Religious harmony is highly valued in Albania and in a recent visit I had the opportunity to experience that first hand. One of the missions for the EUCOM Chaplains is to engage senior military leaders, chaplains, and local national religious leaders to assist in the development of professional chaplaincies of militaries in the AOR to support International Military Partnership in the areas of good governance, human dignity, and religious freedom. The recent visit to Albania, coordinated through the US Defense Attaché and Office of Defense Cooperation, allowed us to engage both Senior Military leaders (Chief of Defense) and provided training to their psychologist in the topics of suicide prevention, operational stress and return & reunion briefs.
A highlight of the visit was a luncheon hosted by Mr. Alexander Arvizu, the US Ambassador to Albania, with the key religious leaders to of the Inter-religious Council of Albania to expand our Interfaith dialogue on faith issues, religious freedom and chaplaincy development. The members of the council were very interested and supported of a chaplaincy. This event was preceded by a visit to the State Committee on Cults of the Republic of Albania in which we discuss the need to support provide religious support to those in the military through a chaplaincy.
This was a very engaging and productive week in which the dimension of spiritual support and pastoral care for those in their Armed Forces was a prominent concern for both military and religious leaders.