March 7, 2016: American Albanian Schools 1891–1933

On March 7–12, 2016, the Institute for Albanian & Protestant Studies joined the the Nationwide Center of Albanian Collectionists for an exhibit at Albania’s National History Museum, focused on five schools with American and Albanian co-involvement. The expo was assisted by the Albanian Central State Archive and the private business, Bijoutiful Jewelry. The event was launched with a ceremony including a children’s choir and brief speeches by director of the Museum, Melsi Labi, the director of the IAPS, David Hosaflook, and the director of the Center of Albanian Collectionists, Shpëtim Sala. The exhibit was split into six sectors:

Sector 1: The preparatory work of Protestant missionary societies. Beginning in 1816, the British and Foreign Bible Society and later the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions worked energetically for the translation of the Bible into Albanian, the publication of grammar books and the advancement of education.

Sector 2: The Korça Girls’ School, 1891–1914. The Girls’ School was founded by Gerasim Kyrias together with his sister Sevasti in Korça in 1891. Other distinguished teachers in this school were: Parashqevi Kyrias, Thanas Sina, Grigor Cilka, Phineas and Violet Kennedy, etc.

Sector 3: Technical School in Tirana, 1921–1933. The Technical School was started in Tirana by the Red Cross of American Youth in 1921. For eleven years the director of the school was Harry Fultz.

Sector 4: The “Kyrias” Institute, 1922–1933. The Kyrias Institute was established in Kodër Kamëz by Kristo Dako, Sevasti Kyrias-Dako     and Parashqevi Kyrias. The institute was a continuation of the Girls’ School in Korça.

Sector 5: “Kennedy” Elementary School, 1925–1933. The “Kennedy” Elementary School (grades 1-6) was established in Korça in 1925 by American missionaries Phineas and Violet Kennedy.

Sector 6: Albanian-American Agricultural Institute, 1926-1933. The Albanian-American Agricultural Institute was founded in Kavaja with the initiative and will of American missionary Charles Telford Erickson (1867–1966).

We were thrilled to see visitors from all around the world, and from all ages, including Albanian children and elderly Albanians who had attended the schools personally or whose parents had attended.