On June 28, the Ambassador of the Sovereign Order of Malta to the Republic of Albania, H.E Stefano Palumbo, and his wife Valérie hosted the reception on the occasion of the Solemnity of St. John the Baptist, Patron Saint of the Sovereign Order of Malta.
The diplomatic corps accredited in Albania who were present included the Apostolic Nuncio and the Secretary to the Nuncio Mons. Romanus Mbena, the Ambassadors of Serbia (Dean of the Diplomatic Corps), Italy, Israel, Spain, France, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Russia, Brazil together with the diplomatic counselors of the Embassies of Macedonia and Kosovo and the honorary consul of Malta to Albania. The representative of the Institute for Foreign Trade (ICE), the Council of Europe and UNICEF also took part in the reception.
Representative of the Albanian government included the Chief of Cabinet of the President of the Republic, Mr. Arben Cici; the Diplomatic Advisor of the President of the Republic, Ambassador Valter Ibrahimi; the Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Energy, Mr. Artan Shkreli; the director of the Department of Treaties and the International Law at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Armand Skapi; the Secretary General of the Ministry of Education, Mr. Oltjon Muzaka; the Chief of Protocol of the Prime Minister, Mr Tomi Frasheri; the head of the State Stewardship Directorate, Ms Dhurata Shamia; the Director the Department of Sources, Transparency and Administration of the Prime Minister’s Office, Mr. Pirro Vengu; the Delegate of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Tonin Beci; the Head of the Directorate for Integration, Coordination, Agreement and Assistance of the MFA, Ms Alida Mici; the chief of protocol of the Mayor of Tirana, Ms Alisa Braho, and 3 members of the Albanian Parliament together with the former Speaker of Parliament Ms Jozefina Topalli.
Religious authorities present besides the Nuncio were the Archbishop of Tirana-Durres Msgr. George Frendo, together with Msgr. Henricus Veldkamp, the Director General of Caritas Albania, Father Antonio Leuci; together with the director of Caritas Tirana, Ms Majlinda Gjoni Thompson; the parish priest of St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Scutari, Don Artur Jaku; the parish priest of the Church of the Franciscans of Scutari, Fr. Aurel Gjerkaj; the Vicar General of the “Heart of Christ” Parish in Tirana, Father Zef Bisha; along with numerous other priests and nuns from Tirana, Durrës and Shkodër. Other religious representatives were the President of the Albanian Evangelical Alliance, Pastor Ylli Doci; and the representative of the Christian Orthodox Community, Episcop Asti; a representative of the Bektashi and a delegate of the Muslim community.
Finally, 15 volunteers of the Order of Malta came from Scutari together with Malteser Albania Director Dr. Maranaj Marku, and many friends of the Order beginning with HRH Leka II, Crown Prince of the Albanians along with other members of the Royal Court belonging to the most ancient Albanian historic families such as Toptani, Libohova, Frasheri and Zogu. The reception was also attended by some members of the academic world such as the Rector of the University of Tirana Prof. Mynyr Koni, the art historian Prof. Zef Paci, and other distinguished people such as Professors Primo Shllaku, Stefan Capaliku, Aljula Jubani, Evalda Paci, Elona Mehilli and Shpresa Delija. These are academics from the University of Tirana of great prestige in the Albanian cultural world, who joined the celebrations together with doctors, lawyers and local entrepreneurs demonstrating the high level of penetration of the Order in the social life of the country.