Remarks by Deputy Chief of Mission Muniz at the Berat Youth Town Hall Meeting

Good morning.  It is a pleasure to back in Berat.  This is the second of many meetings that we are having with young people in towns across Albania.  When I was asked where I might want to speak to young people, my first answer was Berat – which is probably my favorite town in Albania (don’t tell anyone else, though!).  Last month the Ambassador held the first of these town hall meetings in Rreshen.  Many people asked us, “Why are you doing this?”

The reasons are simple: Albania is country with an incredibly bright future. You are the future leaders of Albania. You have much more power than you know.

So while we often meet politicians and business leaders in the capital, we know that it is equally important to connect with you.

I have been so impressed by the incredible potential and resources of Albania – its natural beauty and geography, its educated and capable workforce, its agricultural advantage, and its natural resources.  This country’s potential is truly great.

I love traveling around Albania, but what I love even more is meeting with young people like you.  At the end of the day, the reason I have such strong hope in Albania’s future is you.

Albania is on its way to joining the European Union.  All of you, your children and grandchildren will live as full citizens of Europe with all the rights and privileges of EU membership.

This change and many others are coming.  Don’t miss your opportunity to be part of them.  You are the future leaders of this country.

But you don’t need to wait to be part of making a difference here.  You don’t need to wait for change to be handed down from above. You have tremendous power in this democracy.

We look forward to the day when you are the leaders of Albania.  We know your generation will be better than the current generation in leading Albania towards its European future.