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University of Tetova conferred the title of Doctor Honoris Causa upon Prof. Dr. Lisa Freeman and Prof. Dr. David L. Philips

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With a solemn academy organized by the University of Tetova, on May 31, 2017, Executive Vice President and Provost of Northern Illinois University, Prof. Dr. Lisa C. Freeman and Director of Peace-building Program and Human Rights of the Institute for the Study of Human Rights of the University of Columbia, were awarded the highest scientific title, Doctor Honoris Causa.

The academy was declared open by the Rector of the University of Tetova, Prof. Dr. Vullnet Ameti. In his address to the audience, he said that University of Tetova awards this prize for renowned personalities, who mark extraordinary achievements by giving their incomparable contribution for the advancement of science in general and protecting the principles of universal rights and freedoms. “University of Tetova, beside the generous intellectual engagement and the support of the people of this country, is a result of earlier commitment of the United States, to serve the justice, that Albanians in Macedonia can be educated in their native language and not to remain in the darkness imposed by the various regimes over the centuries, but to take their own destiny in their hands and to walk toward the knowledge, world civilization and democracy. Sound policy vision of the US toward Albanians has always resulted in a par excellence vision, which has brought fundamental changes in our societies, so we as a people are in debt to the US and we have a moral obligation, by referring to our ancient traditions, to consider them our soul friends. Without US engagement, our existence today would have been questioned, University of Tetova would not have undergone this rapid development, our people would not enjoy its freedom, democracy would be only an abstract notion, while the gap and social imbalance would have unimaginable proportions. Today, we do not honor only two prominent figures of American society, but we express our deep gratitude to a friendly nation, to the permanent political engagement of US governments for the benefit of Albanian education and our national cause. University of Tetova will never forget 1994, when at the head of the demonstrations, in support of the founding Rector, Prof. Dr. Fadil Sulejmani for the Albanian Education in Tetovo was the Congressman Joseph DioGuardi with his wife”, said the Rector, Prof. Dr. Vullnet Ameti.

He also added that the University of Tetova will never forget the valuable contribution of American congressmen and diplomats like, Bob Dole, Eliot Engel, Marshall Harris, Richard Holbrooke, Madeleine Albright, James W. Pardew etc., for tireless engagement and their constant lobbying in the actualization of the Albanian issue globally. University of Tetova will never forget the US decisiveness and intervention with its allies in preventing genocide and bringing the freedom to Kosovo. University of Tetova will never forget the engagement of the American politics in preventing the 2001 conflict in Macedonia, which could have had catastrophic consequences for all of us, and the continuing commitment so far, for amortization of interethnic relations and overcoming the recent political crisis in the country, which could have serious consequences for our well-being. Two personalities that we pronounce today for Doctor Honoris Causa of the University of Tetova are distinguished for their political and social commitment, as well as for their scientific contribution with global proportions. Professor David L. Phillips is already known for the public in the Balkan region. For more than three decades, he is dealing intensively with the Albanian cause and his contribution will remain irreplaceable in the history of the Albanian people. Except as a diplomat and lobbyist, he has contributed in the actualization of the Albanian issue as an academician, by publishing thousands of articles in prestigious world magazines, such as Huntington Post, Zëri, Shekulli, etc. To the world and Albanian historiography he has brought a voluminous book titled “Liberating Kosovo published a year ago by the University of Tetova, in which he throw light on the truth of the Albanian nation for freedom and independence. Prof. Dr. Lisa C. Freeman is Executive Vice President and Provost of Northern Illinois University (NIU) and a prominent activist for the rights of communities, where the Albanian community is in large numbers in the State of Illinois. Due to her engagement, today the University of Tetova has a strong partner in the US and the corpus of inter-university cooperation encompasses almost all areas: Institutionalized scientific research, joint scientific conferences, exchange of academic and student staff and we are in the process of preparing joint study programs. Our idea to establish a Center for Peace and Trans-cultural Communication, to be more closer to the community, both here and in the state of Illinois has been strongly supported by Professor Freeman and her team and we are already seeing the first outcomes: This year was held the first conference in Tetovo, which gathered renown researchers in this area from Macedonia, the region and the US, whereas on November 2, the next conference will be held in Chicago, whereby one of the main speakers of the conference will be Ambassador James Perdew, honorary member of the academic community of the University of Tetova”, said the Rector of the University of Tetova, Prof. Dr. Vullnet Ameti.

The Rector, Prof. Dr. Vullnet Ameti in his speech also emphasized the fruitful cooperation that the University of Tetova has with the US Embassy in Skopje, especially in the field of education, within which we have had a considerable number of American professors who, thanks to the mediation of the American Embassy, ​​through Fulbright Program have contributed to teaching and training for one semester, respectively one academic year. Among us, we have a Professor from the University of Florida, Prof. Dr. Judith-Anne, who enjoys special respect among colleagues and students of the Faculty of Law of the University of Tetova for her dedication to academic work and professionalism. All these parameters clearly show our work and mission. Our primary goal is to build a modern and competitive university, thanks to the respect of academic values ​​and good international experiences, not only in the region but also in the international arena. And all this is not achieved alone, but with powerful friends and partners. Our youth is expecting from us, it will go the way we will pave it and this path leads to consistent values, such as: good education, tendency for stable democracy and respect for human rights and freedoms without taking into consideration the ethnicity, racial or religious affiliation. Therefore, we need to jointly gather forces and create long-term platforms that will lay the foundations for a healthy society, where tolerance and respect for the other will be the indispensable pillar of the future", added the Rector, Prof. Dr. Vullnet Ameti.

