Good morning and thank you for the invitation to be part of this event today. Supporting Albania’s efforts in combatting terrorism and violent extremism is among the key priorities of the U.S. government and the Embassy.
No country is immune to the threat posed by terrorism and violent extremism, and the Balkan region and Albania are no exception. Violent extremism is a problem that affects all of society.
To prevent extremist groups from radicalizing, recruiting, and inspiring others to violence, close collaboration among government and civil society is essential. In that regard, Albania has been at the forefront of regional efforts of fighting this phenomenon.
We appreciate the important coordination role played by the office of the National Coordinator for the implementation of the Albanian National CVE Strategy.
Many actors, including local government, schools, law enforcement agencies, religious communities, and civil society, have undertaken important initiatives over the past several years to raise awareness and fight violent extremism.
I am proud to say that many of these initiatives have been sponsored by the U.S. Embassy, including this program, “Promoting Education to Counter Violent Extremism,” implemented by International Association of Solidarity.
This project will help build the capacities of high school teachers to identify risks of violent extremism and to deal with students and parents who might demonstrate extremist behavior. Identification of individuals at risk is an important first step. Empowering teachers to direct those in need to helpful resources will help deter these individuals from the dangerous and violent path to which they are being directed.
Countering violent extremism is everyone’s responsibility – we must address it together – and this project is an excellent example of protecting communities through teamwork. I would like to conclude by wishing all of you every success in the implementation of this important initiative.