Albanian Heritage Honorees

White Plains, NY — The Westchester County Board of Legislators recognized its first Albanian Heritage Month on Monday, October 8 with a special ceremony and video presentation honoring children’s health advocate Albana Krasniqi of Yonkers, and prominent surgeon and telemedicine innovator, Dr. Rifat Latifi of Somers. 

In his opening remarks, Chairman Ben Boykin (D – White Plains, Scarsdale, Harrison) said, “In proclaiming November as Albanian Heritage Month in Westchester County, we salute and recognize the meaningful contributions and exemplary citizenship Albanian-Americans have displayed in all walks of life – in politics, business, law enforcement, education, medicine, the arts and much more.”

“The Albanians are a singular people – strong, determined and independent. Their country has endured much turmoil and adversity, but yet they always move forward with their eye to a better future. Their value of hard work, integrity, family, and loyalty has served them well, both in their homeland and here in America, and their hands stretch across an ocean to help those in need in both communities.”

“Tonight we have the opportunity to recognize two remarkable individuals, Albana Krasniqi and Dr. Rifat Latifi. Each of them, in their own way, have dedicated extraordinary efforts to the health and wellbeing of those without access or resources for medical care, and have saved precious lives in the process.”

Legislator David J. Tubiolo (D – Yonkers, Mount Vernon) presented the first proclamation, “As County Legislator for Yonkers and Mount Vernon, I am proud to be representing the highest concentration of Albanians in Westchester County … today is a very special day and we are honoring a very special person, Albana Krasniqi, who grew up in Pristina, came to America to get her education and then came back to help the community that made her.”

Ms. Krasniqi thanked Tubiolo and the entire Board, “It is an honor to be among other successful and distinguished Albanian Americans who are being recognized for their contributions as we celebrate Albanian Heritage Month…I would also like to thank the Albanian American community for supporting my work with Gift of Life International. Your many generous donations helped to save the lives of over 200 children from Kosova.”

Watch the virtual presentation to Albana Krasniqi here:

Legislator Vedat Gashi (D – New Castle, Somers, Yorktown) presented the second proclamation to Dr. Rifat Latifi. He said, “When I was elected, I became the first Albanian-American to serve on the Board of Legislators, and while I am a proud American, I will never forget my Albanian roots … I have immense pride in taking part in the Board’s first celebration of Albanian-American Heritage Month …we have stars throughout the world in Albania, but we have a super star here in Westchester County, Dr. Rifat Latifi, who has an amazing record of accomplishment as a surgeon, author and telemedicine innovator…. Dr. Latifi, thank you so much for all you have done. I am honored to be presenting this award.”

Latifi responded by saying, “Thank you for honoring me on the occasion of celebration of the month of Albanian Heritage. I am humbled and touched by your generosity and honor. Today I come to accept this honor as recognition that belongs to my family, friends, my partners and many collaborators from around the world, but particularly those in Kosova and Albania for the past work, but more importantly as an impetus and further inspiration to continue the work that we started more than 20 years ago.”

Watch the virtual presentation to Dr. Rifat Latifi here:

Read the program for Monday night’s event here:

PICTURED ABOVE L to R: Leg. David Tubiolo, Albana Krasniqi, Leg. Vedat Gashi, Dr. Rifat Latifi