Moderator: Nafiye GaŞ,
Secretary General, Consultative Council for Communities, Office of the President, Republic of Kosovo
Ms. Nafiye GAŞ graduated in Business Economics at the faculty of Economy of Pristina University and holds a master’s degree in Economy Sciences-Management Information from Pristina University. She has been Secretary General of the Consultative Council for Communities in the office of the President of the Republic of Kosovo since February 2009. She was a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of Kosovo from 2001 to 2004, Chairperson of the Health Commission in the Kosovo Assembly from 2003 to 2004 and Vice President of the Kosovo Assembly from 2003 to 2004.
Ms. Nafiye Gaș, Secretary General, Consultative Council for Communities, Office of the President, Kosovo, was the session moderator, who began by reading a letter sent from Romano Prodi OMRI who served as the 10th President of the European Commission from 1999 to 2004 and twice as Prime Minister of Italy, ‘The Balkans need to achieve accession to the EU as soon as they can by making great efforts with reforms and strengthening the cooperation between the E.U. and the Balkan States.’ This related well to the mood of the Albanian people.
Speaker: Prof. Dr Vasilika Hysi
Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Albania
Prof. Dr. Valisika Hysi was a full-time professor at the Law Faculty of the University of Tirana from 1985 to 2009. From 2000 to 2009, she was Executive Chairwoman of the Albanian Helsinki Committee. Since 2002, she has been a member of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance based in Strasbourg, France. Elected as a member of the Albanian Parliament in 2009, she was chairwoman of the Parliamentary Commission for Legal Issues, Public Administration and Human Rights, chairwoman of the Sub-Commission for Human Rights, and secretary of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Legal Reform. Currently, Ms. Hysi serves as Vice-Speaker of the Albanian Parliament.
Speaking of the role of parliamentarians, Hon. Vasilika Hysi, Deputy Chair of the Parliament, Albania, explained how indebted we are to those who are not in positions of power, but have great expertise and support us with wise advice, thereby helping us to overcome the major challenges. The legislative process is a major factor in parliamentarians’ lives, but it is not the only one. She referred to the important support given to politicians by international structures, such as the Sustainable Development Goals, that have given comprehensive targets for 2030. She also recognised the significance of integration into the European Union as a major priority supported by 93% of the Albanian population that, therefore, is an obligation for their representatives in parliament. Friendships between parliamentarians beyond nations is important, as it allows for dialogue and understanding. Women have a great role to play to bring a different flavour into politics than men who have failed in many ways.
Speaker: Hon. Albin Kurti
Member of the Assembly, Republic of Kosovo
Hon. Albin Kurti graduated in Computer Science and Telecommunications from the University of Prishtina. In June 2005, he co-founded “Lëvizja Vetëvendosje” (Movement for Self-determination), of which he was the President until March 2015. Albin Kurti is currently serving his third term in office as a member of the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo. He was the movement’s candidate for Prime Minister of Kosovo and was re-elected as President of the movement for self-determination in January 2018. In the early parliamentary elections held on October 6th, 2019, Albin Kurti won the highest number of votes, which makes him the most likely candidate for the new Prime Minister of Kosovo. Albin Kurti has published over 550 articles and has been invited to give presentations at many renowned universities inside and outside of the country. He has also served as the Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs at the Assembly.
Hon. Albin Kurti, Member of Parliament, Kosovo, in a scholarly speech explained that a Member of Parliament is a substitute for the citizens and in some nations is referred to as a ‘deputy’ or a spokesperson of the people, whereas a Minister is a servant. He is filling in for someone else. The Prime Minister then is the ‘prime servant’ or first of the servants.
Opportunities for peace then develop from our common ground. Peaceful politics develops from emphasising our common points. We should seek to find these commonalities to have constructive debates within our Parliament on how to serve our people better and, based on that, we can spur peaceful relations with other nations. Maintaining peace is work, but it is work that we should do together. Peace cannot be achieved without justice. We need to have accountability for war crimes and war criminals.
Speaker: Hon. Erna Hennicot-Schoepges
Former President of the Parliament of Luxembourg and Co-chair of IAPP Europe
Mrs. Hennicot-Schoepges, after a career as a concert pianist and a professor at the Luxembourg Conservatory, stepped into politics. She became the first woman president of the Luxembourg Parliament and held several government portfolios including Culture, Religions, Education, Higher Education, Research and Public Works. As a member of the European Parliament she was appointed Rapporteur to the EP on the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue in 2008. She was the founder of the University of Luxembourg and is currently the Vice President of the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy in Berlin.
