Remarks by Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Dan Koski at Tirana University Law School Graduation

*Good evening Speaker Ruci, Minister Gjonaj, Minister Shahini, distinguished guests and graduates.

I am honored to be with you tonight.  On behalf of the United States Government, I congratulate all of today’s graduates.

There is an American graduation tradition I’m sure you know very well.  In my hand I’m holding a tassel.  Tassels like this hang from graduates’ caps, swung to the right side of their heads throughout the ceremony.  As the graduation ceremony concludes, the graduates – all in unison – turn their tassels to the left side of their caps.

The tassel may just look like a decoration or an ornament.  But to American, it means much more than that.  It has a deep, symbolic meaning to us.  It represents academic hopes and aspirations fulfilled.  And it symbolizes the beginning of a new chapter in a graduate’s life, filled with limitless promise and potential.

But it’s the actual act of moving the tassel from right to left that is the ultimate symbol of achievement and accomplishment.  It means you’ve made it.  You’ve earned the right to be called a “graduate.”  And the future is yours to shape.

Graduates, as you approach the moment where you would move your tassels from right to left, I ask you to consider this question:  What is the future will you shape for yourself?

I hope you will shape it with these three aspirations in mind:

First, I hope you will be agents of change to strengthen the integrity of Albania’s justice system.  But know that your job will not be easy.  Corruption is everywhere and lurks in places you least suspect.  I urge you to become part of a new generation that rejects corruption wherever you see it.   And I challenge you to be courageous.  Expose corruption and bring it out into the light for everyone to see.  Make yourself a champion of an ethical justice system and a hero to everyone it serves

Second, I hope you dedicate yourself every day to bringing honor to yourself, your profession, and your fellow citizens as you contribute to a better justice system for your country.  Harness your optimism and energy to make the system better.  Ground yourself in integrity, honor, and ethics, and fight for everything that is right.  You, your colleagues, and your country deserve no less.

Finally, I hope you draw strength and courage from the ethical professionals around you who need you to join them in this fight for your country’s future.  Seek trustworthy partners in law enforcement and other agencies to support your noble efforts.  They are there, waiting for you.  And know that the United States will always stand with you as long as you stand up for a transparent and ethical judicial system.  Our support for that cause, and for those who join us in advancing it, will never waiver and will never weaken.

I wish you all a long and successful future and congratulate you again.

Thank you.

*as prepared for delivery