Albanian President Bamir Topi has awarded his country’s Presidential “Medal of Gratitude” to Elez Biberaj, the Director of Voice of America’s Eurasia Division and former head of the VOA Albanian Service.
Dr. Biberaj was recognized for his contribution to the democratization of Albania and the strengthening of U.S.-Albania relations. President Topi presented the award in New York on May 17th.
“It is with a great deal of humility that I accept this award,” Biberaj said. “This award is also a tribute to the Albanian Service and the VOA as a whole.”
In a message of congratulations, VOA Director David Ensor said, “Elez Biberaj is a distinguished son of Albania, and I am delighted to hear of this recognition for one of our top people at VOA.”
Dr. Biberaj has been Director of VOA’s Eurasia Division since 2005. He joined VOA in 1980 as an international radio broadcaster in the Albanian Service. From 1982 to 1986, he worked at the former U.S. Information Agency, specializing in Soviet and East European Affairs. He returned to VOA as Albanian Service Chief in 1986, and, for the next 18 years helped transform the Service into one of VOA’s most successful broadcasting units.
Dr. Biberaj, whose parents fled communist Albania in 1951, says he remembers human rights and democracy being subjects of dinner table discussion from an early age, and he has been intrigued by Albanian history and politics ever since.
He has a Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University. He has authored three books on Albanian affairs and contributed chapters to several others. He has also published articles in Encyclopedia Britannica, Conflict Studies, Problems of Communism, Survey, The World Today, East European Quarterly, The Wall Street Journal/Europe, and other journals.