Friday, 22 November 2019
ADDRESS OF PRESIDENT XHAFERI AT THE SOLEMN ACADEMY ON THE OCCASION OF THE CULTURAL AND SCIENTIFIC CELEBRATION “DAYS OF THE ALPHABET”
Dear President of the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia, Mr. Zaev,
Dear Minister for Political System of the Republic of North Macedonia, Mr. Duraku,
Dear President of the Democratic Union for Integration, Mr. Ahmeti,
Representatives of domestic institutions,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am honored that this evening, with this Solemn Academy that actually encapsulates the several days of the Cultural and Scientific celebration "Days of the Alphabet", I have the pleasure to welcome you as President of the Assembly of the Republic of North Macedonia and on behalf of my fellow Members of Parliament to seize this opportunity and congratulate you on the most important day in the history of Albanians' political and cultural development, the day we celebrate the 111th anniversary of the Bitola Congress, the gathering which saw the making of crucial decisions which represent the pillars that supported the cultural and political future of the Albanian people, that is, the unification of the Albanian alphabet that took Albanian culture and education to a higher level. In addition, the congress saw the further consolidation towards the development and progress of Albanians congress the further consolidation was made towards Albanians' development and progress, clearly setting the orientation and direction to follow in the future. And this step, however modest it may seem to the ancient world civilizations, is nevertheless a contribution to the overall development of mankind.
Certainly, this intellectual rise of the Albanians rests on the foundations laid by the Albanian intellectuals and leaders of the revival - members of the Bashkimi Association, who gathered from all over the world in Bitola, at Kiryazi, whose will and vision and dedication have resulted in the most precious product of the life and bright future of a nation, that is, the unified alphabet that has become a means of written communication among all Albanians, but also a standardized language that has been translated and continues to be translated into all world languages. This prolongs the life span of a nation, its value and weight. Because a language is as rich and valuable as much as it is spoken, written, enriched and spread throughout the world. It is a powerful weapon in intellectual, cultural, artistic terms but above all, it is a means of identity of a nation, or as the English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge put it, "Language is the armory of the human mind, and at once contains the trophies of its past and the weapons of its future conquests". Indeed, language unites people, unites ideas and enables collaboration and, of course, progress and development. And on this occasion I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all the citizens and representatives of the domestic institutions who, by being present here and by doing all their institutional work, have clearly shown that it is only civil societies with citizens who enjoy rights but also have the same obligations, that can be the engine that drives forward our country and the entire Western Balkans region that has long been committed to building societies that embrace universal values of human rights and freedoms.
When I talk about the rise and development, I mean the many values, and in fact the institutions that now live the adulthood, but also those in their infancy, such as the Institute of Spiritual and Cultural Heritage of the Albanians, whose leadership I would like to congratulate on their tireless work and valuable contribution to enriching the cultural and historical heritage of Albanians in this part of the Balkans, preserving, nurturing and promoting the values of the past and the values that will be created in the future in order to broaden the horizon of action. The scope and variety of activities that this institute has developed in collaboration with local institutes, organizations and academic institutions from the country and abroad are noteworthy, but above all, their scientific and academic work that is being carried out diligently. The same goes to the founding, consolidation, and hopefully soon enough, the first results of the Agency for the Use of Languages, which was established a year ago. Dear guests, let me share with you the sense of pride I feel on establishing the 22 November State Prize, in recognition of the people of political, cultural and social life in the Republic of North Macedonia who have contributed to the promotion of interpersonal coexistence and mutual understanding among members of different communities, cultures and religions in the country, and that this year, this prize goes to the respected scientist, historian and humanist David Hosaflook and the veterans of education, Kimete and Adnan Agai.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Last year, as we celebrated 110 years of the Day of the Alphabet, when I was talking about the new reality, I was referring to the new political context we were being in as a region then, and now, when comparing it with the current context, I can say that the Republic of North Macedonia is almost within NATO, where the Republic of Albania is now marking full ten years of membership, and we will soon be partners in this dimension of cooperation, while as regards our joint journey in achieving our aspirations for integration in the European family, unfortunately we are encountering an obstacle, and after all our efforts and sincere commitment, again it is not up to us and we cannot significantly change that. However, we are certainly continuing with the same pace of reforms, improving the quality of life of our citizens and above all, creating favourable conditions for our youth, enabling them to open their wings and foster their creative, scientific affinities and above all, opening up the endless horizons of producing tangible human values for their potential, their contribution to society, for the state and the region to be seen, appreciated and enjoyed by all. Because, as I said then, times change, the discourse changes, but it is important for one thing to be the same and shared, and that is the goal we want to achieve, and to reach it together, as people, as states, as a region.
Happy 22 November!
Thank you for your attention!