President Thaçi: The Arbëresh people, a unique model of resistance, still preserving their identityCalabria, June 24, 2017 - The President of the country, Hashim Thaçi, who is on an official visit to Calabria, last evening has also visited some localities to meet with the Arbëresh community there.
During his visit to Ungro, President Thaçi was received by Bishop Donato Olivero and together they visited the Ungro Cathedral.
“Today, this visit of yours to this episcopal seat honors the history of the faithful Arbëresh people, who for six centuries guarded and defended the Arbëresh language, customs, traditions and the Byzantine rite of our ancestors”, stated Monsignor Olivero, warmly welcoming President Thaçi, as he said “in the heart of our century-old Arbëria in Calabria”.
The President in Ungro also met the Mayor of the Municipality, Guiseppino Santoianni, as well as the Arbëresh community.
In front of the communal and religious authorities of Ungro, President Thaçi spoke about the importance of deepening communication and cooperation between Calabria and Kosovo, guaranteeing them the care of the institutions of Kosovo to mark progresses in the preservation and protection of the cultural identity of Arbëresh people.
Further, President Thaçi also visited the Arbëresh community in St. Mithra.
President Thaçi was received there by the Mayor of this locality, Salvatore Lamirata, by the Chairman of the Arbëresh Foundation, Ferdinando Nociti, by the representatives of the Arbëresh Cultural Societies and the residents who had also organized programs with traditional Arbëresh music and dance.
In St. Mithra’s Theater, President Thaçi emphasized that the Arbëresh people are a unique model of the resistance of a community, that for centuries far away from the motherland still preserve their identity.
“You are our authentic, original roots, our genesis, and our origin. You are the unbroken and genuine thread of the Albanian race. In Italy, within a people of great culture, who gave the Renaissance to humanity, you preserved, developed and protected your identity. You have preserved the language of our ancestors, the traditions, faith, rhapsodies and dances”, said President Thaçi.
In sign of honor for the preservation of the Arbëresh language, tradition and culture, with the Presidential Medal of Merits, President Thaçi in St. Mithra decorated the professor Cettina Mazzei, who contributed to the development of native language education and the protection of the Arbëresh culture.
Also, to encourage them to act together with the community institutions on the path of interaction, with the same medal, the President also decorated the Union of the Arbëresh Associations (UNIARB) and the Federation of the Arbëresh Associations (FAA).
President Thaçi emphasized that these organizations have consistently protected the rich linguistic and cultural heritage of the Arbëresh people in Italy.