Remarks by A/DCM Koski at the Tirana University Law School’s Graduation

Photo Credit: Law School

Minister Gjonaj, colleagues of the Diplomatic Corps, distinguished guests, graduates,

It is my honor to be with you today.  On behalf of the United States Government, I congratulate all of today’s graduates on your outstanding achievement.  I wish you all great success.

I hope to be brief, so please allow me to share three messages with you:

First, your education comes with great responsibility.  Not all of you will practice law.  But all of you have a responsibility to serve your professions honorably.  And all of you have a responsibility to use your education to do better and to be better.  No excuses.

For the future lawyers here, you have a responsibility to contribute to a justice system that delivers on its promises of fairness and impartiality for all Albanians.  Lead with honor and integrity.  Be decent, and fair, and honest, and ethical.  Reject corruption in all its forms.  This is your opportunity to lead for the greater good.  Become a leader that future generations of Albanians can respect.

Message number two, the United States stands ready to support you.  America will stand with every person who commits to building an Albania that is just and free – for all Albanians.  No matter your profession or your politics.  If you stand for justice, we the United States of America, will stand with you.

To those of you who will become lawyers, the United States will always support you as long as you contribute to a transparent, honest, and ethical judicial system.  Our dedication to these principles, and to those who defend them, will never waiver and will never weaken.  You have our promise.

Third message, the United States’ resolve to defend the rule of law is unbreakable.  We will continue to stand up against corrupt officials who use their positions for personal gain.  We will continue to support vetting for every prosecutor and judge, no exceptions.  For example, we agree with Gjin Gjoni that his paternity leave should not provide a way for him to avoid vetting.

We will also continue to use every tool to back up our words with actions.  As proof, we will continue to deny visas to corrupt officials who are unwelcome in our country because of the disgrace they have brought to yours.  On this as well, you have our promise.

I congratulate you again on your achievements.  Now is your time to lead your great country with honor and integrity.  The United States stands ready to support you.