Tuesday 6 July 2021, Ohrid
Address of President Xhaferi at the Balkan Festival of Folk Songs and Dances 2021
Distinguished Minister of Culture, Ms. Irena Stefoska,
Distinguished Mayor of Ohrid, Mr. Konstantin Georgievski,
Distinguished director of the National Institution, Culture Center “Grigor Prlicev”, Mr. Goran Simonoski,
Ladies and gentlemen, admirers of folk music and dance,
It is a pleasure for me to be able to express my sincere joy for being here tonight, in this beautiful city, once again, since last week I was part of the Prespa Forum Dialogue which also took place in Ohrid. On this occasion, allow me to welcome you on my behalf and on behalf of the MPs of the Assembly of the Republic of North Macedonia, your home and proud sponsor of the oldest international festival of its kind in the Balkans. The Balkan Festival of Folk Songs and Dances, which tonight, to the great joy of all fans marks its jubilee, the 60th edition since it was first held back in 1962.
On that behalf, I would like to first congratulate the National Institution, Culture Center “Gligor Prlicev”, the director and the whole team for the continuity, commitment, care and love they invest in keeping alive this wonderful event, in holding folklore, ethnological, traditional, customs, cultural, and above all, friendly ties with all countries in the immediate and distant neighborhood of the Balkans, whose folklore representatives will parade these days on the cobblestones of ancient Ohrid, whose dances and songs will resonate from this magnificent and unique scene of Dolni Saraj, and will break the lake silence by transmitting the beautiful sounds all over the world. It is just another way of establishing cooperation, sharing the cultural heritage of the nations, expressing respect for one’s own and for the other. Here, through the interweaving of historical stories representing every ensemble, each song and dance, we meet, understand, express respect and in a kind, unobtrusive and soul-pleasing way we reject all prejudices and skepticisms which are unknown and foreign to us.
The celebration of art and artistic expression is the most beautiful way of diplomacy and promotion of each state, nation and the unquestionable truth is that each country, each nation, each artist – individual has something to offer, show and thus attract our attention and deserve our respect. Therefore, the Assembly of the Republic of North Macedonia, as the representative house of all citizens of our beautiful country who are of different ethnic backgrounds, has great respect for this event which allows affirmation and promotion of the different cultural heritages of the peoples of the Balkans and beyond. To narrate the history and promote cultural characteristics through music, songs and dances is a great dexterity and it is a great honor for us to be sponsor of such a traditional cultural event. I encourage you in the future also to continue preserving and promoting this festival and the legislature will be by your side in order together to instill the love for folk songs and dances in the young generations, for the feeling of pride and satisfaction from the uniqueness of ours to contribute to their tolerance and expression of respect for diversity.
Therefore, I would like to express respect and gratitude to all participants of this festival for the universal message of acceptance of diversity which they convey through songs and dances. Certainly, I wish them an unforgettable stay in the pearl of the Balkans – the beautiful Ohrid and with these wishes, dear artists, dear guests, I declare the 60-th Balkan Festival of Folk Songs and Dances open.
Thank you for the attention and have a nice evening.