamboyant Italian and the quiet Tibetan make an unusual but successful team. The restaurant telephone hasn’t stopped ringing. “I have decided to organise another Tibetan evening in January,’ Solinas says.

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Iman in the La Ruche kitchens.

The customers who have been able to get a table are full of praise. An elderly lady who has come with her husband and three grown children says: “We travelled to India this year where we were introduced to Tibetan food and we really loved it. That was one reason to come. But we are also impressed to eat food that’s cooked by someone who has gone through so much and still has found the strength to share his culture with us.”

“The festival offers us a rare opportunity to taste Tibetan food”, says a young man in the back of the restaurant, who came together with three friends. “We didn’t know what to expect, but we love it.”

“It’s the food from my village,” Dorje explains. “My mother taught me how to fold momos which really is an art in itself. She is a great cook and I can’t tell you how much I miss her. Making momos is a way for me to be with her.” He pauses. “What is so important to me is that this festival offers me the chance to show that we Tibetans have our own culture and cuisine, contrary to what the Chinese would like you to believe.”

“I’m a migrant, just like Dorje,” Solinas says. “That’s something that connects us. Although our reasons were different, we both left our country. So we both know what it is when you live in one country and all of your family lives somewhere else.”

In yet another kitchen in the city, Afghan chef Ahmadzai is working hard in the Vietnamese restaurant Mandala. The initial idea was that he would cook for only one evening but the event attracted so much attention that restaurant owner Frédéric Muller asked him back. The dishes Mandala is serving tonight are a fusion of Asian and Afghan elements.

Ahmadzai is afraid to talk to the press, so Frédéric does the talking. “For me it’s a natural thing to partake in the festival because my wife is Vietnamese and her parents came to France as refugees. Through them I have seen how difficult it is to find your place in a totally alien country.”

Working with Ahmadzai is easy, he says, because the Afghan had already gained experience in a Vietnamese restaurant in Norway. “Refugees can enrich our society, but in the media they are depicted as an invasion. I really want to contradict that lie.”

Asked why the festival attracts so many people, his wife Nicole To says: “People are curious. They want to try out food they have never tasted before. But I also think many people are genuinely concerned about the fate of refugees. And this is a way to show it.”

Later that evening Ahmadzai introduces himself to the customers with a short speech. “I really want to express my gratitude that you have come to eat my food,” he says. And when the guests give him a loud applause, he smiles.

The Refugee Food Festival was in Strasbourg until December 23. This month Food Sweet Food is launching a practical toolkit for people who want to organise a refugee food festival in their own city. For more information email: contact@foodsweetfood.org

In June next year Food Sweet Food is planning a European Refugee Food Festival across 10 European cities.

Originally reported by the Guardian.

Remember, no issue has a quick fix solution. Thus, always ensure to consult highly knowledgeable group of professionals whom would provide you with a collective advice, never individual advice. This group advice and approach is unique with CWIIL Group and is based on the overall Management Philosophy of all CWIIL Group Companies.

Consulting CWIIL Group of Companies, for any / all investment matters ensures advice based on highest level of knowledge which are given to you by a team of select research-oriented experts whom each will do their own assessment of your matter, and also assess it together, thus ensuring that in case a mistake has been made by one, it will be noticed and corrected even before it is being passed on to you. Receiving incorrect and un-knowledgeable investment advice can be disastrous and thus should be avoided.

CWIIL Group of Companies is a global group of multi-specialised units with diversified interests and activities, wherein each company is a separate legal entity registered under prevailing laws in different parts of the world. CWIIL Group of Companies Products, Services, Project and Solutions are in a multitude of Verticals including, but not limited to, Infrastructure, Power, Oil & Gas, Legal, Media, Technology, ITES, HR, Shipping, Aviation, Real Estate, Hospitals, Health and Medicine, Education, Funding & Investment, Business and Legal Consultancy, and Public Private Partnerships, and other CWIIL Group Units, worldwide, to name a few.

For Further Queries or to Request a Personal Quote Feel Free to Contact :

Mr. Francis Thomas Matthews,
Deputy Global Director, No. 8
Marketing Research & Development Division,
Email : deputy.gd.8@cwiilgroup.eu
Voice : +45.8176.1924
Connect : LinkedIn I Twitter I Facebook I Tumblr

For Queries Specific to the EU Region :
Email : eu@cwiilgroup.com , hq@cwiilgroup.eu
Web : www.cwiilgroup.com , www.cwiilgroup.eu

For Any / All Other Queries :
CWIIL Group Global Regional Headquarters Denmark,
Address : No. 1, Klokkebjergevej, DK6900 Skjern, Denmark
Voice : +45.5148.3608
Fax : +45.7014.1498
Email : corpcomm@cwiilgroup.eu
Web : www.cwiilgroup.eu
Connect : LinkedIn – Twitter – Facebook – Quora

Office Hours :
Monday to Friday : 10.00 – 17.00 CET.
Saturday : 10.00 – 14.00 CET.
Sunday : Closed.

The Corporate Communications Team would require minimum a fortnight for Reviewing & Responding to Queries, which please note.

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