Sunday, September 23, 2007

Annual Albanian dinner

The annual dinner of NAAC (National Albanian American Council) took place on Friday evening at the Cipriani restaurant, again this year, in midtown Manhattan, and it was well attended as usual. One in the past, I remember it well, was held in the lovely restaurant that was on top of the World Towers.

It is an annual affair that attracts between 400/500 people; it includes foreign dignitaries, and it honors, via a couple of awards, special people who have helped the Albanian cause around the world in one way or another. In the past, in addition to some Albanian American personalities, the honorees included Pres. Clinton, Secretaries of State Baker and Albright, and Sen. Dole.

This year's theme being "Kosova Independence Now" , the "Lifetime Achievement Awards" were bestowed posthumously to the former President of Kosova. Dr. Ibrahim Rugova, and the Albanian Patriot and martyr, Adem Jashari, while the "Hand of Hope Award" went to Gen. Wesley Clark, ex NATO Supreme Allied Commander who was, among other things, responsible for the peacekeeping operations and major combat action in Bosnia, during the ethnic cleansing time of the late 90's. His emotional speech recounting those times was interrupted by many standing ovations, as it did the video that followed about the atrocities of the Bosnian war.

NAAC's Exec.Dir. Mustafaj, Gen Clark, Min. Basha

Among some foreign dignitaries and ambassadors was the new, and young, Albanian Foreign Minister, L. Basha, who spoke and graciously made the rounds in the crowded, enormous hall of the restaurant that used to be the headquarters of an old American bank a few years ago.

For me it was a unique opportunity to revisit many friends and acquaintances and I was all talked out by the end of the evening, when the younger crowd lingered to enjoy some (very loud!) music and line dancing.

Gen. Clark with a couple of my friends, the Lekas


mary.mullarkey said...

Is there any chance that someone recorded the speeches, specifically General Clark's?

Thank you,

Mary Mullarkey-Wentzell

Chicago, IL

DAI said...

Will inquire and inform if you share with me your email (since your blog isn't public).