WASHINGTON, D.C.— Ilir Ikonomi, team leader of VOA’s Albanian Service, has received the “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Union of Albanian Journalists, Albania’s most important journalistic organization. The award was presented to Ikonomi by Albania’s president, Bujar Nishani, in a ceremony held in Tirana on December 16.
Aleksander Çipa, head of the Union of Albanian Journalists, said Ikonomi was honored for his excellent journalistic work, which “sets him apart from his colleagues” in Albania.
In his remarks accepting the award, Ikonomi said, “I feel honored to receive the award and I share it with my VOA colleagues. It was at VOA that I really learned professional journalism.”
Ikonomi joined VOA’s Albanian Service in 1992. During his long and distinguished career, he has reported on domestic and international developments, including the war in Kosovo. He is also the author of two books on Albania. In 2013, Ikonomi was awarded the “Medal of Gratitude” by President Nishani for his book, Independence: The Unforgettable Journey of Ismail Kemal.
“Ilir Ikonomi is an exceptional journalist,” said Elez Biberaj, director of VOA’s Eurasia Division. “His dedication to high standards of objective and accurate journalism and his unwavering commitment to the dissemination of truth have earned him and VOA’s Albanian Service the faith and trust of our Albanian-speaking audiences throughout the Balkans.”
VOA Albanian broadcasts a daily 30-minute TV show and two daily 30-minute radio news programs.
According to a 2014 global audience estimate carried out by the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees VOA and other international broadcasters funded by the U.S. government, the service has a weekly audience of 49 percent in Albania and 58 percent in Kosovo. These percentages earn VOA Albanian the top two places in the BBG’s ranking of audience share by country.