The Grant Awarding Ceremony of the 5th Call for Proposals, co-funded by the European Union, took place this afternoon in Tirana.
The full event was livestreamed at our Facebook page.
Western Balkans Fund Executive Director, Dr. Gjergj Murra opened the festivities with a keynote speech, here attached.
Full reporting will follow tomorrow
Full speech of ED Murra, as prepared for delivery
Ladies and gentlemen
I warmly welcome you to this particular moment in the Western Balkans Fund history, the Awarding Ceremony of our Fifth Call for Proposals, and the second Call co-funded by the European Union, which we thank and applaud.
Awarding Ceremonies allow us to recollect our memories and cherish them again.
I recall our First Awarding Ceremony, held on 8 May 2018, one day before the celebrations for the Day of Europe.
At the time, we felt so proud to award our first 18 projects involving 84 partner organisations from universities, schools, associations of culture, sports and institutions from the Western Balkans Region.
I also remember that we felt, for the first time, what tremendous power had been unleashed by the vision of our Contracting Parties, a vision of large-scale Cooperation Reconciliation and good neighbourly relations.
It is a power I feel today again, only more robust and much louder.
Five Calls for Proposals, 60 Info Sessions, more than 400 regional meetings, 138 projects supported, 5.800 stakeholders, 22 thousand followers, more than 1 million people reached and more than 2 million Euros provided to support the wonderful projects submitted by Civil Society Organisations and other stakeholders.
This is our business card.
This is why we stand here today, proud of our newest achievement and confidence that the best is yet to come.
All of this would not have been possible without the insistent, continuous and increasing support of our Contracting Parties, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of WB6.
In that regard, I especially want to thank the Belgrade 2022 Chairmanship in Office for the wise guidance that enabled new milestones, marked in our organisation’s continued modernisation and growth.
In a personal note, many thanks to Mr. Jankovic and Mr. Mart, who travelled today from Belgrade for being here with us in this event. Your presence shows a lot! Thank you!
I want to thank again, the European Union.
Their support has been crucial to our growth, and thanks to it, for the first time in our lifespan, we have been able to launch two separate Calls for Proposals in six months.
Furthermore, special thanks and gratitude to Switzerland and Japan for trusting our values and our mission, for supporting the growth and overall regional cooperation activities in our region.
Sincere appreciation to the V4 Group partners and to the International Visegrad Fund, our first and trusted companion, to and Peace Nexus Organisation.
As we say in Albania, success has many parents and you are inseparable from all the steps we have taken forward over the years.
Ladies and Gentleman
Without taking much time, allow me to congratulate once again the ones that are the true reason we are here, our 36 grantees!
It was the most challenging evaluation process we have ever had. The competition was excellent, as was the number of applications, but in the end, I am confident we have chosen the best, the crème de la crème.
The Western Balkans Fund is the heart that, year after year, pumps new energies that keep Regional Cooperation growing.
But, without a body, a heart is useless. You are now our body, our eyes and ears. And we have trusted you not only with a grant but with a great responsibility:
To be the role models, the champions we need!
We have seen many bright ideas, talent and innovation in your projects.
Over the next 10 months, we will be entertained by concerts, exhibitions or sports event, we will communicate through workshop and conferences, speaking through your mouths about the green economy, sustainable development, human rights, gender empowerment, culture and arts, cooperation in the field of education, research and much more.
That is why I look forward with excitement to the implementation stage.
Quoting Ismail Kadare: “There is always time to do something great”.
I am sure we are about to see many great things.
Thank you for your attention. Faleminderit. Hvala Vam! Blagodaram!