Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Anglo-Albanian Association / London

The Anglo-Albanian Association
by Peter Rennie

The Anglo-Albanian Association evolved from a committee first established in London in 1912 by Aubrey Herbert, diplomat, scholar and Member of Parliament, to champion Albania's right to independence, and an Anglo-Albanian society launched in 1918 whose president was Aubrey Herbert and whose secretary was Edith Durham, traveler, author and anthropologist.

After the First World War, it monitored events in The Balkans and was a primary channel through which information on developments in Albania was conveyed to both Government departments and to the general public.

After the Second World War, its special concern was with exiles from the communist dictatorship in Albania - men and women whose lives were, in many cases, at risk because of the support they had given to British military missions in wartime Albania.

Now called an Association, it provided for them a focus of hope in the process of adjusting to life in their host country.

Since the end of communism in 1991 and the advent of democracy, the Association has renewed links with Albania. Although it is not a registered Charitable organization, it acts as an unofficial point of liaison for individuals and organizations involved in aid work. Through its quarterly 24-page newsletter, DRITA (The Light), it provides a source of information on developments both in Albania and Kosova, news of humanitarian efforts, Anglo-Albanian events, articles of general, cultural and historic interest, and a means of keeping members in touch with one another. It sponsors seminars on Albanian questions which are organized by the Centre for South-East European Studies and the Nash Albanian programme at University College, London.

The Association holds an annual Flag Day (Dita e Flamurit) party in London on 28 November, Albania's National Day, and throughout the year luncheons are held at the Albanian restaurant, Koha, in London's West End.

About Colonel Aubrey Herbert

(1880-1923)

An influential Briton who espoused and publicized the Albanians' cause until his death. He was the brother of Lord Carnarvon, who financed the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamen, and the son of Lady Carnarvon who in his memory organized the British Albanian Relief Committee. The committee having aided refugees from Kosovo who had settled in a village near Kavaj√ę, that village was named Herbert.

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