"Honoris Causa" to Jacques Attali - Tirana University -  april 2015

When I was preparing for this ceremony organized in such premises, I felt a hint of nostalgia. It was the nostalgia of the years we sat in these auditoriums and were taught the rationale of the profession and where we returned again and again to take the exams that certified the acquired knowledge. Back then, we dreamt sometimes of the chance to talk directly to a foreign author in the language we had learned, listening to them from the silent distance between us and the pages of the few books that were allowed. We often dreamt of having in our hands even one single impossible book from the shelves of those books students from the countries of open societies could read. The boldest among us had dreams of traveling across the border, but never in their wildest dreams did anyone of those whose dear portraits I see in front of me would have ever fathomed that, one day, in this auditorium, we would have with us such an exceptional author and complex personality of the free world, like Jacque Attali.

I could certainly go on for hours with the list of things we could not even conceive at the time, adding that it would have never crossed my mind that not only Attali would come to our university, but, even more so, that I would have the honour of giving this speech.

As our special guest today, Jacque Attali, states, an intellectual, an author and academic must not allow himself or herself to be synthesized in a quote. Actually, as an attentive reader of his work, I could affirm that not only has he not allowed himself to be reduced to a quote, but he has even made it impossible, at least for me, to make a synthesis in one speech of who he is and how wide the range of his intellectual interests is. Therefore, dear Jacque Attali, accept my apology in advance for the inevitable limitations to your multidimensional personality in this welcome address.

The combination of disciplines displayed in Attali’s activity is a clear indication that the economy is an environment of equations, statistics and charts as much as it is a subjective world of human sensitivities, of philosophy and politics. In these incredible interactive times, where the world has increasingly become a global village, the economy, politics, sociology, education, culture and religion are part of an inseparable increasingly integrated entity.

While it is impossible to address exhaustively such a complex and incredible activity, I wish to single out three particularly meaningful approaches in the context of the common challenges that contemporary societies, including Albania, are faced with.

The first is related to the notion of the positive economy that refers to a long-term economic outlook which shapes the immediate and mid-term options and solutions.

This is a vision that serves next generations with clear goals, as the safest resource for States and nations to come out of the modern crossroads.

With respect to such crossroads, there are two other notions that are clearly strong signals of hopeful prospects: entrepreneurship and respect.

The entrepreneurship viewed through Jacque Attali strongly sounds as the courage of each and every one to create their solutions, to build personal success strategies by a smart use of assets, without waiting for the solution to come from the politics, State, family, school or any other external actor beyond oneself.

Jacque Attali invites us to understand this type of undertaking as the active citizenship that is driven by cultural and social sensitivities, as much as by the economic success that draws on creativity and the existing opportunities, whatever they may be.

The respect, which Attali uses in reference to international relations, resonates as a guiding value in the fight of every society against all types of discrimination, to ensure equal opportunities and drive the social and governmental action to establish and foster a continuous social and cultural dialogue among various groups and categories.

I am talking about the respect for diversity, for the experience, contributions, sensitivities, ambitions and, above all, for the man and the humane that deserves unconditional respect without distinction on grounds of nationality, culture, origin or economic and social status.

Obviously, I am aware of the risk that while elaborating on Attali’s complex thinking, one could easily fall into a chaos of opinions, so allow me to overcome such difficulty through a simple confession.

The instinct of the economist in me does not supersede that of the mother or of the woman engaged in research and the study of the current public interest.

That is why, when writing this modest speech on Attali, I felt the joy of these three instincts coming together as an inseparable whole. At the end of the day, the best thing that happens when one reads Attali is that there is hope and inspiration to live, regardless of the frequently sombre complexities of the world he describes.

I would like to wrap up my speech not with a conclusion, but rather a long question for Jacque Attali:

“How are the hours, days, weeks and years enough to write so much and in such an exceptional manner;

to be a world-renowned personality, both in politics and the academia;

to love the country and contribute to it; to love music and contribute to it;

to love people and work against poverty, while equally fighting for everyone to be themselves, as on can read in Devenir Soi?”

I do not know how one can achieve that, how one can win the fight against time, but I certainly know that it is my great pleasure and pride that this man is today Doctor Honoris Causa of a such reputable University in our country. I am sure that, from today, this country will have a special friend and well-wisher in this exceptional man of extraordinary stature.

Thank you!


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