Bronx, NY – On Tuesday, November 28th, Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson was joined by New York State Senator Nathalia Fernandez and the first elected Albanian to hold office in New York City and State, The Honorable Mark Gjonaj, in celebration of the 111th Anniversary of Albania’s Independence that included the raising of the Albanian flag outside Borough Hall at the corner of 158th Street and the Grand Concourse. With New York City home to more than 100,000 Albanians according to the Albanian American Society Foundation, a significant number hail from the Bronx’s Pelham Parkway and Bedford Park communities.

The Bronx-born honorees this year are Chair of the Judicial Screening Committee for the Bronx Democratic Party, Nick Gjelaj; Program Manager for the Legislative Department of the New York City Council, Vera Mjeku; and recently elected Judge of the Civil Court of the City of New York Edit Shkreli.

Also in attendance was the Ambassador of the Republic of Albania to the United States, Ervin Bushati, who received a Proclamation from Borough President Gibson announcing November 28th, 2023, “Albanian Independence Day in the Bronx”. Albanian model, philanthropist, and founder of Emina’s Hand Foundation, Emina Cunmulaj was also recognized. Serving as emcee of the event was Community Coordinator at Bronx Community Board 8, Ardhmir “Ardy” Malziu.