Grateful to Dr. Elez Biberaj – a voice of freedom and democracy, in crucial moments for the Albanian nation

By Harry Bajraktari

Congratulations to Dr. Elez Biberaj on his retirement from the Voice of America after a great career that has spanned five decades.

He became literally the voice of America and the voice of democracy in the last years of communist rule in Albania, when VOA’s broadcast challenged the regime and gave hope to millions of Albanians.

In the 1990s, when free press was banned in Kosova, the Voice of America became the only trusted source of news for the Albanians in Kosova and throughout the former Yugoslavia. Indeed, Albanians wherever they lived, recognized the voices of that generation of journalists and directors of the VOA team including Dr. Elez Biberaj, Frank Shkreli, Shaqir Salihu, and many others, who delivered the vital news for their lives and their struggle for freedom.

After many years as Chief of the Albanian Service, Elez went on to lead VOA’s important EuroAsian Division and then became Acting Director of the entire Voice of America.

Just like me, Elez Biberaj came to this country as a young teenager and embraced the opportunities of this great country, while never forgetting where he came from. We knew each-other growing up and share many memories together.

Elez and the Biberaj Family have made a difference in the life of our nation and everywhere in the communities where they have lived and continue to live. They have excelled in many fields of life and remain an inspiration to Albanian-Americans.

Today, we thank him for his great contribution to freedom, democracy, and journalism not just for Albanians, but for the people throughout the world.

On behalf of my family, I wish him joy and happiness in the next chapter of his life.