Albania’s ethno-linguistic uniqueness and its complex position within a geopolitical zone influenced by Italy, Greece, and other nearby Balkan republics greatly shaped its developmental picture as it emerged from Italian occupation following World War II. One of Southern Europe’s upper middle income economies, it has already made the successful transition from a centrally planned socialist state to a free market economy based on services, while avoiding the protracted regional quarrels afflicting its eastern neighbors. 10% of the country’s GDP derives from tourism and the country is home to considerable reserves of natural gas and petroleum. Challenges remain: The nation’s rapid modernization has introduced environmental pressures on the small country and inequality and corruption choke greater integration into the European political arena. Albania has a high rate of poverty compared to other European countries, especially marked in the country’s rural and mountainous areas with a quarter of families with children living in relative poverty and just under 10% of families in extreme poverty (UNICEF, 2013).