Ambassador Hovenier’s Remarks at the AFCP Dresnik Project MoU Signing Ceremony

Ambassador Hovenier’s Remarks at the AFCP Dresnik Project MoU Signing Ceremony with the Ministry of Culture, Youth, and Sports in Pristina, September 26, 2023

[As Prepared]

Good morning.

Minister Ceku, Ministry of Culture, Youth, and Sports staff, members of the cultural community, implementing partners, members of the press corps, distinguished guests:

I am pleased to be here today to sign this Memorandum of Understanding to – finally – begin work on this joint project to preserve the Dresnik Archaeological Site from the Roman Period.

I would like to begin by thanking the Ministry of Culture, Youth, and Sports for cost sharing and supporting this project.

I would also like to express my thanks to the diverse group of partners that helped this vision become reality:

  • our dedicated implementing partners, Cultural Heritage without Borders–Kosovo and the Archeological Institute of Kosovo,
  • and the Municipality of Klina and the Kosovan landowners who recognize the value of preserving the rich cultural and historical significance at the Dresnik archeological site.

Without the support of all of you, this project would not be possible.

The work to get approval and funding for this project has been ongoing for years.

I’m enthusiastic to share with you that the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation is committed to supporting this site as one of only six projects chosen from across the Europe and Eurasia region, and one of only 28 selected worldwide

It was a highly competitive international selection process, but I had no doubt that our partners and colleagues would recognize the importance of this work.

I’ve been to the Dresnik archeological site and can personally attest not only to its beauty, but also its historical relevance.

The site showcases Kosovo’s rich and diverse history and underscores the multicultural heritage that is present across the Balkans and which governments have a responsibility to protect.

The United States has a long-standing and enduring partnership with the people of Kosovo.

This Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation project will support the United States’ strategic goals for Kosovo, including efforts to advance Kosovo’s integration into European and Euro-Atlantic institutions, efforts to promote economic growth and prosperity, and efforts to build an inclusive, multiethnic democratic state.

Preservation of the Dresnik archeological site will mean that all Kosovans – including future generations – can access this common history.

In the first phase of this preservation project, we will bring in top-of-the-line technology to survey and map the site.

This technology and the resulting data produced will be available to archeological experts and students to support continuing research and education.

This investment in Dresnik’s preservation will attract visitors to the site and help invigorate tourism and local economic development.

It will also deepen the already strong connections between the people of Kosovo and the people of the United States.

On a personal note, I have a deep personal interest in history and archeology – particularly from the Byzantine or eastern Roman Empires – so it is an especially compelling project for me, and one I am delighted to help inaugurate.

Once again, thank you, to the whole team that is here today.

We look forward to working closely over the coming years on the preservation of the Dresnik site.