From 28 to 29 March, the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, will undertake an official visit to the Republic of Albania. During this visit, the Director-General is expected to meet with the Prime Minister of Albania, Edi Rama, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ditmir Bushati, the Minister of Environment, Lefter Koka, the Minister of Education and Sports, Lindita Nikolla, and the Minister of Culture, Mirela Kumbaro Furxhi.
The visit will present an opportunity for the Director-General to discuss with the leadership of the Albanian government the current state of UNESCO’s cooperation with the country and to further strengthen this in priority areas, including the protection of cultural and natural heritage and the promotion of regional cooperation.
In Albania, the Director-General will take part in the “The Gorica Bridge Speaks” event that aims at highlighting bridges as powerful symbols of unity and mutual understanding. The event is held in the Historic Centre of Berat, a site inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List for its rare architectural character, typical of the Ottoman period.
The event, organized by Balkanika Foundation, in cooperation with the Municipality of Berat and other partners from the region, with the support of UNESCO, is the third sub-regional event of the ‘Balkan Bridges Speak’ project organized within the framework of UNESCO’s global initiative “Culture: A Bridge to Development.” The first was held in Edirne (Turkey) in 2012, and the second in Lovech (Bulgaria) in 2013.
This regional encounter will bring together culture professionals, municipalities, intellectuals, universities, and private counterparts from South East Europe, including the Minister of Culture of Albania, Mirela Kumbaro Furxh and the Mayor of Berat, Fadil Nasufi.
The initiative “Culture: A Bridge to Development” seeks to promote innovative and creative approaches in the South East European region that enhance culture as a bridge and dynamic force of cooperation between local authorities, creating opportunities and mechanisms for inclusive economic development, social cohesion, and peace. It was launched by the Director-General in September 2011.