Aleks Buda-2


Between science and politics

There's a full-length portrait of a man wearing glasses...
and smiling shyly in the Main Hall of the Albanian Academy of Sciences that you just can't miss. It's the image of Aleks Buda, formerly Director of the National Library and Chairman of the Academy of Sciences during the turbulent days when surveillance was a fact of life and scientists were often incarcerated or even executed just for being men of science.

Aleks Buda was born in 1901 into an educated, merchant family ̶ the son of a pharmacist educated in Greece and nephew of a doctor educated in Italy.

Aleks himself studied in Italy and Austria. He learned Latin and Greek at Salzburg High School and studied pharmacy at the university in accordance with his father's wish. But only for one semester. The following semester he changed his discipline to the Humanities, where he studied History and Literature.

During the time when Fan Noli, a political adversary of King Zog, had fled to Austria, the Albanian government would monitor its students studying abroad, especially the ones in Vienna, in order to keep track of their movements. Buda knows that he and his brother, Mihal, were under suspicion by the Albanian Consul in Vienna because of their association with Skënder Luarasi, who had even forfeited his state scholarship for political reasons.

After the incident recedes into the past, Buda goes on to pursue the study of Linguistics under the tutelage of the renowned Austrian Albanologist, Norbert Jokl. But when the Nazi persecution against Professor Jokl begins, Buda returns to Albania ̶ only to be greeted there with handcuffs

Professor Kristo Frashëri points out that given his family background of professionals, Buda understands Albania's need for cultural growth and innovative education. So, he stays away from ideological themes and devotes himself to writing the history of Albania's distant past ̶ from the period of ancient history that starts with the pre-Christian Illyrians all the way to Skanderbeg and the Middle Ages and, finally, the National Renaissance.

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