Ambassador Delawie’s Remarks at the Poetry Evening with Gregory Pardlo

Ambassador Delawie’s Remarks at the Poetry Evening with Gregory Pardlo, May 15, 2017

Good evening everyone, and thank you for joining us tonight.  To begin, I would like to thank the National Library for being a wonderful host for this event.  I also want to thank Jeton and the Multimedia Center for their initiative to bring Greg to Kosovo for the International Literature Festival Pristina.  We are proud to support this great festival that brings together so many great writers from the region, and, of course, we’re honored to have a talented and critically acclaimed American writer take part in the festival.

So much of Greg’s work is emblematic of our American culture.  It’s grounded in collective history as much as it is in his own individual identity.  It highlights our diversity—racial, ethnic and geographic—while still drawing upon two of the most fundamental questions we all face, “who are we?” and “where do we go from here?”

I think this is such an important theme for a multi-ethnic nation like the United States, and like Kosovo.  The identity of Kosovo has evolved over generations of complex history.  Today, it is an identity that encompasses all ethnicities, communities and cultures living in Kosovo.  And I hope that we will continue to see this multi-ethnic identity develop and grow.  I have seen Greg mention before in interviews that he takes great pride in his opportunity, and his responsibility, to share his unique voice and identity with others.  I hope that more authors, artists and academics will embrace that same responsibility here—because all of the citizens of Kosovo, regardless of your background or “origin story”, have the opportunity to contribute to and to shape the identity and the future of your country.

Fazli and Jeton, thank you again for coordinating this evening’s program.  And Greg, thank you for sharing your piece of the American identity with us this evening.  Thank you all very much!