Egyptian writer Mahmoud Mansi shares insights about Albania
August 4, 2022 || views
Mahmoud Mansi is a global citizen who has travelled to various countries for his quest of passion towards people, innovation, community work, learning and teaching. Mahmoud is an influencer in so many different ways including writing, public speaking, consulting, mentoring, teaching, youth and women empowerment programs, volunteering, and social media blogging. Mahmoud has spoken eight times at TEDx conferences in Sudan, India and Egypt, and he is an author of nine books in management, sustainability, development, literature and social topics.
Why have you chosen to visit Albania?
Albania was my first destination after marriage, so it will always have a special place in my heart. Traveling is great for couples and friends as it is a unique way for sharing new adventures and experiences together which helps in creating new memories and further discover our souls. Albania is the best place for this because there we found peace, adventure, fun, new activities, culture, and of course beautiful and interesting people.
I would love to add that there is a strong historical relationship between Egypt and Albania. One of the great leaders who ruled Egypt was Albanian; Muhammad Ali Pasha (Mehmet Ali) who was an Albanian Ottoman governor and the ruler of Egypt from 1805 to 1848, and is loved by many Egyptians as he had a great impact on modernizing Egypt in military, economy and culture. So I am grateful for finally visiting Albania, and looking forward to revisit.
What did you like most about Albania?
-People: I had a lot of conversations with Albanians – and that’s the true essence of tourism which is not only about visiting places but talking with locals and sharing insights – and I have noticed that they have high political awareness, they are respectful and ethical, and they have their own unique sense of humor. One of the examples to mention is that whenever we were trying a new meal, at the restaurant they always informed that the food was halal or not when they noticed that we are Muslims, even if the restaurant owner was non-Muslim they still informed us, and I find that extremely professional, ethical, respectful and humane.
-Food: Actually good food is an indicator of work perfection and innovation brought together, and it is a direct reflection of one’s artistic ability and culture. Everyone is talking about food in Albania, and actually food in Albania is a masterpiece for several reasons; 1- all food components are organic (literary the best milk I ever had was in Albania), 2- geographical diversity, 3- Albanians make food with love and art!
-Nature: As Egyptians – coming from a country that is geographically dominant by deserts, seas and the Nile – we were fascinated by the greenery of Albania, and our Albanian friends told us they got used to the greenery and when they witnessed our fascination they felt gratitude. Therefore, I want to remind Albanians of their beautiful country and rich nature, that many other places of the world dream of such greenery.
-Government Initiatives: When I was in Albania I have witnessed lots of development activities by the government such as new roads being paved to support touristic places.
-Employees & Work: Throughout my visit to Albania I have dealt with receptionists, pharmacists, buyers in the market, travel agents, restaurant owners, telecom customer service agents, doctors and nurses, and there were several positive qualities in common. They all are professional, ethical and skilled, and they do not take advantages of foreigners. Also, drivers in Albania are extremely talented; one of them gave us a one of a kind “need for speed” experience on the mountains.
-Places and Culture: Albania is full of arts, culture and passion, I have seen it in castles, museums, art works, graffiti, and in the tiniest of details in the streets, architecture, local handcrafts and in conversations with people.
As a business consultant, what are your ideas to promote tourism in Albania?
Albania has so much to offer to the world. With such landscape and resources many people around will visit seeking peace, nature and wellness. Therefore, I suggest capitalizing on wellness trips, rehabs, cultural and sports tourism, in addition to organizing business conferences, cultural events, art fellowships, student exchange programs. And, of course I recommend supporting all of this with a comprehensive tourism mobile with support from relevant ministries. Also, as a health and safety practitioner and a global FELLOW of OSHAssociation UK, I recommend continuous improvement in safety standards, precautions and emergency plans in rural places which include activities such as hiking to minimize any potential risks, in addition to leveraging the great food reputation in Albania by standardizing food safety standards among different restaurants across all cities.
Have you experienced any activities you have done for the first time in your life in Albania?
Everything in Albania has a different taste. The entire journey was outstanding, from the countless rivers and springs of Albania, to the colorful buildings of Tirana, to camping in the Mountains of Muzinë and eating honey with the bees, and strolling through UNESCO site and the stony alleys of Berat; “the town of a thousand windows”.
