Deputy Minister Kuko, Director Dervishi, Mr. Hupin, Mr. Veenkamp, Ms. Luarasi,
Good Morning. Thank you for the invitation to be part of this event today.
I am so glad to see several partners gathered here in support of our shared fight against violent extremism, because this is exactly that, a shared effort. Our participation today shows that we stand together, we support one another, all to strengthen our collective goal of preventing and countering violent extremism.
Through this process, we have learned that while our military, intelligence, and law enforcement tools are vital to defeating violent extremism in its current form, only a truly comprehensive strategy, mobilizing a broad range of stakeholders, can address its underlying drivers.
Regionally, Albania has been at the forefront of fighting this phenomenon.
Many Albanian actors, including local government, schools, law enforcement agencies, religious communities, civil society, and citizens have all undertaken important initiatives to raise awareness in society, and fight violent extremism.
The U.S. Embassy is happy to have supported many of them. Together, we are advancing important CVE projects across Albania. Violent extremism affects all of society, and close collaboration among government and civil society is essential to countering the threats and preventing violent extremist groups from radicalizing, recruiting, and inspiring others to violence.
In October 2019, we – alongside the EU delegation in Albania and Hedayah Center – supported the initiative of the Counseling Line for Women and Girls to establish the first ever National CVE Info Call Center. Another State Department funded project helped train the Info Call Center’s staff. All this support was given because we believed in the vision of creating this resource in Albania and their goal of helping prevent radicalization.
This Center will now provide counseling, information, and support to individuals and communities at risk of radicalization and violent extremism. It provides a safe space where people’s key support networks, including family, friends, and acquaintances, can find information and advice on the role they can play in helping someone avoid participation in violent acts. Most importantly, it will help support the community resilience that U.S. support and the support of others has helped build in many communities throughout Albania.
I want to thank the Counseling Line for Women and Girls, our partner, for their exceptional efforts to establish the National CVE Info Call Center, and the Ministry of Interior and the CVE Coordination Center for their support.
I would like to conclude by wishing success to the newly created CVE Info Call Center, as another step forward in our joint fight against violent extremism.