Ismail Kadare’s Last Public Appearance: A Night of Elegance and Cultural Celebration

Ismail Kadare’s Last Public Appearance: A Night of Elegance and Cultural Celebration – Monaco Voice 

In a memorable final public appearance, celebrated writer Ismail Kadare graced the elegant Villa Bardha in Tirana, Albania’s capital, for a grand reception honoring French-Albanian friendships and cultural ties.

This chic event, organized by the prominent Albanian-American Donika Bardha, celebrated Albania’s cultural richness, its art, wines, and high-end tourism, while fostering international relationships. Since the end of Albania’s communist isolation, Donika has tirelessly promoted these aspects of Albanian life.

The evening’s significance was highlighted by speeches from notable figures such as Mirela Kumbaro, Albania’s Minister of Tourism and Environment; Catherine Suard, the French Ambassador to Albania; and Ekrem Bardha, the event’s sponsor and a former activist who escaped Albania’s dictatorship in his youth.

The star of the night, multiple-time Nobel Prize nominee and member of the Institute of France, Ismail Kadare, attended with his wife Helena. This was Kadare’s last public outing before his passing on July 1st. Also present was Julien Roche, Director of the French-Albanian Chamber of Commerce.

Guests enjoyed a lavish spread of traditional Albanian dishes, fine Bardha-label wines, lively music, and performances by the National Folkloric Ensemble. The night was steeped in fascinating historical anecdotes, including tales of Ali Pasha and Napoleon Bonaparte.

The guest list was a who’s who of international high society, featuring Marc Hostier, Prince Maximillian and Princess Constance De Merode, Count Melchior de Demondolx Dedons, Count Xavier de la Baume, Baron Leonard Decazes, Atika Zerhouni, Mie Park, Michel Teran, and the head of the OSCE presence in Albania. Attendees traveled from France, Monaco, Luxembourg, Belgium, Copenhagen, and the USA, with some belonging to prestigious families with summer homes on the Albanian coast.

Renowned French chef Valentin Neraudeau was flown in from Paris to add a touch of French culinary excellence to the evening’s menu.

Among the distinguished Albanian guests were Prince Leka II, Dr. Albana Shehaj from Harvard, Nora V. Weller from Cambridge University, members of historic Albanian families, diplomats, and Agim Zeqo, a prominent business figure now based in Monaco.

Donika Bardha remarked, “Building friendships and sharing Albania’s unique culture with the world is incredibly rewarding, just as introducing other cultures to Albania is. There’s so much to gain from our mutual exchange.”