17 August 2020 President Meta awards the former President of the Republic, Prof. Dr. Rexhep Meidani with the “Decoration of the National Flag”: An extraordinary example of morality, values, human dignity and patriotism, an inspiring model of a responsible academic, statesman and politician
President of the Republic, H. E. Ilir Meta awarded today, on the occasion of the 76th anniversary of his birth, former President of the Republic, Prof.Dr. Rexhep Meidani, with the highest decoration, that of the “National Flag”, with the motivation:
“As a sign of appreciation and gratitude for the high state and patriotic responsibility shown as President of the Republic of Albania in the years 1997-2002; for the valuable contribution given to the important reform of the new Constitution of the Republic of Albania and to the holding of the referendum of its adoption in 1998, as well as to the development of democracy and the establishment and strengthening of independent institutions in our country. With respect to the efforts made in support of the cause of Kosova in particular and the national one in general. Also, for the outstanding scientific and academic activity at national and international level”.
In the solemn ceremony organized on this occasion were present; the President of the Republic of Kosovo, H.E. Hashim Thaçi, the former Presidents of Albania, Mr. Sali Berisha, Mr. Bujar Nishani and Mr. Bamir Topi, the Chairman of the United Opposition, Mr. Lulzim Basha, former Prime Minister and Minister for Diaspora, Mr. Pandeli Majko, President of the Academy of Sciences, Mr. Skënder Gjinushi, MPs, politicians, diplomats, academics, scientists, journalists and prominent personalities from many fields from Albania and Kosova.
In his welcoming speech to family, friends, colleagues and guests, President Meta noted:
Dear ladies and gentlemen,
“Education and morality create the good man, the good statesman, the good leader,” Aristotle teaches us.
I started with these words of a great man because they best embody the figure and personality of Prof. Dr. Rexhep Meidani, who has not only reached the peaks of education but has been and continues to be a prominent example of morality, values and human dignity; a true statesman, a President and politician, academic and civic figure, always distinguished for modesty, responsibility and positive impact on our country and society.
Public life of Prof. Dr. Rexhep Meidani is known and appreciated by all Albanians for the high state and patriotic responsibility that he showed as President of the Republic in 1997-2002, years which are known as one of the most difficult in the post-communist period.
Not only in the position of Head of State, but also earlier, Professor Meidani has made a great contribution to the consolidation and development of that ideal in which he has always believed with great strength and stability, democracy, working diligently for the transmission of inclusive spirit in politics, governance, institutions and society.
By investing all his intellectual, political and human capacity, in the service of establishing and strengthening independent institutions in Albania.
He took office as Head of State in the most critical moments for the country, such as 1997, successfully contributing to the restoration of the institutional order and the Albanian state itself.
Of special importance remains the contribution of Professor Meidani in the important reform of the new Constitution of the Republic of Albania and for the success of the referendum of its adoption in 1998.
That historic moment, the adoption by referendum of the Constitution of Albania, drafted by the brightest minds of the country and the Venice Commission, and based on the most valuable examples and principles of democracy and separation of powers, in accordance with the most advanced standards European, testifies to the great will that real personalities and statesmen of the time, such as Professor Meidani, and many other well-known figures, had the sovereignty in the Republic of Albania to belong only to the Albanian people.
That historic moment served as the most important milestone and cornerstone in the recovery of the rule of law in Albania.
“The strength of the Constitution lies entirely in the insistence of every citizen to protect it. Only if every citizen does his part to protect it, are constitutional rights secure,” said Albert Einstein, the man and genius of science.
Therefore, Professor Meidani, coming from the field of science and physics, under his institutional responsibility believed and contributed that the Constitution of the country should belong only to the citizens and through the referendum, the Albanian people to give its final verdict.
Professor Meidani is known and appreciated for his tireless and fruitful efforts in support of the cause of Kosova.
