Presidenti i Republikës së Shqipërisë

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President Begaj Gifts Two Busts of the National Hero to Arbëresh Communities: From Today, Skanderbeg is Not Just a Memory, But a Shared Life With You

Today, three busts of the National Hero, Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg, were added to the Arbëresh communities in Calabria: San Sofia, San Basile, and Zangarona.

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In almost every center of the Arbëresh villages, a bust of the National Hero stands as a symbol that keeps the Arbëresh identity alive. In this context, today’s ceremony of inaugurating the busts in these three communities was attended by the President of the Republic of Albania, Mr. Bajram Begaj, Arbëresh residents, local authorities, Albanians who left Albania after the ’90s, as well as personalities from Albania, Kosova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Italy. 

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The President of the Republic of Albania, Mr. Bajram Begaj, who donated two busts, expressed his gratitude to the participants and particularly greeted the young people and children present at this national festival.

“I have come to keep the promise I made to you last October because for us Albanians, a given word is not a myth but a reality”, President Begaj stated during the inaugural ceremony of the Skanderbeg bust.

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“This is my second visit to Calabria and this visit fills me with pride because all Italian institutions, starting from the president of the region of Calabria, the prefects of these communities, and all the media have shown interest and promoted everything related to Arbëria. Certainly, the project of Arbëria and Albania, now including Kosovo and Albanians living in North Macedonia or Montenegro, will have a solid basis to develop their relations.

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These relations would not be what they are today and would not have developed if you, 6 centuries ago, had forgotten where you came from, so it is time to say: thank you all, each and every one, and all Arbëresh communities for what you have done to preserve the Arbëresh language, what you have done to transmit our national identity with clothing, traditions, and our culture”.

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The Head of State emphasized that he will continue to offer his support, inspired by the Arbëresh model of valuing and promoting such significant history for the preservation of identity against the challenges of the times.

“Although the Arbëresh left their homeland, they came here to their new homeland in Italy. They came here and kept with them the language, the clothing, the culture, the tradition, the song and the dance, they brought with them their memory of Skanderbeg, their national identity. From today, Skanderbeg in this square will not just be a memory but will always be a life together with you. Every day you will look up to his highly elevated monument in this beautifully realized work”, President Begaj expressed, advising the young generations, our schools, teachers, and writers to be promoters of national values.

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Appreciating the figure of Skanderbeg as a strategist of unification who defined the future of our people towards Europe, President Begaj expressed that even today he is a symbol for all Albanians, whether at home or in the Diaspora.

Meanwhile, in San Basile, the ceremony was accompanied by a photographic exhibition by the artist Vlasov Sulaj about the journey of the monument sculpted by Ardian Pepa from Albania to Calabria.

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From Zangarona, after the inauguration of the bust of our National Hero, Gjergj Kastrioti, the Head of State invited young Arbëresh to become ambassadors of the historical, cultural, and identity values of Arbëria.

“I want to encourage you to continue being ambassadors of your values. Use every tool you have, from technology to social media, to share your unique story and positively influence your community and beyond. Be proud of who you are and what you represent!

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Show the world the treasures here, the beauty of your clothes, the craftsmanship of your traditional costumes, which are made by skilled artisans. Display the wonderful art expressed during six centuries of history. Spread the melodies of joyful songs and dance motifs.

In this journey, you will have us by your side”! expressed the President of the Republic, Bajram Begaj.