Albanian president visiting Boston
Posted by franksupa on September 25, 2008
QUINCY — September 25 2008
Although Quincy is the City of Presidents, it’s not every day that it hosts a head of state.
On Saturday, Albanian President Bamir Topi will be at the Alba Restaurant on Hancock Street to have lunch and meet about 200 guests.
Restaurant owner Leo Keka, who emigrated from Albania in 1990, said when he heard the president wanted to visit his restaurant, he started researching the president’s political viewpoints and background.
“This guy is a very interesting president. I don’t think I’d host any other (Albanian) president here,” Keka said.
“Most of them are very bad, but (Topi)’s actually a good guy. …He’s really Westernized, which means a lot to us, because we grew up in a dictatorship.”
President Topi is in Massachusetts for the 100th anniversary of the Albanian Orthodox Church in South Boston. While he is in the area, he is visiting several local Albanian-owned businesses, including Anthony’s Pier 4 in Boston.
Keka said he has invited about 200 guests Saturday, both Albanians and non-Albanians, who have supported his efforts to raise money for Albanian causes.
In May, Keka held an event in his restaurant to raise $25,000 for five children from Kosovo who were badly burned in a propane tank explosion.
He said he is most excited to have President Topi recognize the hard work several of his friends have done to help Albanians.
“I try not to forget where my roots are. We never forget where we come from. I love to say, ‘Hey, I’m Albanian.’”
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