Hon. Erna Hennicot Schoepges, President of the Luxembourg Parliament (1989 – 1995), was a Professor at the Conservatory of Luxembourg and, in a distinguished political career, was the First Woman President of Luxembourg’s Parliament and an MEP until 2009.
She explained that being elected to Parliament should be a path to serve the people of the nation. It is important for politicians to make a declaration of their revenue and so avoid the appearance of misuse while in a public position.
She added that “We have become old Europe with a decreasing voter turn-out and ageing population. We are waiting for you to join the EU!” She explained that many, including the European Parliament, said it was a mistake to delay the accession talks for Albania.
Speaker: Hon. Jovan Jovanović
Member of Parliament, National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia
Hon. Jovan Jovanović has been a Member of Parliament since August 2016. He was Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Serbia to the Republic of Indonesia, seven Southeast Asian countries and ASEAN (2011-14). He holds Master Degrees in Public Administration and Public and International Affairs from Harvard University (2009-2010) and the University of Pittsburgh (1998-2000), and is an Alumnus of the Center for Democracy, Development and Rule of Law at Stanford University (2005). He is also a Global Board member at the Platinum Circle, one of the world’s leading business groups, as well as Advisor in the 1000 Abrahamic Circles project, a global interfaith community-based project initiated in Indonesia. He has translated several books from English and Polish into Serbian. Mr. Jovanović is a Black belt holder in the Japanese martial arts of Aikido.
Hon. Jovan Jovanović, Member of Parliament from Serbia, is part of a younger generation of Parliamentarians elected in 2016. He was the Serbian Ambassador to Indonesia where he was involved in the interfaith 1000 Abrahamic circle project.
He praised the work of the Inter-Parliamentary Union that has been working for 141 years and has 179 nations as members. He also referred to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals as important targets for his nation by 2030. He congratulated Mr. Kurti MP from Kosovo on his party’s election success and probable elevation to Prime Minister. He looked forward to working together to normalise relations between their nations.
Speaker: Hon. Ângela Guerra
Member of Parliament, Portugal
After obtaining a degree in law at the University of Lisbon, Dr. Guerra graduated as an expert in Contract Law and in Registries and Notary at the Faculty of Law of the University of Coimbra. More recently, she also graduated in Health Management and Administration at the University of Lisbon. She is the current President of the Pinhel City Municipal Assembly and vice-president of the Social Democratic Party Council of the city of Pinhel. She is a Lawyer and has had a law office since 1998 in the District of Guarda in the north of Portugal, where she also was the President of the Attorneys Association's Delegation in the region for about 10 years. She also served as Director of the Administrative and Financial Department of the Municipality of the city of Almeida. She is currently serving her second term as Member of the Assembly of the Republic of Portugal, working especially on health, gender equality, internacional cooperation and foreign affairs.
Hon. Angela Guerra, Member of Parliament from Portugal, discussed the role of parliamentarians as the protectors of the International Human Rights framework that seeks to protect human life and the quality of life of all human beings. ‘The rule of law allows human rights to be not just a principle, but a real protection.’ She added that there are new challenges, such as climate change and AI, that need to be tackled. It remains as a challenge for Parliamentarians. These and other major issues need to be tackled on an international level, which means that we must have stronger and more inclusive institutions.
Speaker: H.E. Dr. Ghazi Al Tayyeb
Senator, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
Ret. Lt. General Ghazi Al-Tayeb occupied various leadership positions in the Jordanian Armed Forces before becoming Commander of the Royal Guard in 1984. Amongst his many important positions, he was Commander of the Special Royal Forces; General Commander and Advisor to the Special Envoy, United Nations Peacekeeping Forces; and Deputy Advisor for Tribal Affairs to His Majesty the King of Jordan. He holds a B.Sc. in Military Science and an M.Sc. in Military Science and Defense Resources from Mouta University, Jordan, as well as a Ph.D. in Management. He has been a lecturer at a number of universities. Dr. Al Tayyeb is the recipient of numerous awards and distinctions. He is currently a senator in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
H.E. Dr. Ghazi Al Tayyeb, Senator from Jordan, explained the importance of Jordan’s effort to support United Nations’ peacekeeping efforts. We are all part of a multi-cultural world. We have a great opportunity to practice our values with those of other cultures through these peacekeeping efforts.
Jordan has been involved in the peace keeping activities in the Balkans from the mid 1990’s until now. It has undergone 38 different peacekeeping actions under the umbrella of the UN. 56 Jordanian soldiers have died during these efforts.