*Deputy Minister Bici, OSCE representative Nebiu, distinguished guests, students, and faculty,
I am delighted to join you today for the Institute for Women in National and International Security Policy. I am especially proud that Dr. Edlira Titini was inspired to create this institute after she participated in a U.S. sponsored program on policy making, and I am so impressed that that she has grown her idea into an annual regional initiative. I am also happy to see how her professors and colleagues have embraced this vision, a few of them even traveling to Albania to teach at this institute. Dr. Titini is a great example of how one inspiring – and hard working – person can turn an idea into something that generates future leaders.
When we send participants on exchange programs, our hope is always that they return to Albania with new skills and ideas that they can apply in their work. This institute is the perfect example of an alumna doing just that, so thank you Dr. Titini. I would also like to thank the Director of the Center for Regional and Local Development Studies, all of the faculty members who will serve as instructors, and the representatives of national security and military institutions for their contributions to this important initiative.
Our work at the U.S. Embassy in Albania focuses on three main priorities: defense, democracy, and business. Security is a common thread running through all of these priorities. Secure democratic institutions provide for law enforcement, implementation of justice reform, less corruption, more foreign investments, and economic development. When I look over your program, I see so many important topics confronting the Balkans, Europe and the entire world. These are the same issues that your counterparts in Washington D.C. – from thinktanks to the White House – are working on right now.
To the 20 women who are here to participate in this institute, I want to thank you for your commitment to our shared goal of advancing global security. You represent many different public and private institutions in Albania and Kosovo. You each have valuable insights and perspectives to share. Europe and the world need your unique perspectives and contributions.
Over the coming days, I encourage you to listen, to ask questions, and to debate ideas as you engage with the international experts on some of today’s most important international issues.
You are the future leaders of Albania and Kosovo. Take advantage of this opportunity to prepare yourselves for this important role. The United States will stand with you as we work to overcome security threats and to promote greater peace and prosperity.
*as prepared for delivery