September 23, 2009, Waldorf Astoria Hotel, New York
Through the Annual Balkan Leaders Reception, the Federation of Balkan American Associations hopes to achieve its mission of sharing the Balkan’s heritage of tolerance and understanding with world leaders, Presidents, Prime Ministers, Foreign Affairs Ministers, as well as business and religious leaders, journalists, artists, scholars, and professionals covering a spectrum of fields. The Annual Reception aspires to contribute to creating common goals and ideals toward sustainable peace and prosperity, as well as harmonious inter-ethnic relations.
FEBA, in partnership with the Division for Global Affairs at Rutgers University, hosted the 2009 Annual Balkan Leaders Reception. It was held on Wednesday, September 23, 2009, at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. The event was attended by esteemed representatives from the Balkan region, ranging from presidents and prime ministers of various Balkan countries, to influential businessmen.
The following honored guests enriched the occasion with their presence:
H.E. Haris Silajdzic, Member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina
H.E. Stjepan Mesic, the President of Croatia
H.E. Fatmir Sejdiu, the President of Kosovo
H.E. Sven Alkalaj, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina
H.E. Mr. Milan Rocen, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro
H.E. Gordan Jandrokovic, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Croatia
H.E. Mr. Ilir Meta, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Albania
H.E. Skender Hyseni, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kosovo
H.E. Milen Lyutskanov, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria
H.E. Ambassador Anastassis Mitsialis, Permanent Representative of Greece to the United Natio
H.E. Ekmeleddin ‹hsano¤lu, Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (O
Mr. Kemal Karpat, Honorary President of FEBA
Mr. Steven J. Diner, Chancellor of Rutgers University-Newark
Dr. Aras Konjhodzic, President of the FEBA
In his address, Davutoglu stressed that the greatness and richness of Balkan cultural heritage, SHARING a common history and future. He said, "Therefore, Balkanization should be perceived in a positive way and as the richness and harmony of cultural and ethnic differences, not in a negative way as 'division and separation'."
The theme of the evening was set by the reception's title, "The Challenge of the Third Millennium: Lasting Peace and Prosperity in the Balkans.” The purpose of the meeting, and the very essence of the event, involved exactly that. Peace among the Balkan nations, especially in the past couple of decades, has been seemingly unattainable due to poorly structured institutions and politics. The question that lingers and challenges today’s political leaders is: which methods should be employed in order to modify faults and nurture potential connections.
The key points made were meant to engage discussion of further dialogue among the prominent politicians who were present: improving cross-border, and cross-cultural communication, and integrating economic initiatives within the diverse Balkan region.
FEBA views this event as a great achievement and a noteworthy leap forward into the unification of the Balkan region. Regional chauvinism has a significant effect on the Balkan Diaspora in the US, especially in terms of unification: connecting similarities, and appreciating differences with respect as core American values.
FEBA’s goals include the mission "to preserve and promote our rich and diverse Balkan culture and work with other individuals and/or organizations that share a common goal,” which is why we regard this event with such esteem.