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A. Moisiu: Address to World Summit

Address to World Summit 2019, Seoul, Korea, February 7–11, 2019
Peace Is Very Important, But What Should We Do to Help in Securing It?
Hon. Alfred Moisiu
President of the Republic of Albania (2002-2007)


Honoured excellencies, distinguished friends and guests, ladies and gentlemen.

Nowadays the situation is not clear for humanity all over the globe, so the theme chosen for this meeting is not only serious but also very useful to explore the concerns of mankind at the present time. There are bells ringing from all sides that should force current world political leaders to be very careful about their behaviour and decisions. Meanwhile, we cannot stay out of this situation even though we are not in decision-making positions. But that does not mean that our opinion expressed here today in this conference is unimportant.  

Peace is what we all seek and love. The name of our Universal Peace Federation itself makes it obligatory to think, to act and to strive with every opportunity to maintain peace in this troubled world.

In my speech, I want to concentrate only on the Western Balkans region, where my country is. We know what happened in the past. Though it has been a long period of time, the concerns of that time can never be forgotten. It’s not just the part of the population that lives on the peninsula that has suffered from the past, but we must worry about the other part, which has exercised violence against others, which refuses to condemn the past. Rather, they call it strangely glorious and seek restitution.

I find it reasonable to mention here the statement by former British journalist Edith Durham about the consequences of the decisions of the Berlin Congress in 1878 for the division of lands of the Ottoman Empire after the defeat of the war with Russia. Edith Durham, who lived in the Balkans for more than 20 years, in her book The Burden of the Balkans published in 1905, commenting on the 19th-century Berlin Treaty, wrote: 

The interested nations were not all happy with the new established borders, because it is very difficult for each group of diplomats to set and draw peoples maps, for which they have little or no personal knowledge, in a country they had never set foot on. In addition, they were tasked to deal with a matter concerned not only with the interests of the Balkan people but also their interests.

Everyone knows how much blood and suffering this has cost the Balkan people. It’s very difficult to calculate, but the most serious is that these heavy and difficult hostilities are still not only not forgotten, but from certain policy segments of some countries are kept alive and nurtured primarily for inspiration of the people who can still be deceived with the so-called political, patriotic and nationalist calls. I do not want to repeat that here, but I just wanted to remind you that this situation is critical and requires a lot of attention.

Not only that, but on this peninsula, which has historically been the route of the main empires of the world, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, and the battlefield of the two largest World Wars, the hostilities and difficulties of the peoples of this region have deepened.

As we have seen, the region has consistently collided with the interests of the great world powers, which continue to this day. Thus, today there is a clash between the nationalistic and the chauvinistic, and even the religious interests between the countries, under different influences of superpowers. Therefore, a balance must be found to calm and clarify the future of this region.

Although the Federation has worked in this direction, it should address even more attention. The latest initiative undertaken in Vienna, the cycling tour around neighbouring Balkan countries, I think was a very valuable message to address the above-mentioned problems. However, more people from Slavic and Greek countries should be included in our activities, as these countries have been more affected by old nationalist and chauvinist theories.

But at the same time we should organize meetings with progressive public figures in these countries to work publicly through various media to create a positive environment toward achieving our goals.

Meanwhile, I think that it is time to do something organizationally too. For example, I would propose the possibility of setting up a coordinating body specifically for the Balkans region by designating appropriate financial support for this purpose. The object of this body would be to approach as many public figures as possible about our goals, in particular including the viewpoint of young people who have another vision and also desire to achieve a lasting peace. There could also be documentary films made showing the horrors of the various wars, to increase the attentiveness of people to any mischief associated with the further promotion of hostilities.

I think that today is the time to use a more differentiated approach, depending on the situation, the historical developments, the traditions, the level of opposition and their interests to preserve the old animosities.

We should not forget that if half of the last century and the first decade of this century are distinguished by the tendencies of globalization, today unfortunately is a time when widespread nationalist and right-wing extremist tendencies flourish openly in all countries, especially in some important European countries. It has been noted that the results of recent elections in some of the major European countries show the worrying and dangerous advancement of these forces. In these situations it becomes necessary to develop strategies based on the real conditions of different regions of the globe.

Allow me to thank the Reverend Doctor Moon for the initiative she took to organize these exchanges of thoughts and our concerns about the situation we are going through. I believe that this important international meeting of religious leaders, former political leaders and others will certainly yield its fruits.

Thank you for your attention!



To go to the 2019 World Summit Schedule page, click here.