Balkans Peace Initiative

Seminar for Albanian Ambassadors for Peace

Tirana, Albania - On scenic Ohrid Lake, key Albanian Ambassadors for Peace and their spouses took part in a seminar that deepened their understanding of peace principles and strengthened the vision of building one family under God.

The end of year 2009 was marked by important changes for UPF Albania. The appointment of the new Secretary General was followed by elections to the National Peace Council and new leadership. Also beginning with President Alfred Moisiu’s participation in the UPF International Leadership Seminar and World Peace Blessing on October 14 in Korea, many key Ambassadors for Peace have participated in the World Peace Blessing. Therefore, we decided to offer a seminar at the end of April that would convey a deeper understanding of the vision and teaching of UPF founder Rev. Sun Myung Moon.

We selected 38 participants, with special invitations to spouses of senior Ambassadors for Peace. Despite the tense political atmosphere in the nation, people set aside time to participate. Among them was Hon. Flamur Shehu, the newly appointed Chairman of our National Peace Council; he is a famous composer and Member of Parliament.

Our chartered bus left Tirana at 2:00 pm on April 29, at the beginning of the May 1 holiday weekend. We prepared an entertaining, inspiring, and educational program for the seven-hour bus ride southeast of the capital to the conference site, the beautiful Sileks Hotel. It is on the shore of Ohrid Lake in the neighboring Republic of Macedonia. A Unesco World Heritage Site, Ohrid Lake is one of Europe's deepest and oldest lakes; its exceptionally clear water is home to many unique species.

We checked into our rooms and enjoyed a quick but substantial dinner. Hon. Shehu and Mr. Ali Lacej, chair of UPF-Albania, welcomed the participants. Mr. Lacej talked about Rev. Moon's Peace Messages, key events of 2009, and plans for the coming three years. People listened attentively.

The following day began with morning inspiration by Imam Fadil Kraja from Shkodra. He spoke about peace and family from the Islamic viewpoint, and his insights were well received. There were four presentations during the day, concluding with an excursion into the city of Ohrid. A party in the evening marked the spectacular end of the second day.

Interest in the lectures continued on the third day. After lunch we headed east into Macedonia to visit Bitola (the old town of Manastir), which was founded by Phillip II, father of Alexander the Great some 400 years B.C. A typical-looking town from the Ottoman times, it served as the center of an important region in the central Balkans. It was very interesting to see large mosques and churches in the center of the town, evidence of the multicultural environment and diversity of faiths that have long coexisted in this troubled region.

As the local people were returning to Bitola from their Sunday outings, we were heading back to Ohrid and our hotel. Basking in the warm sunlight, we enjoyed the singing of several Ambassadors for Peace during the bus ride. To our delight, the hotel manager had invited a musician and local singer to entertain us, since that would be our last night at the hotel. A very talented local woman sang for us, and we felt God’s presence and love through her music. The warm Macedonian hospitality moved the Albanians deeply.

The last day began with morning inspiration kindly prepared by a couple who participated in the World Peace Blessing in San Marino earlier in the year. Explanations of the ideal of true parents and the world peace blessing were followed by appointments of new Ambassadors for Peace and final comments by the participants.

The husband of one UPF leader said, “My dear wife testified many times to me about the exceptional experiences in such workshops but I was skeptical. I am deeply moved by the experience that I had here.”

Another newly appointed Ambassador for Peace said: “I was very impressed by the organizers and the lecturers, who showed great care and love for each of us. I want to congratulate you again for the respect that you showed to each other throughout this seminar.”

Mrs. Elvira Loli thanked the people who introduced her to the Universal Peace Federation in Albania and pledged to share the ideals with the nation's youth. The seminar closed with a benediction prayer by Imam Fadil Kraja, following the example set at last year's seminar by one of the founders of UPF in Albania, Mr. Halit Muharremi, who passed to the spirit world last year.

Excerpts of comments by participants:

“Clarifying the ways God communicates with us is a very important part of our job as Ambassadors for Peace. The presentations explained how to act, communicate, create, love, and forgive. This is the way to create one worldwide family of peace.” Xhulieta Rama – Tirana

Bilmil-lahi Rrahmani – Rrahim! I will try to fulfill the obligations that we have taken on our shoulders.” Imam Fadil E. Kraja – Shkodër

“This seminar will be a guiding star in every aspect of my life.” Pranvera Bejleri Korça

“I was very honored to be one of the lecturers and very glad that my husband, Gjegj, was part of the seminar. Both of us will work hard to become a true family centered on God and promote a pure society and global peace.” Kozeta Zavalani – Tirana

“Our country suffers from divisions, poverty, and poor management, but through the Universal Peace Federation we are creating an Abel-type brotherhood that we hope can embrace and win the hearts of our brothers." Arben Kraja – Shkodër

“One of my nephews asked me to make a portrait of God. I was embarrassed because I didn’t know what to do. I tried to make something based on my emotions, but my nephew didn’t like it. Then I told him ‘I do not know how to paint God, but I feel Him deep in my heart.’ This seminar has given me an answer: the vision of a true family." Shega Murati Tiranë

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