Congratulations to Ilir Ikonomi, Team Leader of VOA’s Albanian Service who has been awarded the Medal of Gratitude by Albanian President Bujar Nishani.
Ilir was honored for his book, Independence: The Unforgettable Journey of Ismail Kemal. The book depicts the famous journey a century ago that took the founding father of Albania, Ismail Kemal, from Istanbul to his native country, then under Turkish domination, to proclaim independence.
Albania recently marked its 100th anniversary of independence. President Nishani said in the award ceremony that “the book of the well-known (VOA) journalist reveals previously unknown details about the life of the most distinguished personality of Albania’s Independence.”
Ilir was a sought after personality during his visit, getting invitations from 15 TV stations. All of them wanted to hear more about the book, which became a bestseller.