Sunday, October 25, 2009
Du Bois Conference brings Diaspora together
24 October, 2009, Du Bois, Pennsylvania – The several Albanian-American NGOs converged today in Du Bois, Pennsylvania for a conference that is being heralded as historic. For the first time, the four most influential Albanian organizations (flying in from Detroit, New York and Malesia) united and discussed projects aimed at fully recognizing Malesia e Madhe as a distinct and fully functioning entity by way of full municipality status. Present were the leaders and members of (1) The Albanian-American Association, "Malesia e Madhe", (2) Homeland Unites Us, Inc., “Levizja Atdheu Na Bashkon”, (3) Humanitarian Fund Malesia, and (4) Ded Gjo' Luli Association.
The heads of these organizations were joined by policy experts, which consisted of a smaller "working group," who were unanimously approved to become the driving force behind the research, coordination, and execution of the full and autonomous municipality of Malesia. These experts represent the fields of political science, international law, economics, urban planning, and civic engineering, all areas crucial in the design and implementation of Malesia's internal infrastructure, sociopolitical and economic operations.
The working group presented an elaborate study that is being remitted for publishing where it clearly outlines that Malesia is a "fully functional region" that is "self-sufficient" and capable of supporting its politico-economic infrastructure "far greater" than at least seven of Montenegro's smaller and oftentimes insufficient municipalities, hence concluding that not granting Malesia a municipal status is purely a political motive pioneered by the central authorities in Podgorica.
While each leader and policy expert presented studies, analysis and projections related to achieving this single aforementioned goal, a unanimous agreement was reached by all 33 members in attendance on a Declaration outlining examples of discriminatory practices against Albanians in Montenegro, which include, in brief:
• political imprisonment followed by random acts of torture, hence failing to fully respect international norms where Montenegro is a signatory and party of;
• failure to recognize its sizeable Albanian minority population in all realms of decision-making structures and processes, thus excluding them from the political process and social fabric of mainstream society;
• failure to alleviate the academic disparities plaguing Albanians in scholastic institutions and course curriculum, where native language and learning tools are prohibited as means to sustain linguistic, historical, and cultural elements of the Albanian national heritage, thus accelerating the rate of assimilation and ethnic destruction;
• failure to provide financial support for the growing socio-economic backwardness in territories where Albanians live, where crumbling infrastructure, inadequate sanitation, unresponsive municipal services, and disproportional allocation of Capital City funding have led to a stagnant sociopolitical and fiscal climate; and
• Ignoring the legitimate demands of Albanians for the return of local self-government in the territory of Malёsia, where growth and progress in all the above-mentioned areas are blocked in the interests of Podgorica’s political elites, but at the expense of Malesia’s neglected minorities.
As a result of these inconsistencies, the working group conceived several demands that require immediate attention, stemming primarily from the illegal laws outlined in Montenegro's Bill for Territorial Division. These demands called for the Montenegrin government to approve and fund the status of the full Municipality of Malёsia, in whole, under the same laws afforded to her other territorial regions; that, in order to realize this objective, Albanian political parties in Montenegro set aside their differences and unite their efforts to immediately work towards the fulfillment of a full municipality in Malesia; that Albanian political parties, without delay, initiate a distinct strategy (with specific deadlines) to express control and leadership ability in managing a fully operational municipality.
This Declaration was unanimously approved and signed by the leaders of all four organizations, whereafter it was to be submitted to all affected parties, including those in the Montenegrin political apparatus and regional NGOs dealing exclusively with the issues discussed in Du Bois.
The Du Bois conference concluded on a high note, and each organization determined that all future conferences, projects, communications, and declarations will be handled by the experts in each field representing the working group. The members of each organization concluded that the Diaspora will once and for all speak with one voice, as the greater cause is much more salient than the constituent personal interests of a few. The aspiration now is that Albanians in Montenegrin work under the same rubric.
Posted by Conference Organizer at 11:07 AM