Matters India reporter
London, Oct. 7, 2019: A Mother Teresa of Calcutta research scholar in the United Kingdom was honoured with a prestigious award from Albanian government in London on 2nd October 2019.
The Ambassador of Albania to the UK, His Excellency Qirjako Qirko, handed over the Albanian Nation’s Ambassador Award, bestowed by the Prime Minister of Albania Edi Rama and the Minister of State for Diaspora Pandeli Majko, to Mother Teresa author Dr Gëzim Alpion of the University of Birmingham.
Mother Teresa was born as Gonxhe Agnes Bojaxhiu to ethnic Albanian parents in Skopje, Macedonia, on August 26, 1910. At 18, she left home and joined the Sisters of Loreto in Ireland and arrived in India on 6 January 1929.
Ambassador Qirko told Matters India that the reasons for conferring the award include: “Professor Alpion’s 20 years of scholarly dedication to Mother Teresa’s life, work and legacy; his lobbying for the canonization of Mother Teresa from 2014 to 2016; and his ongoing lobbying for the construction of the Arbëri Highway, which will shorten considerably the distance between Skopje, Mother Teresa’s birthplace, and Tirana, and will benefit Albania, as well as Macedonia, Kosova and Bulgaria. Professor Alpion’s contribution in this respect is valued by the Government of Albania.”
The Ambassador added, “Alpion has always been constructive and professional throughout the lobbying campaign. Work has already started on the construction of the Arbëri Highway, which will be completed in a couple of years”.
Dr Alpion’s main academic publications on the saint of the gutters in Calcutta include Mother Teresa: Saint or Celebrity? (Routledge, 2007; Routledge India, 2008; Salerno Editrice, 2008), and Encounters with Civilizations: From Alexander the Great to Mother Teresa (Routledge, 2017). His eagerly awaited monograph Mother Teresa: The Saint and Her Nation will be published by Bloomsbury Academic in 2020.
An acclaimed academic, writer, playwright, journalist, and a media, political and culture analyst, Dr Alpion was educated at Cairo University and the University of Durham. He lectured at the Universities of Huddersfield, Sheffield Hallam, and Newman prior to joining the Department of Sociology at the University of Birmingham in 2002, the Department of Political Science and International Studies in 2010, and the Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology in 2016.
Alpion is considered ‘the most authoritative English-language author’ on Mother Teresa and the ‘founder of Mother Teresa Studies’. In recent years, he has delivered over 50 keynote addresses, talks and lectures at international conferences and renowned universities in 15 countries.