He was the President of Albania during the Kosova War and of the great hospitality that our country reserved for the 1 million brothers and sisters from Kosova, who, forced by the Milosevic genocide, took refuge in Albania and were welcomed by Albanian families, found warmth from the historical solidarity of Kukës but also in every Albanian hearth from Tropoja to Saranda.
The role of President Meidani’s national unity in that historic moment was an added value for all political forces, even though we came from a deep division of 1997, to emerge as a nation with one attitude.
On May 24, 2000, President Rexhep Meidani visited Kosovo, marking the first visit by a head of state since the establishment of the Albanian state.
President of the Republic of Albania, MP and politician, Professor Meidani is a prominent personality in the academic field with a prominent scientific activity with valuable academic achievements.
As a member of the Academy of Sciences of Albania, honoris causa from various universities inside and outside the country; holder of many honorary titles and academic degrees from many foreign institutions from the US, Italy, Greece, the United Kingdom, but also those of Albanian areas such as Kosova, Montenegro and North Macedonia, and as the author of scientific and political writings and publications, Professor Meidani remains one of the most prominent personalities of our country, of which we are proud everywhere.
His deep scientific and academic knowledge and insights, but also his extensive state and political experience, intertwined with outstanding human values have been transmitted to many generations of students who always remember Rexhep Meidani as their model Professor.
The modesty and professionalism, the extraordinary display of statehood and patriotism that Professor Meidani has shown throughout his career and life, should serve as an example for today’s politicians.
To place the Homeland and the nation before every ambition of power; to promote democracy when the constitutional and institutional order is violated; to unite the country when there are serious attempts to divide it.
To help and not hinder Albania’s journey towards the European family; to show institutional accountability at every level of government or state; and above all to preserve and protect all those achievements and Euro-Atlantic commitments that our country has gained with so much effort and sacrifice.
I was honored to work in the role of Prime Minister of Albania in the years 1999-2002 with a President of the Republic with full integrity, dignity and with very high state responsibilities as Professor Meidani.
But today I am even more privileged to award to Professor Meidani, such a prominent personality with rare values for our country, the “National Flag Decoration”.
“A statesman is a politician who puts himself in the service of the nation. A politician is a leader who puts the nation at the service of himself,” said George Pompidou.
Professor Meidani thank you for always putting yourself and all your skills in the service of the nation.
And today, on the occasion of the 76th anniversary of your birth, I wish you health and prosperity, and on behalf of all Albanians I express my gratitude for all your very valuable contribution to Albania and Albanians “, – said President Meta.
Thanking the Head of State for his awarding of the “National Flag Decoration”, the highest in the Republic of Albania, former President Meidani said:
“First of all, let me thank President Meta for this very special assessment, even quite unexpected on the occasion of the 76th anniversary of his birth.
In fact, the “National Flag” Decoration is the highest decoration in the Republic of Albania.
With this Decoration that was honored by the Albanian state and President Clinton, after the liberation of Kosova, I am honored today, and for this reason I am sincerely grateful for the high appreciation of my work, life and commitment to the function of political and institutional development. and socio-cultural of the country, the democratic emancipation of the people and the integrative and unifying consolidation of the Albanian nation.
In this long life path and the challenges have not been few, or small.
They have helped me, to stay on the ground and to maintain even in very difficult moments, the rational and human aspect, social responsibility and human justice, an asset that was created and educated in me, by my family, by the friendly circle and schools, from the university and scientific environment.
Finally, I can not but emphasize that in this honor today, it is embodied in one way or another and the contribution and support of people close to me.
Former students and colleagues, friends and close associates, a very small part of whom are also present at this ceremony.
Among them, as a successful prime minister of the two socialist governments, was also Mr. Ilir Meta, today President of Albania.
His contribution, together with that of the Speaker of the Assembly Skënder Gjinushi, and the Prime Minister Majko, have been decisive in the conduct of the Referendum, for the approval by the people of the Constitution of Albania.
“I am taking this opportunity to express my deep gratitude and respect for him and for all my colleagues and friends,” said former President Meidani.