The Albanian American Civic League is the only non-partisan, volunteer registered lobby in Washington, DC, representing the concerns of more than 750,000 Albanian Americans about the plight of seven million Albanians living side by side in the Balkans—in Albania, Kosova, Macedonia, Montenegro, the Presheva Valley (southern Serbia), andChameria (northern Greece). The Civic League was founded by former Congressman Joe DioGuardi in 1989, shortly after he left the U.S. House of Representatives, and a small group of Albanian Americans in response to the crisis triggered in the Balkans by former Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic’s invasion and occupation of Kosova. DioGuardi serves as the Civic League’s volunteer president. Shirley Cloyes DioGuardi—a writer, foreign policy analyst, human rights activist, and former book publisher who joined the organization in 1994—serves as its Balkan Affairs Adviser. They report to a board of Albanian Americans. Several thousand members in the United States contribute to the operating expenses of the Civic League, and several Albanians in the United States and abroad contribute their knowledge and expertise to program development.
The Civic League is registered to lobby the legislative and executive branches of the federal government for the purpose of influencing U.S. foreign policy to bring lasting peace and stability to the Balkans. For more than twenty years, the organization has worked with the foreign policy leaders in the U.S. Congress, including Congressmen Ben Gilman, the late Henry Hyde, the late Tom Lantos, Dana Rohrabacher, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Senators Charles Schumer and John McCain, and former Senators Joe Biden, Bob Dole, and Claiborne Pell, to bring independence to Kosova, equal rights to Albanians in Macedonia, Montenegro, the Presheva Valley, andChameria, and genuine democracy and economic development to Albania.
The Civic League has taken many US elected officials to Southeast Europe to experience first-hand the conditions under which Albanians live. These trips are conducted through its affiliated organization, the Albanian American Foundation, which is a charitable and educational nonprofit organization that is classified as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization under the Internal Revenue Code. The Foundation educates the U.S. government, the press, and the public about the history, culture, and contemporary conditions of Albanians in the Balkans. A major part of its program has been devoted to educating the public, the press, and the parliaments of the world about the unique role that Albanians played in rescuing every Jew who either lived in Albania or sought asylum there during the Nazi Holocaust.
Hon. Joseph J. DioGuardi
Balkan Affairs Adviser
Shirley A. Cloyes