PRESIDENT SEJDIUS SPEECH AT THE ACADEMY CELEBRATING THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BIRTH OF PROFESSOR SELMAN RIZAHonorable President of the Kosovo Academy of Sciences and Arts, Mr. Besim Bokshi, Honorable Vice President of Kosovo Academy of Sciences and Arts, Mr. Myzafer Korkuti, Honorable ministers and representatives of central and local governments,
Honorable family of Prof. Selman Riza,
Honorable participants to the solemn academy celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Prof. Selman Riza,
I am honored to address today a respectable audience at a solemn academy celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of the great patriot and intellectual, Professor Selman Riza.
I was honored as the President of the Republic of Kosovo to have had the opportunity to have all the activities staged on this anniversary and directed by the Academy of Science and Arts held under my auspices.
Today I may say with full confidence that, owing to the commitment of President Bokshi and the entire team at the Academy and to the assistance provided by the Government of the Republic of Kosovo and the Municipal Assembly of Gjakova, we are fulfilling a part of our obligation to the colossus of our culture and Albanology and the founder of the national-democratic platform for Kosovos freedom and independence.
Professor Selman Riza has provided an enormous contribution during his scientific engagements. He created the first Kosovo Research Centre in Prizren back in 1943. During the 50s of the 20th century, he was a founder of and a student himself in the Institute of Albanology, sowing thus the seeds of Albanological studies.
Academic Ismaili is right when we writes that Professor Rizas writings indicate that he has had two overriding passions: Albanian Grammar and Kosovo. He had a passion for the freedom of mind and the love for his country and nation. He has suffered a lot for these two ideals and now we, at this solemn occasion, may say that these two main ideals that he has had in this world have become a reality and are enjoyed by his compatriots. The freedom of mind, for which he sacrificed a lot during all the regimes, finally prevailed; the freedom of Kosovo, inspired by his ideals of democracy and a free and educated society, finally prevailed.
In the realm of Albanological studies and other studies in Albanian, Selman Riza is known, fist of all, as an Albanologist who has advanced the research on and knowledge of Albanian morphology. We will remain forever appreciative of his first series of monographs based on current and historic developments in the field of Albanological studies, which have laid the foundation of a science on Albanian grammar. His modern approach of study, in one hand, and his new findings and knowledge, have enhanced the Albanian grammar.
Professor Riza was also focused on studying the new trends in Albanian writings and on elaborating on them. His studies remain up to date in terms of efforts to unify the Albanian language. He distinguished himself with his theoretical treatises back in 1944, which he developed later on into wide-ranging researches on the language used by previous Albanian writers. Riza is known as one of the greatest authors in this field.
Selman Riza deserves a special respect also for his studies on Albanian language in relation to other languages. Even nowadays, his Serbian grammar remains the only Serbian grammar written by an Albanian and drafted from the viewpoint of its relation to Albanian language.
Rizas interest in general issues related to linguistic studies and his conceptions regarding philosophical theory of knowledge were revealed recently.
Professor Rizas contribution is multifaceted. Researchers have praised highly his great engagement in creating new terms in various fields of knowledge and his contribution to the compilation of various glossaries of terms during the 60s and 70s of the last century. This amount of his contribution helps us today to understand better and express ourselves more accurately in many public, scientific and intellectual fields.
With a due respect of researchers appreciation for Professor Riza, we may say that his studies constituted an important contribution to the knowledge of Albanian language and linguistics, to the overall advancement of this knowledge in the course of Albanian evolutions of the 20th century and to our integration into various fields of linguistics. I believe we must all learn from Professor Rizas critical perseverance and commitment.
It is up to scientists, researchers and linguists to explore deeper into the treasury of Professor Rizas legacy. Without any hesitation, we will provide an institutional contribution to assist in making this treasury stand out shining in the realm of knowledge of Albanology.
The 100th anniversary of Professor Selman Rizas birth poses on us the public and political responsibility to engage in providing better conditions for scientific research and to give the ideals, projects, results and contributions provided by our distinguished personalities of our culture the place they deserve.
More light will certainly be shed on the life and work of Professor Riza during the activities that will be staged in Kosovo and Albania on the 100th anniversary of his birth.
In addition to this, we may all feel relieved tomorrow for having fulfilled Honorable Professors wish to rest in peace in his birthplace, in Gjakova, in Kosovo, which he was forced to abandon as a child and to long for it during his entire life.
From now on, he will have Republic of Kosovos state institutions acknowledgment and care that he deserves.
Professor Rizas merits are multidimensional and extraordinary. On 17 June 2005, the historic President of Kosovo, Dr. Ibrahim Rugova, has awarded Professor Selman Riza with the Golden Medal of the League of Prizren for his contribution to Albanological studies and education and Kosovos freedom and independence. With a special respect f his life and his permanent excellence in his engagements, on the 100th anniversary of his birth, in my capacity as the President of the Republic of Kosovo, I have decided to award the Golden Medal of Freedom to Professor Selman Riza.