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Balkans Peace Initiative

Thousands March for Peace in Albania

Korça, Albania - Approximately 4,000 people joined a high-spirited peace march through the ancient Albanian city of Korça to mark the Global Peace Festival on October 18. Led by the Korça City Band and hundreds of Ambassadors for Peace, the throng of peace marchers grew so rapidly that it became clear there wouldn’t be enough space at the main celebration in the Sports Hall for all the marchers to join those who had already assembled there.

The Main Event started almost an hour and a half late due to the late arrival of the peace marchers. The Sports Hall, with a capacity of 4,000 people, was completely full, and the 1,000 people who were unable to enter remained outside for a long time. The master of ceremonies, nationally-known musician and producer Dhimiter Orgocka, moved people’s hearts with his appeals for peace, along with his assistant, Mrs. Melisa Demiri, who had come from Kosovo to support the event.

The video message of Global Peace Festival Chairman Dr. Hyun Jin Moon was well received by the audience, and Dr. Young-Cheol Song, regional chair of UPF-Europe, spoke next. Many well-known singers and performers from Albania and neighboring countries highlighted the Main Event, culminating with Alban Skenderaj, the leading young singer in Albania at the moment, who came directly from Germany to participate in the event. The program went far longer than planned, but everybody stayed until the end.

A week of events

Life in Korça was very lively from October 11 to 18. People could feel that something very special was going on, and many remarked that the atmosphere of the city had changed completely. The festival week opened with an event sponsored by UPF in partnership with the Mary Potter Palliative Care Center. October 11 is honored as the International Day of People with Cancer, and volunteers with UPF and the Palliative Care Center raised funds throughout the city to support people in need of such care. The activity was covered by local media and made a very positive impact.

An Exhibition of Figurative Arts promoting talented new artists in the city opened on October 13. The event was organized in partnership with UPF, City Hall, and the Korça Arts Gallery. The exhibition stayed opened until October 18, and hundreds of people visited it.

October 15 was a very busy day with GPF activities. In the morning, a Student Convention was held at the University of Korça in partnership with the Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles, the University of Korça, and the student government of the university. Approximately 200 students attended the event on the theme “Mankind One Family, the Earth One Home.” Participants were greeted by the Rector of the University, Prof. Dr. Gjergji Mero, along with international Global Peace Festival organizers Mr. Massimo Trombin and Mrs. Tomiko Duggan.

That afternoon, the district director of the Ministry of Education hosted an award ceremony for the winners of the high school essay competition on the theme, "Mankind One Family, the World One Home." Three winners were chosen from the 40 finalists out of about 2,000 student essays that were submitted. This is the second year the essay contest took place in Korça, and it has become a tradition.

Social Impact and Community Service

On October 17, 1,500 young people and students joined in a social impact project to increase the green areas in the whole city by planting trees and cleaning schoolyards. All of the schools of the city were involved in the project. The Korça City Hall, in cooperation with Regional Education Department of the Ministry of Education and Science and UPF, initiated a project with all the schools in the city called “One Student, One Tree,” which will continue in the months to come.

The same day, a scientific conference on environmental protection entitled “My City, My Home” was held at the university auditorium in partnership with UPF, City Hall, and the University of Korça. Nationally-known scholars spoke at the conference. In addition to the 50 distinguished guests and Ambassadors for Peace, more than 100 students attended the sessions. The conference concluded with an important proposal to open an Environmental Engineering Faculty at Korça University.

The final day of the Albania GPF, October 18, started with another tree planting ceremony, building on the social impact program of the previous day. Many dignitaries participated in the ceremony, including Former President of Albania H.E. Alfred Moisiu, Korça Mayor Niko Peleshi, the Regional Education Department Director Mr. Andrea Mano, and many Ambassadors for Peace from Albania and other Balkan nations. The media covered all the events.

On the morning of October 19, 150 people gathered to reflect on the events of the week. Former President Moisiu joined in the celebration, during which key organizers were recognized. Ambassadors for Peace from Albania and other Balkan nations shared highlights of their experiences during the many events that took place during the week-long Global Peace Festival.

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