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Balkans Peace Initiative

UPF-Albania Plans for the Next Two Years

Tirana, Albania - In iits biennial meeting UPF-Albania’s Presiding Council approved 21 decisions, including the General Plan of Activities, the budget for 2013-2015, the UPF-Albania Election Procedure, the Establishment of the Working Committees, and the Establishment of the Assistance Office to the UPF Secretary General.

The leaders of the National Peace Council—including Chairman Professor Arben Malaj with Vice Chairs Professor Shezai Rrokaj and Majlinda Mema—also attended the Dec. 21, 2013 meeting. Seven of the 12 elected members of the Presiding Council and eight of the nine secretaries of the Local Peace Councils attended, as did the president of the Albanian chapter of the Women’s Federation for World Peace, Mrs. Katarzyna Minollari.

After the singing of the Albanian national anthem, UPF-Albania Chairman Bajram Ibraj presented a PowerPoint on the vision of UPF.

Journalist Rrok Lelçaj, an Ambassador for Peace from the city of Lezhë, presented a short video report from the National Peace Council’s assembly in Prizren in November 2013.

UPF-Europe President Paul An spoke to the participants through a Skype connection. “God really loves Albania, as do the founders of UPF, Rev. and Mrs. Moon,” President An said. “Their hope and desire is to see a world in peace where people love each other like brothers and sisters centered on God as their Heavenly Parent. Take responsibility for your nation and open the way for God’s blessing to come to this people who have suffered so much through history.”

During the discussions, Presiding Council member Dr. Astrit Memia proposed that those who join UPF should first affirm God as Creator and Parent of humankind. The leaders of the Presiding Council and the National Peace Council countered this proposal, arguing that UPF is a universal organization that should include all people and that it should approach even those who do not believe and encourage them to do so. However, it was agreed that those who accept the title of Ambassador for Peace should accept UPF’s five principles of peace, of which the first is “Humankind is one family created by God.”

Ms. Elsa Xhai, a member of the Presiding Council, suggested that UPF-Albania, or the Local Peace Councils, could start programs to shelter and feed street children, similar to programs in Italy. The Vice Chair of the National Peace Council, Professor Rrokaj, said that such a project would need private donors or partnerships with governmental institutions. Dr. Memia emphasized that the issue of street children is a complex one that should be analyzed in detail and that governmental institutions such as the police and other social service organizations should be made aware of the analysis. Mrs. Eva Nita, chair of the Elbasan Peace Council, said that following a study of the problem, a project proposal should be prepared.

Some of the decisions made concerned the appointment of new secretaries of Local Peace Councils and specifically of Mr. Gabor Vasmatics (in Tirana), Mr. Arjan Haziraj (in Durrës), Mr. Ajet Bosi (in Elbasan), Mrs. Suzana Sulejmani (Fier), Mr. Arben Duraku (Kukës), Mr. Bruno Rexhaj (Lezhë), Mr. Lubin Argjir (Vlorë) and Mr. Gentian Qarri (Shkodër). Mr. Ermir Hoxha will continue to serve as the secretary of the Local Peace Council in Korça.

Another decision approved the establishment of 12 working committees, of which the most important is the committee responsible for projects and fundraising. The approved committees were:

1. Committee of Family Protection
2. Committee of Coordination with Institutions and Other Organizations
3. Committee of Conflict Prevention and Reconciliation
4. Committee of Public Relationships, Media and Promotion
5. Committee of Good Governance and Transparency
6. Committee of Interreligious Harmony
7. Committee of Projects and of Fundraising
8. Committee of Justice and Protection of Human Rights
9. Committee of Youth, Sports and Health
10. Committee of Charity and Social Solidarity

Professor Rrokaj said: “The institutions that ask for donations should know how to get them. We have the opportunity and should include people with positions in politics and business. Otherwise, we cannot implement any projects.” He emphasized that “the Committee of Projects and Fundraising should have as members important and well-known Ambassadors for Peace.” Chairman Ibraj supported the idea by saying that the creation of a database of Ambassadors for Peace will enable such people to be identified and invited to be part of the committee.

During this discussion, the chairman of the Local Peace Council in Durrës, Mr. Hidri, said that one of these committees should address issues of health, an idea that was supported by Mr. Rroshi, who proposed that such issues can be included in the Committee on Youth, Sports and Health.

A decision concerning a National Leadership Conference included forming an organizing team that includes Mr. Kurti, Mrs. Ruci and Mrs. Xhai and proposing to expand it to a Balkan regional conference.

After the approval of the 21 decisions, the meeting continued with the presentation of the National Peace Council’s program. Mr. Ali Laçej reported on the meeting of the Albanian Peace Council in the ethnically Albanian city of Prizren, Kosovo, on Nov. 17, 2013, and read from the declaration of this initiative: “The Albanian Peace Council is a coordinating instrument of Ambassadors for Peace with Albanian nationality. After we declared that only peace can help solve the historical problems of the Albanian people, by analyzing the fact that many of the misfortunes of the Albanians came from wars [among people] of different backgrounds.” Mr. Laçej also said: “Albanians exemplify the idea of the UPF founders of a nation under one God, considering that for hundreds of years they have lived in peace and harmony, even though with different religious composition. We can be good promoters of the idea that there can be coexistence and cooperation between different religions and ethnicities.”

Mr. Ibraj paid tribute to Mr. Alfred Moisiu (president of Albania, 2002-2007), Mr. Rexhep Mejdani (president of Albania, 1997-2002) and Mr. Fatmir Sejdiu (president of Kosovo, 2006-2010), for inspiring the Albanian Peace Council. He also expressed appreciation for the presence and the words of the “Albanian Mandela,” Mr. Adem Demaçi, and the representatives from the neighboring nations of Montenegro and Macedonia, the town of Preševo in Serbia, and western Greece.

Mr. Gani Rroshi of the Presiding Council presented the budget proposal for 2014. Several members of the Presiding Council stressed the importance of the annual membership fee, which should be collected by the Local Peace Councils. They proposed that the membership fee should be connected with other rights of membership. Mr. Ibraj and Mr. Apostoli emphasized that “all those who have sponsored or have donated should be recorded and thanked officially.”

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