Good morning. Thank you all for coming to the Embassy today and for allowing me to celebrate this occasion with you. There is no doubt that this has been a challenging time due to the pandemic, but I am honored and glad that we are able to gather together here today in the culmination of your program.
Let me begin with my most important message: congratulations on your graduation! I am pleased that you spent the time and the effort to complete this program. I am pleased because it means so much more than the certificate you are about to receive.
The fact that the U.S. Government spends money on programs like this shows that we care about you and the journalism that you do. A vibrant and free press is central to a healthy democracy. You all are better, stronger, and more capable journalists as a result of this program.
Take what you have learned and put these newly gained skills to work. I hope that you strive to bring out the truths that you know exist but have yet to see the light of day. Seek out the truth. Present it in a clear, transparent manner, and bring it to the Albanian people. Help keep government, institutions, and society accountable. Because, through these acts, you will be working to make Albania a better place. Yes, you, through your work, can make Albania a better place to live, to work, and to learn.
I know that the work you do is hard. I know that it can also be dangerous. I know that you face difficult deadlines, difficult topics, and difficult decisions. But I also know you can do it. You chose this profession, and it is a great one. By facing and overcoming these challenges, you will become better and stronger by persevering.
As you work every day to publish the truth, know that we are here to support you. The United States stands by you as you inform Albanian citizens, shedding light on topics that others prefer to keep dark, with the goal of making Albanian democracy better and stronger.