Presidenti i Republikës së Shqipërisë

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President Begaj’s Address at the 3rd Annual Forum on Women, Peace, and Security

It is an honor to address you today at this Forum on Women, Peace, and Security, held in Pristina. This event is a testament to our shared commitment to peace and security, as well as a reflection of Kosovo’s active contribution to a prosperous future, where the role of women is fundamental.

The Western Balkans has witnessed bloody conflicts that have left indelible marks on our lands and hearts and will forever remain in our historical memory.

Women bore the heaviest burden of these conflicts. They were targets of violence and torture, aimed at humiliating communities and ethnic cleansing.

These conflicts painfully remind us of the high price paid, especially by women.

Today, we are together in Kosovo to reaffirm our unwavering resolve for cooperation, progress, and sustainable development for peace and security in the Western Balkans.

This forum is not only an act of collective memory of historical and current violence against women in conflicts but also a shared aspiration for a future where peace and security are strengthened by women’s roles and leadership.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our history in the Western Balkans, particularly within the Albanian society, is a testament to the strength of women as mediators of peace and stability. Albanian women have played a significant role in preserving family and social solidarity.

Today, they significantly contribute to building democratic institutions and promoting dialogue.

Women are engaged in various ways, from participating in political life and entrepreneurship to civil society and involvement in human rights and education initiatives.

Albania and Kosovo have achieved high representation of women in political life, state institutions, and defense and security bodies. I commend Kosovo, which in its first 15 years of independence, has had two female presidents.

I particularly take this opportunity to thank President Osmani for the initiative and organization of this forum.

I am confident that we still have work to do in breaking down barriers, strengthening the role of women, securing gender equality, and ensuring equal opportunities. Peace and security cannot be sustainably achieved without the equal participation of women and men at all levels of decision-making.

To strengthen the role of women, we must develop their capacities and create supportive circumstances for them.

Educating girls and women is crucial. Investing in their education and training opens new opportunities, empowers them, and provides the resources needed to challenge societal and family attitudes. This will ensure equal opportunities to participate in political and social processes.

By supporting women’s education, we invest in the future leaders of challenging fields, such as technological innovation and environmental solutions. Innovations brought by female leaders, scientists, activists, and entrepreneurs are essential for addressing the challenges our world faces today. This forum can become a platform for alliances that support and ensure women’s education worldwide.

Such alliances must also be formed to end violence against women. Unfortunately, this violence is not only a fact of civil, ethnic, regional, or global conflicts but also of the daily lives of hundreds of thousands of families where women face abuse.

As such, the battle to end violence against women requires our collective effort on many levels, determination, and persistence. It is time for an intense campaign to ensure that violence against women in any form is unacceptable and unforgivable.

Let me remember the pain, suffering, and sacrifices of the women and girls who were victims of violence.

I highly appreciate the courage and bravery of all those who have testified to the horrors they experienced. They are living witnesses that must not be forgotten, archived, or left unpunished and never repeated.

Distinguished Participants,

In the context of today’s regional and global tensions, increasing women’s participation in dialogue on peace and security offers perspectives and solutions that are essential for building sustainable peace.

In our region, where political changes and security tensions continue to be a challenge, the role of women in conflict prevention, mediation, and post-conflict recovery is more important than ever.

This forum is vital to highlight each of our countries’ roles in efforts and commitments towards peace and security, which are based on the consolidation of the rule of law, the quality of democracy, and social justice.

These are the pillars upon which Albania has oriented and is intensively working towards its European integration path. Democracy and social state always need reforms and improvement. At all times, they remain the only reliable solutions toward peace and security both locally and globally.

I see gender equality and the consolidation of women’s roles in society as fundamental conditions of a functioning democracy.

In conclusion, I believe this forum will serve as a guide for concrete steps of initiatives and activities at various levels of representation aimed at raising societal awareness about the irreplaceable role of women and ensuring their physical and psychological integrity at all times.

From Pristina, a city of resilience and endless energy to build a prosperous future, I wish for a world where every woman and girl lives free from oppression, violence, and discrimination and is supported in realizing her dreams and aspirations.