On Thursday, August 25th, Albanian-American youth of New York and New Jersey held a Ramadan Iftar dinner at Toros Turkish Restaurant in Clifton, NJ. The Iftar was organized by the Federation of Balkan American Associations (FEBA) and the Albanian Cultural Center of New York (ACC).
The Iftar dinner is the traditional breaking of the fast meal that Muslims take at sunset during the month of Ramadan, in which Muslims fast by abstaining from food, drink, and sensual pleasures from dawn to sunset. FEBA and ACC organized this Albanian Youth Iftar with the purpose of bringing together Albanian Muslim Youth from New York and New Jersey to interact and socialize together while also learning more about the goals and work of FEBA and ACC.
Shaban Gjoka of the Bronx, president of ACC, gave a presentation about the work of ACC and future planned events. Past events of ACC include the Eid and Independence Day celebration in the Bronx on November 2010 and the Kosova Independence Day celebration on February 2011.
Arben Istrefi, board member of the FEBA Business Council, gave a presentation about the goals and work of FEBA. Some of the major past events of FEBA include the Balkan Leaders Summit held every September in New York City on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly yearly meeting, and the US-Balkans Business Forum, held on September 2010 for the first time in New York City. Both these annual events are being planned for this upcoming September 22, at the Jacob Javits Convention Center under the slogan Road Map 2011.
The main new initiative presented during the presentation was FEBA Learning, a platform that will provide services for the local communities’ education needs. The services for each local community will include: SAT courses, Tutoring, Counseling Services etc. The fee for the SAT courses will be $160 per student for a 3-month session of weekend classes. Teachers are sought from the community for the different SAT subjects, they must be young members of the community and, if selected, will be compensated by $100/day for their contribution to this community project.
The young participants of the Iftar dinner presentation reacted with enthusiasm to the ideas presented. One young Albanian from Queens, Ergys Gjyrezi, who had also volunteered in last year’s Balkan Leaders Summit, said that he appreciated the event, not only from the religious point of view, but also for the fact that the Albanian youth community was given the opportunity to know more about the events of FEBA. “I hope that the event reached its goal of informing the Albanian youth community about the value of a Balkan American organization such as FEBA.”