President Jahjaga’s speech at the ceremony marking the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the USAID Kosovo Mission

It is a great pleasure for me to address you in my home town, Gjakova, a city which provided the first female President, as well as the first female mayor of the Municipality of Gjakova.

I have the honour to address you on this day when we mark the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the USAID Kosovo Mission, an anniversary which carries a particular importance for all the citizens of my country.

Fifteen years ago, one of the bloodiest wars which the 20th century Europe has seen - ended, leaving behind destruction, suffering and loss.

It was 15 years ago when long lines of hundreds of thousands of refugees were returning to Kosovo, to their homes, only to find them completely destroyed, yet they had the hope and the dedication to open the chapter of peace which would guarantee a better future, a safer one, not only for them, for the citizens of Kosovo, but for the entire region.

In our path as a society towards rebuilding our country, today an independent and sovereign state, in every step we had by our side our international friends, whose tireless help and efforts aided us to overcome the difficult post war period, the rebuilding period and aided us in establishing strong foundations of a democratic state which guarantees and respects the freedom of all its citizens.

In 1961, when the US President John Kennedy established the mission of USAID, he spoke of the moral obligation we have to one another in the interdependent community of free nations, he spoke of the importance of democracy and of the free market, and of the importance of offering a helping hand to other nations which are striving to build a better life, to live freely in democratic countries.

These very ideals were embodied by the USAID Mission in Kosovo which extended the helping hand of the American People to the citizens of Kosovo, thus establishing a strong bond between them cementing the eternal friendship we share.

USAID throughout the years has been and continues to be a friend of the citizens of Kosovo, a partner of its institutions, of the private sector and of the civil society, led by the aim to offer its support in establishing strong foundations of a state which offers and guarantees development, welfare and security.

Through its numerous programs, USAID has responded the needs of our society in every step of our development, standing by our side during all stages from the state building period, to the consolidation of our democracy, to building a free market and to offering opportunities for everyone regardless of ethnicity or gender.

We have gone through a long way together in recovering the post war Kosovo and converting it into a country which promotes peace and stability, which offers opportunities for a prosperous life for all its citizens.

I am convinced that we will continue to enjoy the support of the American people, on our journey towards consolidating our statehood, towards strengthening our democratic institutions, civil society and in respecting the rights of all the citizens regardless of their background, thus marking together many other anniversaries of our eternal friendship.

I would like to express the most sincere gratitude and appreciation of the people of Kosovo for this continuous support which reflects the nobility and unparalleled friendship of the American people, to stand by us, as a true friend does in times of hardship.

We are proud of our eternal friendship with our friend and ally, the United States of America and the American people.

I would like to praise the role and the dedication of the USAID staff in Kosovo, and all USAID staff in the world,  who offer an unsparing help to all the nations in need.

Honourable fellow citizens of Gjakova,
Honourable participants,

I would like to praise in particular the contribution of the Executive Director, Ms. Maureen Shauket, my dear friend, at whom the institutions of Kosovo, and the whole of the Kosovar society, have found a close ally and a loyal partner, in their journey towards the development of democracy and the strengthening of the institutions of the state of Kosovo.

It remains important to continue the close cooperation with the USAID Mission for the economic empowerment of the country, for creating new work places, for strengthening the private sector, for strengthening the state of law and order, for strengthening the role of women and building an inclusive society where each citizen is offered the opportunities for a dignified life.

I thank you for your tireless work and your unshaken dedication in supporting us in building a society which will offer a better and prosperous future to the coming generations.

Happy 15th anniversary and I look forward to our future common successes.

Thank you.