The 28th International Meeting for Peace to be held in Tirana – Albania – September 2015

The Press Office of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania 
February-March 2015

In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the end of the last war in the Balkans, the Community of Sant’ Egidio, in cooperation with the Episcopal Conference of Albania, the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania and the Albanian Government will promote “The 28th International Meeting for Peace” which will be held in Tirana on 6-8 September 2015.

In these complex and difficult times in which we are living, representatives and leaders of the Christian Churches and World Religions will gather in Tirana to dialogue and to pray for peace, they will bring the spirit of the meetings in Assisi to Albania. So, next September, Tirana will become the capital of peace in Europe and worldwide.

On February 24, 2015, this important event was introduced at Tirana International Hotel by Mr. Marco Impagliazzo, President of the Community of Sant’ Egidio; Mr. Erion Veliaj, Minister of Social Welfare and Youth; and from the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania, His Grace Anthony, Bishop of Kruja; from the Catholic Church, Mons. Luçjan Augustini, Vice Chairman of the Episcopal Conference; and the Vice President of the Islamic Community, Mr. Bujar Spahiu and the World Headquarters of the Bektashi Order, Mr. Edmond Brahimaj.

The press conference was opened by Prof. Roberto Quattrucci, the General Secretary of the Sant’ Egidio Community. Then, Mr. Marco Impagliazzo, after lifting up the witness of religious harmony in Albania, emphasized the symbolism of the organization in Tirana of this meeting, which will host five thousand guests from all the corners of the globe, among them hundreds of religious leaders and world dignitaries. He thanked them for their support and mentioned the meetings held and the support given by the Prime Minister, the Archbishop Anastasios etc.

His Grace Anthony, in his speech, expressed the satisfaction and the support for the activities of our Church, noting the importance of spreading the message of coexistence and interfaith cooperation, which sets out the role of the religious communities and their leaders in this process, diminishing in this way the voices that deny this contribution, and he recalled the active role that our Church has always had in such activities. He singled out the international praise for this contribution that was made last year to Archbishop Anastasios by re-electing him Honorary President of the “Religions for Peace”, the largest religious organization in the world. His Grace Anthony stressed also the testimony of peace and cooperation that was given by the leaders of the Orthodox Churches on the occasion of the consecration of the “Resurrection of Christ” Cathedral and during the visit of Pope Francis I in our country.

Last to speak was Minister Veliaj, who said that, “This meeting will be a good opportunity to give Europe more reasons why Albania should be a member of the European Union. I believe this will be a very strong argument that speaks more than any other word why Albania should be part of Europe”. He further added that this is a good opportunity to turn Albania into a different model of tourism, where about 5 thousand guests at this event will have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the values ​​and spiritual culture of Albanians, visiting different places. Presenting the program of events, Minister Veliaj stressed that the meeting will begin with a major activity in the Palace of Congresses on September 6, while on September 7 approximately 12 different activities are set to be held and on the 8th the closing ceremony will take place. He also informed them in the meeting that religious leaders and other personalities of the world are expected to attend, and ensured that the Albanian government will support this activity.