Ambassador Donald Lu’s Remarks at the School of Magistrates Graduation Ceremony

Chief Justice Zaganjori, General Prosecutor Llalla, Director Sadushi, Dear Graduates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have been to a lot of boring graduations in my life with long and boring speeches.  There was one good one I remember, though.  It was 1985 and I was not yet a graduate myself but everyone at my university was excited about one of the guests for the graduation.

His name was Theodore Seuss Geisel, but he is better known around the world as Dr. Seuss.  He is famous for his rhyming children’s books, including The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham and The Lorax.

I don’t know if Dr. Seuss is famous in Albania, but in America every child grows up reading his books.  When he rose to the stage to receive his honorary doctorate in fine arts, the students went crazy.  They clapped and they cheered as he received his degree.

The degree read, “in appreciation for showing children to the world of adults, and showing adults to the world of children.”

So what would Dr. Seuss tell you if he were here with us today?  He once famously wrote,

You’re off to great places.  Today is your day!  Your mountain is waiting.  So get on your way.

So what could this mean in the context Albania today?  To me it means that corrupt judges and prosecutors have had their day.  Today is your day.  This is the time for a new generation of judges and prosecutors to make its mark on the world.

The Albanian people should be filled with hope that your generation will be the generation that restores hope and confidence that there will be justice for all.  They want to believe that your generation will use this gift of the judicial reform to make sure that all people — the guilty and the innocent — are treated with respect in this society.

I have been guilty of many things in my life.  Over these past two years, I have been guilty of criticizing the integrity and professionalism of judges and prosecutors in Albania.

It is now your job to show the world that you can do better.  That you can do your jobs professionally — without corrupt money, without political influence, and without being intimidated by dangerous criminals.

You will have the challenge to be a generation that builds the people’s trust.  To show them you can do better.  To show them that you are professional and just and wise.

This is a big mountain to climb.  But with great courage and resolve, we all have faith that you can get this done.

Congratulations to all of the graduates, to their teachers and to their parents.  May we all remember this day as the first day of a new generation of judicial professionals in Albania.