Good morning. It is my pleasure to be here with you today to mark the 14th edition of this distinguished event. I have heard wonderful words from my colleagues who attended yesterday’s activities.
As you know, my Embassy has many educational and cultural programs in Kosovo, ranging from student exchange programs to cultural preservation, to the famous Mary McBride band that played in Prizren, Vushtrri and Mitrovice this week and that will play tonight in Germia Park in Pristina. I am proud that we are also contributing to this festival by sponsoring the participation of Ms. Elizabeth Acevedo — a real expert in teaching creative writing, and certainly in performing poetry.
Elizabeth is teaching a masterclass with young writers here in Peja later this afternoon, and more in Pristina and Prizren in the coming week. I hope Kosovo’s youth will pick up a few tips from her on how to address issues of concern through their writings and poetry – because at the end of the day that is the end goal of each piece of literary writing to make an impact. And in my interactions with the young people of Kosovo, it is clear that they have much to say and contribute; they clearly want to make an impact.
In the United States, we also pay special attention to literature’s role in educating future generations. To ensure full access to writings that can expand the minds of our youth, we have developed public and private systems to distribute books. This approach, which protects intellectual property rights, helps to support writers so they can sustain themselves and their families.
I want to emphasize how pleased I am to be able to participate in this distinguished gathering, yet another international achievement for Kosovo. A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to address the celebration of “Made in Kosovo.” That event allowed me to reflect on the many successes made in Kosovo, and not only raspberries and furniture, including a Judo champion, a Kickboxing champion, the World Press Freedom Day Logo graphic designer from right here in Peja, and 2 West Point cadets among 15 worldwide who were selected from 97 competitors representing 30 countries. And soon we will be able to celebrate the made in Kosovo football team’s successes in UEFA and FIFA.
Now, today, I am here to toast you and this literary festival, which provides a venue for local and international writers, poets, literary critics, and students to share and exchange their ideas and writings. Embassy Pristina is pleased to support and participate in important events like this.
Let me finish my remarks by congratulating this year’s laureate Ismail Kadare, and the organizer for this wonderful festival.