In the troubled post-regime period, on the impulse of His Holiness Pope John Paul II and Her Holiness Mother Teresa of Calcutta in Albania began the story of Our Lady of Good Counsel(OLGC) Foundation, a direct emanation of the religious Congregation “Sons of the Immaculate Conception”, which was born in 1857 in the Pontifical Hospital “Santo Spirito” in Sassia (Rome) thanks to the charismatic intuition of its Founder Blessed Luigi Monti. The urgency dictated by the country’s structural deficiencies, further aggravated by the financial crisis of the 1997 pyramid loans and the Kosovo war that lasted until 1999, led the OLGC Foundation to initially focus on the construction of a clinic, a pharmacy and a laboratory of biochemical-clinical analysis, still fully operational and efficient today. Only after the definitive political stabilization of the country in 2004, it was possible to start the last and most extensive part of the Foundation’s project, giving life to “Our Lady of Good Counsel” University.
This University is among the first in Albania which was born as a private institution operating in the context of the Albanian institutional system. Its first degree courses were activated in the academic year 2004-2005, in collaboration with some Italian universities by precise bilateral agreements. It is on the basis of these agreements with the Italian partner universities that Catholic University OLGC issues joint or double degrees which have the same legal validity as Italian ones and the unquestionable added value of a title that can be used in Albania, Italy and Europe.
The first conventions were stipulated with the University of Rome “Tor Vergata” (Medicine and Surgery), University of Bari (Economics and Pharmacy) and the University of Milan (Pharmacy). Over the years were added conventions with the University of Bologna and University of Palermo and lately with the University of Florence (Applied Sciences, Architecture and Engineering). The formative offer has therefore progressively been improved, ranging from the Bachelor Degrees to the I and II Level Masters and various Research PhD.
The official recognition of this institution as a Catholic University was done in 2011 by the competent ecclesiastical authorities, which in 2016 lead to affiliation with the International Federation of Catholic Universities (FIUC) alongside 226 other universities around the world. In 2017, Catholic University “Our Lady of Good Counsel” successfully passed the third institutional accreditation with a maximum evaluation, having met all the criteria and standards required at academic and structural level.
As part of the original OLGC Foundation project, work is underway to build Our Lady of Good Counsel Hospital within the territory of the university campus. The new and modern hospital complex will be a diagnostic-therapeutic center, with the aim of becoming an important point of reference for the Albanian health service.
Over the years the University has received important awards for the work it carries out both by the Albanian authorities (President of the Republic, Prime Minister) and by the Italian authorities (in February 2014 President of the Italian Republic Giorgio Napolitano publicly praised it) , but the definitive culmination of this process of growth and appreciation is the visit of His Holiness Pope Francis on 21 September 2014, when he met the religious leaders of Albania at the University headquarters.
To date, the Alumni of “Our Lady of Good Counsel” are among the most in-demand and positively evaluated professionals in the labour market, a source of inspiration for the new students, and have become a real point of reference in their professional fields everywhere in Albania, Italy and in the world.