Good Morning. Minister Demolli, LTG Rama, members of the Kosovo Security Forces, distinguished guests, family, friends, American colleagues. Today, we all have the great honor to be a part of Kosovo’s history.
I congratulate Arelena Shala and Ylli Daladaku for their successful admission to the United States Military Academy, class of 2020. This is a tremendous accomplishment. Being accepted for admission to the West Point is an exceptional honor reserved for only the most promising students. Arelena and Yll are no exception; they competed against 29 other nations and 95 other applicants of which only 15 were selected for admission.
I guarantee that none of those 95 applicants were second rate. This was a really tough competition. Add to this that we recently saw Second Lieutenant Hoxha graduate top of his class from the United Kingdom’s Sandhurst Military Academy and it is clear to me that the Kosovo Security Forces are attracting some incredibly talented students.
This accomplishment is indicative of the hard work of Arelena and Yll and dedication to their studies and their communities. But I know they didn’t do this alone and couldn’t have been successful without the support of their families. I would like to personally thank their families for their role in helping Arelena and Yll achieve this tremendous honor.
I would also like to thank Minister Demolli, LTG Rama and the Center for University Studies for investing in the future of the KSF by conducting an open and transparent campaign for admission to the United States Military Academy. Your assistance in preparing the candidates for admission was also important. Your investment is reflected here today.
For those of us in the United States Government, who’ve been working on Kosovo issues for many years, today’s ceremony provides a lot of satisfaction. United States is proud to support Kosovo, its institutions and its people. Moments like these remind us of the progress that we are making together day-by-day. Arelena and Yll will now continue the special relationship that the U.S. Army and the citizens of Kosovo have had since 1999.
In closing, I want to wish West Point’s newest cadets best of luck. I know Arelena and Yll will excel at the United States Military Academy and look forward to watching their promising careers!