The Chairman of the Review Committee, Vice Rector for International Relations of UT, Prof. Dr. Arbër Çeliku, read the report for Prof. Dr. Lisa C. Freeman, and among others he emphasized: “Professor Mrs. Freeman finished her basic veterinary studies in 1981, continuing with Master’s and doctoral studies, completing them in 1986 at Cornell University. She has completed also a Ph.D. in Pharmacy at Ohio State University in 1989. From 1989 until 1994 she continued her post-doctoral studies, being also a scientific employee at Rochester School of Medicine. From 2004 to 2005, she was a scholarship holder of the American Educational Council at the University of Buffalo. Then, Prof. Dr. Freeman continues her commitment as a Vice President at Northern Illinois University, whereas in 2013, by the Board of this University was entrusted also the duty of the Provost, responsible for all academic, investigative, administrative-technical issues, as well as the task of the Vice-President of this University, which position she continues to hold with great success so far. During this period she has managed to transform this university into a competitive university not only in the US but also in the world”, said Prof. Dr. Arbër Çeliku.  

He also read the report for the diplomat Prof. Dr. David L. Phillips. “Professor Phillips is currently the Director of Peace-building and Human Rights Program of the Institute for the Study of Human Rights of the University of Colombia. He has worked as a key advisor of the United Nations Secretariat and for a long time has been engaged as an expert and advisor for the US Department of State. He was a visiting professor at Harvard University, Director of the Conflict Prevention Program and peace building at the American University, associate professor at the Department of Political Science of New York University and served as a professor at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna.  He also served as a key advisor and Deputy Director of the Council for International Affairs and the Atlantic Council of the United States of America, director of the European Center for Joint Platform, project director of the International Peace Research Institute of Oslo, president of the Congressional Human Rights Foundation and director of the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity.

The decision of the Senate for awarding the title of Doctor Honoris Causa for both American personalities, Prof. Dr. Lisa C. Freeman and Dr. David L. Phillips was announced by the Vice-Rector for Education of UT, Prof. Dr. Reshat Qahili. During the reading of the decision he said that “Pursuant to article 144 of the Law on Higher Education of the Republic of Macedonia and article 268 of the Statute of the State University of Tetova, the University Senate, at the regular meeting held on May 17, 2017, brought a: DECISION for awarding of the title of Doctor Honoris Causa of the University of Tetova to Prof. Dr. Lisa C. Freeman and Prof. Dr. David L. Phillips”, said the promoter, Prof. Dr. Reshat Qahili.

The laureates, Prof. Dr. Lisa C. Freeman and Prof. Dr. David L. Phillips received the diplomas by the Rector of UT, Prof. Dr. Vullnet Ameti. After receiving the diplomas, Prof. Dr. Lisa C. Freeman said that after receiving the prizes, we are obliged to continue to support the University of Tetova in the future and together to raise it in a pedestal with renowned international universities. ”Today I feel very much honored that I accept this academic title from the University of Tetova and the Rector, Prof. Dr. Vullnet Ameti. Your university and our University of Northern Illinois have a successful cooperation for three years now. All our joint projects have been in appropriate level. As two partner universities we have been always open in discussions, values and economic prosperity and at the same time we have supported the aspirations of our students. It makes me feel proud that the University of North Illinois in the US together with the University of Tetova managed to establish the Center for Peace and Trans-cultural Communication, based at your university, a collaboration that functions in the best possible way so far. We have a lot of work to do together in the future, we do not stop here because the universities are always in step with time and in exploration of new knowledge innovations", said Prof. Dr. Lisa C. Freeman.

While Prof. Dr. David L. Phillips, stated that the title of Doctor Honoris Causa, awarded by the University of Tetova, will be attached to the list of his most beautiful moments of his life he had with the US and West’s best friends, the Albanian people. “This award that you are giving to me is a great honor for me. I always feel honored when I am in the University of Tetova and I enjoy being among you. Today I would like to talk with you for some beautiful memories that I have in my life.  All these beautiful memories I have with the most sincere friend of my country, with Albanian people. I remember like it was yesterday when I was at the Grand Hotel and saw how Serbian police committed violence against the Albanians of Kosovo. I have a beautiful moment in 1994 when I came to the University of Tetova and met the first Rector of this University, Prof. Dr. Fadil Sulejmani. The meeting was held in a basement of a building here in Tetovo where he was with the students and told me to ask the American congressmen for their support to your University. Five years later, in March 1999, in the Kosovo war, Richard Holbrooke called me and told me that negotiations were stopped and a day later the US began bombing Serbia. In 2008, I was in Prishtina, on the day of declaration of Independence of Kosovo. A year ago here at your university we promoted my book published by the University of Tetova, "Liberating Kosovo – coercive diplomacy and US intervention, translated into Albanian language by PhD Gjyla Çeliku, and today I am here again to award the title of Doctor Honoris Causa of the University of Tetova. Today's event will be added to the list of my beautiful memories that I have with Albanians. I sincerely say that Albanians are the best and most sincere friends of the United States and the West”, said Prof. Dr. David L. Phillips.

The Rector of the State University of Tetova, Prof. Dr. Vullnet Ameti bestowed upon both laureates the University logos, together with the flag and engraved portrait of the founder and the first historic Rector of UT, Prof. Dr. Fadil Sulejmani. For the given contribution to the Faculty of Law of the University of Tetova, within the Fullbright Program, the Rector of the State University of Tetova, Prof. Dr. Vullnet Ameti, bestowed a portrait of Queen Teuta to Professor Judithanne Scourfield.

 

The Academy was enriched with a cultural and artistic program from the Choir of the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University Tetova and two Albanian tenors, Kastriot Tusha and Selami Kolonja.

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