An Embassy Chat with Albanian Ambassador Floreta Faber

Albanian Embassy at 2100 S St. NW, Washington, D.C. Courtesy AgnosticPreachersKid .

Albania, a small country on the Adriatic with three million people, is little known to Americans. I was therefore particularly glad to meet with its warm and gracious Ambassador, Floreta Faber. Coming up now on her 7th year, she is proud to say she has served with three U.S. Presidents. Accompanying her in Washington is her husband, a vascular surgeon, and their daughter, age 21, and son, 18.  

Faber was no stranger to the United States when she presented her credentials to President Obama in 2015. She first came to the United States as an exchange student at Washington State University. Later, in 2010, she participated in the State Department’s International Visitor Leader program and traveled widely throughout the United States. From 2000 – 2015 she was executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Albania, and was also instrumental in establishing Deloitte & Touche in Tirana, its capital. It is clear that the ambassador knows America well and has made many friends over the years. 

One of the many things Faber feels she has learned from America is the degree to which people personally engage, whether it be at a local school, church, or a non-governmental institution. This commitment to civic participation is an important part of what she hopes to take back with her to Albania. She is also impressed by the welcoming nature and openness of Americans. 

Albania places high priority on gender equality. In fact, it is a global leader in terms of the percentage of women in public service. Seventy percent of government positions are held by women, while by law women hold 30% of parliamentary seats and 50% of seats in municipal councils. A woman currently serves as Minister of Foreign Affairs. Albanian women are also appointed as ambassadors to the European Union, the UN, Greece, Italy, as well as here in the United States. Albanian education is free through primary school while health care is mostly covered by Social Security.  

Albania also prides itself on its human rights record. It provided help and housing for Jews during the Second World War, and is now accepting up to 4000 Afghan refugees in transit to other countries. Faber proudly says that Mother Teresa was of Albanian descent. 

The embassy has a small staff of 10, all working hard with a goal of putting Albania “on the map.” The acclaimed young Albanian tenor Saimir Pirgu was featured in the lead role of Rodolfo in La Boheme at the Kennedy Center. Also, to increase its exposure, the Albanian embassy participates in “Passport DC,” an annual event where embassies open their doors to walk-in visitors. Thousands visit the embassy on these special occasions. 

The Ambassador and her family love walking and hiking. They particularly enjoy a stroll on the waterfront in Georgetown with its lively atmosphere, and dining in the many restaurants while overlooking the water.  

Feeling very expansive, Faber says “Albanians love America and the American people.” Here she muses that this love and respect were in part a reaction to the lack of freedom and democracy during the 50 years they spent under Communism when America was viewed as an adversary during the Cold War. 

In finishing our conversation, I asked the Ambassador “What makes your country special?” Here, she cited with a smile that Albania’s beautiful beaches and rugged mountains make it a vacationer’s paradise. As I left the embassy, I was convinced that I wanted to get to know her country better and that Albania would be high up on my “bucket list” of post-Covid visits.     






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