News Article

9 July 2007

President Bush is greeted as a hero in Albania.

President Bush is greeted as a hero in Albania – and (indirectly) encourages those who have worked for Value the Person Charity in the country over the last ten years

The Value the Person charity has worked in Albania for nearly ten years. Over this time we have developed a three point strategy to help the poorest nation in the western world’s integration into Europe and a market economy. Our focus has been on (1) helping young entrepreneurs, (2) developing “great” leaders in central and local government and (3) encouraging the development of the SME sector (- which was non-existent under the previous communist regime but is necessary if the economy is to grow.)

It was interesting, therefore, to see that during the visit of the President of the USA to Tirana in June he emphasised the fundamental importance of small businesses and entrepreneurs to the development of the Albanian economy. He also stressed the importance of good governance to the acceptance of Albania into the European Union.

Albania has been a staunch ally in America's "war on terror" and during his visit Mr Bush met Albanian soldiers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. America has also eagerly supported Albania over Kosovo (- where the majority of people are Albanian) independence and, therefore, the President received a very enthusiastic and affectionate welcome in Tirana, the capital city. However, many western journalists remarked how noticeable it was that the President took so much of his time in the country to visit and encourage those from the small business sector and to support those politicians involved in developing the country’s future – many of whom are friends of Value the Person in Albania.

For example, he met with Edi Rama, Mayor of Tirana. Edi was voted City Mayor of the World in 2005. Edi has long since recognised that the best way to enhance the effectiveness and the efficiency the municipality is to develop the leadership skills of his directors and senior managers – with the help of Value the Person charity.

He also visited a micro-financing company, to encourage their work with small businesses and with business start-ups, and some small businesses. Value the Person has been involved in mentoring key managers in this and similar organisations for several years.

During his visit the President also took time out to encourage senior ministers to develop their environmental and other credentials so that they could gain entry to the European Union. In recent years, Value the Person has worked with two successive Environment Ministers to assist in re-organising their departments to enhance their efficiency and in developing a national environmental strategy, based on sustainable development principals, to prepare them for entry to the EU.

So, not only did the Albanian government ministers and the Albanian people receive a real fillip from the President but, the Value the Person Charity personnel involved in the country’s development over the last ten years also received a welcome, if indirect, boost from the President’s visit. Well done to all concerned and your contribution is greatly appreciated.