The Albanian American Civic League is the only non-partisan, volunteer registered lobby in Washington, DC, representing the concerns of more than 750,000 Albanian Americans about the plight of seven million Albanians living side by side in the Balkans—in Albania, Kosova, Macedonia, Montenegro, the Presheva Valley (southern Serbia), and Chameria (northern Greece). The Civic League was founded by former Congressman Joe DioGuardi in 1989, shortly after he left the U.S. House of Representatives, and a small group of Albanian Americans in response to the crisis triggered in the Balkans by former Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic’s invasion and occupation of Kosova. DioGuardi serves as the Civic League’s volunteer president. Shirley Cloyes DioGuardi—a writer, foreign policy analyst, human rights activist, and former book publisher who joined the organization in 1994—serves as its Balkan Affairs Adviser. They report to a board of Albanian Americans. Several thousand members in the United States contribute to the operating expenses of the Civic League, and several Albanians in the United States and abroad contribute their knowledge and expertise to program development.
The Civic League is registered to lobby the legislative and executive branches of the federal government for the purpose of influencing U.S. foreign policy to bring lasting peace and stability to the Balkans. For more than twenty years, the organization has worked with the foreign policy leaders in the U.S. Congress, including the late Congressmen Ben Gilman, Henry Hyde, and Tom Lantos, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Senators Charles Schumer and John McCain, and former Senators Joe Biden, Bob Dole, and Claiborne Pell, to bring independence to Kosova, equal rights to Albanians in Macedonia, Montenegro, the Presheva Valley, and Chameria, and genuine democracy and economic development to Albania.
The Civic League has taken many US elected officials to Southeast Europe to experience first-hand the conditions under which Albanians live. These trips are conducted through its affiliated organization, the Albanian American Foundation, which is a charitable and educational nonprofit organization that is classified as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization under the Internal Revenue Code. The Foundation educates the U.S. government, the press, and the public about the history, culture, and contemporary conditions of Albanians in the Balkans. A major part of its program has been devoted to educating the public, the press, and the parliaments of the world about the unique role that Albanians played in rescuing every Jew who either lived in Albania or sought asylum there during the Nazi Holocaust.
To learn more about AACL and its historic work for the Albanian national cause, please visit the AACL official website at www.aacl.com
Joe Biden first became interested in the Albanian American Civic League in 1991, when he was a US Senator and Joe DioGuardi testified about Kosova before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The Civic League worked closely with Joe Biden when he was Ranking Minority Member and then Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in supporting the righteous cause of the Albanians of Kosova for freedom and statehood and to bring full democracy and development to Southeast Europe.
In what follows, we will present a few feature pictures and videos of our work with Joe Biden, including his keynote speech, followed by New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Congressman Ben Gilman at the Civic League’s historic “Salute to the Albanian Freedom” Gala, held at the Sheraton Hotel in Manhattan in April 2002, previous election fundraisers we held for him, and many other AACL events in which he participated:
Mr. Biden has been an outspoken advocate for human and civic rights of Albanians not only in Kosova, but also for those in other Albanian lands outside of Albania and Kosova proper. Here are some featured videos of his remarks on these issues over the years:
Joe DioGuardi & Sen. Joe Biden – The Road to Kosova’s Independence 01-01-1991 – 01-01-2002
DioGuardi: Winning Sen. Biden’s Support on Kosova Part 2 05-06-1998
DioGuardi: Winning Sen. Biden’s Support on Kosova Part 3 04-28-2002
DioGuardi: Winning Sen. Biden’s Support on Kosova Part 4 04-28-2002
Senator Joe Biden and Joe DioGuardi Preparing the Way for Kosova’s Independence 02-21-1991