Paris, France—UPF of France and Albania jointly inaugurated a Peace Council for Albanians living in France.
The inaugural event was held on May 20, 2022, at the UPF headquarters.
Gaqo Apostoli, a former Albanian minister of transportation and longtime chairman of UPF-Albania, came to Paris to preside over the event, accompanied by his wife, Julie. In 2019, after his mission as UPF chairman ended, on the foundation of a very active UPF chapter in Albania Mr. Apostoli began organizing Peace Councils with the Albanian diaspora in several European countries. To this day, such councils have been formed in the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Switzerland.
Fifteen members of the Albanian diaspora, for the most part living in Paris, were invited by Mimoza Kuchly, a writer and poet, who helped organize the event. French Ambassadors for Peace and UPF volunteers also were part of the audience.
After the Albanian national anthem was played, Mrs. Kuchly welcomed the participants and invited Jacques Marion, president of UPF-France, to introduce the Universal Peace Federation’s values and objectives.
Mr. Marion read a message from Professor Edmond Jouve, emeritus professor of law at the University of Paris. Professor Jouve welcomed the Albanian guests on behalf of French Ambassadors for Peace, recalling some of the common history between Albania and France.
Mimoza Hafizi, an Albanian Ambassador for Peace, physicist, and former member of parliament, testified to the work of UPF in Albania.
Speaking in Albanian, Mr. Apostoli reviewed the history of UPF in Albania since 2005, when President Alfred Moisiu and Prime Minister Sali Berisha welcomed the UPF founders to Tirana during their UPF inaugural tour. Mr. Apostoli described the extensive foundation developed by UPF in Albania, where Peace Councils have been set up in over 60 cities. He closed his presentation by singing an inspiring medley of French, Italian and Albanian songs, to which the audience happily sang along.
The event concluded with the Ambassador for Peace award ceremony. Seven prominent members of the Albanian diaspora in France, selected for their influence in the realms of academia, culture and education, were invited to the stage to be awarded Ambassador for Peace certificates:
- Dr. Mathieu Aref, a historian and specialist in Greek history;
- Maniola Camuset Trebicka, a renowned pianist;
- Arlinda Roux Majollari, an opera chorus master;
- Klement Sina, an artist;
- Fulvia Dollmeni Shtepani, a professor of physics;
- Ornela Todrushi, an engineer in charge of pedagogy;
- Genc Tukiçi, a renowned pianist and composer.
An Ambassador for Peace certificate also was awarded to Soraya Ayouch, a professor of psychology at the University of Paris and a dedicated supporter of UPF activities in France.
For most, the award was a surprise. Each awardee briefly commented on how meaningful the UPF values of spirituality, altruism, family and cooperation were to them.
By creating a closer connection between Albania and other European countries, we expect the Albanians’ Peace Councils in Europe to be a great support for the Balkan Peace Initiative, which has been a major focus of UPF in the Europe-Middle East Region.