Minister Margariti, Ambassador Hastad, Elena and the Cultural Heritage without Borders team, construction engineers and workers, community members, honored guests, good evening.
On the way to Durres earlier this afternoon I was thinking about my first visit to this ancient city shortly upon my arrival in Albania as U.S. Ambassador.
I wanted to meet with the people of Durres and the surrounding villages to hear how they were doing after the November 2019 earthquake.
Even while surrounded by of the damage and debris, through the pain and hardship the earthquake had caused, there was something that warmed my heart.
It was the people I met.
Their fortitude and resolve to move forward, their support for one another, and the bright eyes and joyful smiles of their children.
I knew right away that the people of Durres are strong and resilient, just like this fortress that defended this ancient city throughout its history.
The U.S. Embassy was proud to be able to support the restoration of Tower C through the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation, and we were so happy to partner with our friends at the Swedish Embassy and the Albanian Ministry of Culture on this massive undertaking.
I would like to commend the Cultural Heritage without Borders team led by Elena Mamani, the workers and engineers who worked hard, sometimes through the heat of the sun or in the cold rain, to make sure that the Tower C is once again whole and beautiful.
Well done! Bravo, to each and every one of you.
Albania’s cultural monuments, like this tower and Preze Castle, which we inaugurated last month, have a story to tell us and future generations.
I hope that talented young people like Keitlin and her friends see these fortifications as a symbol of Albania’s rich heritage and, now, also as a symbol of the deep friendship between the United States and Albania.
This year, we are celebrating 100 years of diplomatic relations between our two countries.
We have so much to share and celebrate.
Albanians have shown the world how people can survive hardship and oppression, rebuilding their lives and futures, and push forward.
Americans and Albanians have also proved, no matter how hard an oppressive regime tries to keep our people apart, we will find our way back to each other and build a bond that is stronger than ever.
Krah për Krah!