PRESIDENT SEJDIU’S SPEECH HELD AT THE SOLEMN ACADEMY CELEBRATING THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF MOTHER THERESA’S BECOMING A NOBEL LAUREATE

Mother Theresa, a missionary of peace and love, prays God to bring His peace to all the families in the world. In the next sentence, she returns to her fundamental and spiritual compassion, to her commitment to and sorrow and prayer for the poor, her poor.

Honorable institutional leaders of our country,
Honorable ministers and members of Parliament,
Honorable ambassadors accredited in Prishtina,
Honorable representatives of institutions of education, science and culture,
Honorable representatives of clergy,
Honorable media representatives,
Dear citizens of Republic of Kosovo,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Thirty years ago today, Mother Theresa was just leaving the solemn ceremony of receiving the Nobel Prize and putting her signature and writing down the following words in a portrait of hers that that Dom Lush Gjergji was holding in his hand: “My Albanian nation is always in my heart. I pray God a lot that He enters our hearts, our families, our world. Pray as much as you can for my poor and me and my sisters. I do pray for you”.

These words, written with simplicity and sincerity, reveal the exceptional spirit of Mother Theresa. The first sentence - My Albanian nation is always in my heart – reveals her commitment to and love for the nation to which she belonged. The expression ‘always’ only reinforces her unbreakable bond with the ordeal that the Albanian nation has suffered during the 20th century. That is why she prayed God to “enter our hearts, our families and the entire world”.

Aware of the hardship in which thousands of Albanian families were living back then, Mother Theresa prays that divine peace descends to our families, to all the Albanian families who were then deprived of the right to prayer. But, Mother Theresa’s circle of people for whom she prayed never narrowed down. She was an Albanian born in Skopje, whose parents were from Kosovo and who brought her up by nurturing in her the real Albanian spirit, the spirit of compassion, humanity and love for the mankind. Therefore, her prayer rises above and spreads around the globe, becomes universal, just like her heart was.

Mother Theresa, a missionary of peace and love, prays God to bring His peace to all the families in the world. In the next sentence, she returns to her fundamental and spiritual compassion, to her commitment to and sorrow and prayer for the poor, her poor.

Mother Theresa has fascinated the world with her unique struggle. She had no weapon, no force, no method to coerce others. She only had her prayers and her endless sacrifice for others, for the desolate, the sick, the hopeless. She was herself their hope in this life; she was the sun to bring them the dawn of a new day; she was the moon to bring them some light in the middle of a darkness that had plagued their lives in poverty.

Mother Theresa, was a prudent daughter of the Albanian nation. She was also a rare personality of the Albanian Catholic Church. She excelled in following the great steps of Pope Klement, Pjetër Budi, Father Shtjefën Gjeçovi and many other missionaries who have given so much for their religion and their homeland, by building on their firm belief that only by serving others and by being useful to oneself and one’s people can one find peace and God’s paradise.

There is no doubt that Mother Theresa is a daughter and a mother to the entire mankind. She is an Albanian – yes indeed – but she is also an Indian, an Italian, an American, a British. Every nation wants to identify her as theirs and to identify themselves with her. And they have the right to do so, because she did not only belong to us Albanians, but she belonged to the entire world, to the entire human race.

At a very young age, she embarked on her life journey and set out for the remote Calcutta. With a strong consciousness and the sublime aim to extend the hand of aid to those who were left forsaken in obscurity and exposed to cruelties of life and social calamity, she abandoned the warm bosom of her family and her homeland to dedicate herself wholeheartedly to the service for the poor. Therefore, we may freely say that Mother Theresa was an embodiment of all the good virtues of an Albanian and of the people of good will around the world. She has made an unrepeatable example of an everyday sacrifice for the abandoned and the faith in God and mankind.

Dear participants,

One can hardly find a person in our modern world that can be compared with Mother Theresa when it comes to the reputation and love that she enjoyed all around the world. It is almost impossible to reckon the acknowledgments and appreciations that she has received while she was alive.

Indeed, Mother Theresa received the Nobel Prize in 1979, but before that she had earned a greater prize – the love of hundreds of millions of people around the world; she had earned the everlasting respect of all the people, regardless of their nationality or religion. Therefore, we may say that she belongs to all us alike, Christians and Muslims, rich and poor. She is the most remarkable example of human chastity and love for human beings, regardless of their social status.  

Mother Theresa was honored with the world’s most precious awards to date. Besides Nobel Prize, she has received countless other prestigious awards, such as: Pamada Shir (1962), the greatest Indian national award; Pope John XXIII Peace Prize (1971), the greatest acknowledgment conferred by the Catholic Church, which was handed over to her by Pope Paul VI himself; John Kennedy Award (1971), Nehru Award; Mother of All Mothers Award (1973), the Medal of Freedom (1985), which was handed over to her by President Ronald Regan himself, and so on.

On 28 October 1996, the historic President of Kosovo, Dr. Ibrahim Rugova, announced Mother Theresa as an Honorary Citizen of Republic of Kosovo, and, in the same year, the then President of Albania, Dr. Sali Berisha, awarded the Golden Honor of the Albanian Nation to her. 

Mother Theresa has personally trodden along the chasm that exists between the rich and the poor. Her vision of human dignity has erected a bridge” – Dr. John Sane used to say in his reasoning to the decision of the Nobel Prize Committee three decades ago, while he was handing over the Prize to Mother Theresa at the University of Oslo.

Similar words of praise that express the highest consideration for the personality of  Mother Theresa have been uttered by the most renown people of our time, such as Pope John Paul II, the former US President Bill Clinton, the Former Prime Minister of the UK Tony Blair, the former Italian President Sandro Pertini, the former French President Jacques Chirac, and so on.

Honorable participants in this solemn academy,

Given all the virtues and the rare human and national qualities of Mother Theresa; given her remarkable life achievements and based on my powers and authorities as a President of the country; following consultations with the Ministry of Culture,  representatives of our clergy and distinguished representatives of our cultural community, I have decided to proclaim the year 2010, the year that marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, as the Year of Mother Theresa. Hereby, I also announce my auspices over all the activities that the Ministry of Culture and other institutions of science, education and culture will stage in order to sublimate the glorious name of Mother Theresa.

This year, the symbolism of today’s date, the December 10, the Human Rights Day, has a multiple meaning for us as compatriots of Mother Theresa because it coincides with the day when our daughter, Mother Theresa, this great fighter for human rights and dignity, was honored with the most precious award for piece, the Nobel Prize. 

I wish this year will abound in real scientific and cultural activities, so that we, as institutions of an independent Republic of Kosovo, can fulfill, as little as we can, an obligation that we have to this great daughter of the Albanian nation and to the outstanding mother of the entire humankind.

The world knows us very well by the name of Mother Theresa. It is up to us now to learn from her how to love and appreciate better the world we live in, the present world of diversities and endless disputes.

Mother Theresa was internationally proclaimed as the “most admired person of the 20th century”. The announcement of the year 2010 as the Year of Mother Theresa is a small token of our appreciation for this remarkable daughter of the Albanian nation and the entire human race.