The Albanian Journal -- January 02, 1922An Albanian College for Albania Next Summer Methodist Episcopal Church Extend Helping Hand to Shkipetars (Albanians) in Educational Endeavor
The Albanian government has appealed to the Methodist Episcopal Church of America to undertake the establishment of an American college in Albania. Bishop Blake answered the call of Albania and sent to that country Professor Elmer E. Jones, director of the School of Education of Northwestern University at Evanston, to investigate educational conditions and future possibilities.
Professor Jones spent three months in Albania last summer, visiting all the important cities and towns and studying the ancient traditions and the national customs of the Albanian people. He returned to Evanston a few weeks ago, and in his extensive report to the Board of Foreign Missions of the Methodist Episcopal Church of America strongly recommends the establishment of an American college in Albania.2
"The Albanians are eager for education," says Professor Jones," and anything American is cherished by them. I was royally welcomed by them everywhere, and the people showed great appreciation of my interest in their educational welfare. Officers of the government and mayors of various towns came out many miles to meet me and escort me to their respective towns. The people swarmed around me, and I was overwhelmed with the kindness shown me. The hospitality of the Shkipetars, as the Albanians call themselves, is beyond comparison. I sat at banquets with them from early evening till midnight almost everyday, and I had a very pleasant time with them.
"While in Tirana I had daily conferences with the leaders of the government. They were enthusiastic at my proposition and promised me every possible assistance in making the American college a success. The Albanian government is willing to offer suitable buildings for the college and will place at our disposal large tracts of land that we may need for agricultural experimental purposes. Albania is an undeveloped country but is very rich in resources. The land in the plains is very productive, and the mountains provide excellent 3pasture for the sheep and goats. Every family in the country keeps a certain number of sheep and goats, and there is a possibility of developing a wood industry.
"The enthusiasm of the Albanian children amazed me when I visited them in their schools. They amused me with their beautiful songs which they sang everywhere I went. But the condition of the schools in many towns is appalling and books are scarce. It seems to me as though Albania is clamoring for education with hands outstreched toward America, and I have promised the Albanians American assistance in their educational development.
"When the Albanian boys hear that we have a college at Valona they will climb the mountains and come to it. Education has been utterly neglected in Albania in the past, on account of the political animosity that has been prevalent in the Balkans, and Albanians who sought an education were compelled to study foreign languages, because their own language was prohibited by the Ottoman government, which ruled the country for four centuries, and was anathematized by the Greek Orthodox Church. Notwithstanding the Turkish government, the 4Greek clergy was a dominant force in the political affairs of Albania. Fortunately, both Turkey and Greece lost their political game in Albania, because since 1912 political authority has been in the hands of the Albanians themselves, who have proved their ability to run the government.
"The Christian Albanians just lately severed their allegiance to the Greek Church and declared the Albanian Church independent."
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