Good Morning. I am delighted to see so many people here today who have embraced the spirit of volunteerism, activism, and civic responsibility. I am also glad to see so many organizations represented at the second annual National Advocacy Day.
Strengthening Albania’s democracy is one of the U.S. government’s highest priorities in Albania. The U.S. Embassy is pursuing this goal through our Democracy Commission Programs, our anti-corruption initiatives, our development projects, our advocacy for electoral reform, and our support for National Advocacy Day. I would like to thank Co-Plan-The Institute for Habitat Development for its work to make this day an annual tradition.
As members of civil society, you play an indispensable role in shaping Albania’s democracy. Civil society is the lifeblood of a vibrant democracy. A strong civil society can serve as a watchdog, holding institutions accountable and fighting corruption. It can also champion causes and bring about important policy changes through activism and advocacy.
I hope this day inspires a generation of new activists. However, successful advocacy cannot be achieved in just one day; rather, it requires a sustained commitment that spans days, weeks, or even years. It requires the determination to persevere even when failure seems certain. It requires dedication even when it seems no one else cares. I encourage you to take on that commitment, to tackle difficult problems, and to work to make your voices heard. The U.S. Embassy is here to help you raise your voice.
Thank you and congratulations.