Drita A. Ivanaj - President and Treasurer
Altin Leka - Vice President
Arbi Rizo - Vice President for Development
Pamira Nikolli - Secretary
The Ivanaj Foundations (New York & Tirana) relie on the skills, good will and efforts of a number of volunteers within the country and abroad. The Foundations encourage greater volunteerism and are always looking for interested people who want to share their ideas and time in order to help achieve their mission.
Drita A. Ivanaj, C.S.P.
Drita Ivanaj, with BA’s in Science and Economics, is a Certified Systems Professional, who had two, long-term, full time careers: in business management and large contracts administration for the international conglomerate of FIAT, and in information systems and large computer operations at Columbia University in New York City. Drita is the Founder and President of the “Martin and Mirash Ivanaj Foundation” in New York, and the “M. & M. Ivanaj Foundation Institut” in Tirana (Albania), since their inception in the mid 1990’s. These nonprofit institutions share the common mission of promoting Albanian education and culture within the country and abroad. Drita has been, throughout her life, an active member of many American professional associations, where she held different positions, and as an Advisory and Board Member of other Albanian American organizations, serving also as a Trustee of NAAC (National Albanian American Council) in Washington, DC. She took early retirement from business employment to totally dedicate her time and full support toward the development of the above two charitable organizations.
Altin Leka, is a professional in the scientific field who have served as researcher and manager in a number of multinational research and pharmaceutical corporations, in Europe and the US. He has a MS in Chemistry and comprehensive experience in research and development of analytical testing methods for characterization of newly developed pharmaceutical formulations. Previous work experiences at Battelle Research Institute in Geneva and GH Institute in New York encompasses extensive research on gas and liquid chromatography incorporated with mass spectroscopy for identification of chemical structures and their related substances. Currently, he holds the Quality Engineering Manager position at Perrigo Pharmaceuticals in New York (PNY), where he has worked in several capacities for over 15 years. Among other achievements at Perrigo, he has designed several cost reducing projects including the elimination of redundant testing of “in process” and finished drug products, and has collaborated in several programs with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) related to shelf-life and expiration dating of pharmaceutical products. Altin is an active member of the Community Service Committee at PNY, which promotes science to youth in low income areas of New York City as well as sponsoring internships for students in related fields. He joined the board as Vice President of the Martin and Ivanaj Foundation in New York in 2018.
Arbi started his career at J.P. Morgan in the Investment Analytics and Consulting group, part of the investment bank. He worked with pension funds, endowments, and foundations, analyzing critical data about their portfolios. He left J.P. Morgan five and a half years later to continue his education in the UK and got a Master’s degree from Oxford University. During his studies, he was temporarily contracted by a venture capital firm, focusing on one of their biotech investments. After graduation Arbi moved back to NY and worked at Bank of America Merrill Lynch as part of the team of Managed Account Advisors. He worked as an overlay trader for the first two years and, afterwards, joined the Investment strategy unit where he has been for the past four years. In his current role, Arbi helps build new overlay investment strategies and runs optimization techniques to implement portfolios. In 2021 he has joined the New York Foundation's Board as VP for Development.
Pamira Nikolli, born and raised in Albania, studied Economics at the University of Padua (Italy). She worked in accounting and administrative positions for several companies, where she developed analytical and communication skills, responsibility in handling projects, working in teams and reaching predetermined goals. One of her most gratifying experiences was as an Executive Assistant/Public Relations Specialist at the Embassy of the Sovereign Order of Malta in Tirana, where she had the privilege of being part of this diplomatic mission in caring for people in need through its medical, social and humanitarian work. A success achieved during her time at this Embassy was the cooperation agreement of June 2016 between the Sovereign Order of Malta and the Republic of Albania, which strengthens and promotes hospital and health care, education, and disaster risk reductions projects by the Order of Malta in the country. In 2016 she moved to the USA, where she is fully employed, to follow her dream of succeeding further in life, through new and more transparent experiences of work, but she never forgets where she came from. Because it is through difficulties and challenges that one finds the strength to proceed and never surrender in life, that is why she is happy to follow the Ivanaj Foundation’s path by joining this organization, as a Board Secretary, where she hopes to give her best in order to achieve its mission.