Swimming in the Blue Eye was a unique adventure to me. In my hometown, Alexandria, Egypt I am used to swimming in the Mediterranean Sea during winter times, and actually the local news once wrote about my hobby. However, the Blue Eye was a challenge on a different level; I managed to partially swim for a few seconds and then jumped out of water. It was the first time in my life I experience such coldness, I enjoyed the breathtaking challenge, and as usual my wife keeps surprising me and she successfully joined the challenge.
As a tourist, what are the challenges you have faced throughout your trip?
Some tourists might say that language is a barrier, but actually I was surprised by the number of English speakers I have met in Albania. Albanians are gifted in body language, and we can even communicate without mastering the same language, plus Google Translate is always a backup plan.
When my wife and I were in the mountains – just the day before the hiking towards the Blue Eye – my wife had an accident and tripped, and got her knee injured. We got immediate first-aid support from all the staff and a car transferred us to a clinic which was a minute away, where she received professional help, and actually the next day she was able to do all the 3-hour hike!
On the other hand, by the end of our trip I got sick, my wife called the ambulance and I was then transferred to the Hospital where I got professional help free of charge, although we didn’t have any medical insurance!
One of your majors and work specialties is “Gender Equality”, how do you find women empowerment in Albania?
When my wife and I went hiking and visited the Blue Eye, we were staying in a resort nearby that was owned and managed by an Albanian family. All family members were working together in synergy, and that when I noticed the strong role of Albanian women. For example, the manager of the resort who was also a mother of a newborn child, was perfectly performing the two roles at the same time, and she was managing all the operations and dealing with guests in complete proficiency.
Women empowerment in Albania is also reflected in art. One of the art galleries my wife and I visited in Tirana had captivating paintings for different Albanian women wearing castles on their heads like a crown by the innovative Albanian Artist Markel Capo. I believe these castles reflect strength, protection, strategy formulation, effective management, diplomacy and peacemaking, which are all outstanding qualities of women.
I believe that Albanians have special qualities, culture, arts and ethics to share with the rest of the world, and both the leaders of this country and the citizens should capitalize on that. Thank you for this interview, and looking forward visiting Albania once again.
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Mahmoud Mansi professional biography:
Mahmoud Mansi is a global citizen, he has a passion towards travelling and managing projects in different countries in addition to developing people towards innovation.
Mahmoud is an eight times Global TEDx Speaker, Social Entrepreneur & Award-Winning Author, MBA Lecturer, and a subject matter expert in human capital, sustainability, corporate social responsibility, consulting and auditing.
Mahmoud has been engaged in the arts and culture community in Egypt since 2008. In 2010 he won the Sea of Words Literary Award in Spain, in 2012 he was selected to be one of 1000 global artists in the World Event Young Artists Festival in Nottingham, UK. In 2011 he founded the Forgotten Writers Foundation, and since 2013 he has been a creative writing instructor and judge in writing competitions.
Mahmoud has published 9 books in entrepreneurship, literature, feminism, theatre, social sciences, human resources and humanitarian themes.
As an expert, Mahmoud has been an international judge at global business and sustainability awards: International Brilliance Awards UK, The Middle East & North Africa Stevie®️ Awards USA, and the GULF Sustainability Awards UAE.
As a knowledge management enthusiast, Mahmoud has travelled and spoken in conferences in Nigeria, Egypt, UAE, India, KSA, Italy, Spain, Sudan and UK, and was featured in the media more than 100 times for his work, ideas and activities in human resources and community development.
In addition to his MBA Degree and DBA study, Mahmoud has acquired 18 global certifications in his profession in change management, strategic HR, talent management, audit and agile HR.
Mahmoud Mansi is currently:
-Founder & Chairperson of HR Revolution Middle East Magazine
-Senior Principal Consultant at Sustain Leadership Consultancy
-Director of Manpower Advisory at Vmarsh Healthcare
-President of OSHAssociation – Egypt’s Chapter
-Assistant Vice-President for Sustainability Development Affairs at the Afro-Asian Union
-Faculty Instructor at the Human Capital Institute
-Works at The Arab Academy for Science, Technology & Maritime Transport
-Rotarian at Rotary Alexandria Cosmopolitan