Hill and Petritsch, who worked as the special envoys of the United States and the European Union respectively during attempts to stop the Kosovo conflict in the late 1990s, were honoured for their outstanding contributions to creating conditions for peace, justice, freedom and democracy and increasing opportunities for the development of education, science and academic freedoms in Kosovo.
The rector of Hasan Pristina University, Ibrahim Gashi, opened the ceremony.
“We were lucky to have you and your peoples as our friends during our worst, hardest time,” said Gashi.
Prime Minister Hashim Thaci praised the two former envoys for bringing together the Albanian political spectrum.
“Mr. Hill and Mr. Petritsch stood by Kosovo when Kosovo needed friends the most,” said Thaçi.
The two former envoys also addressed the gathering.
“Kosovo has changed a lot since the time when I was here. You cannot choose your neighbours, but you can live in peace with them,” said Hill.
“The European Union is facing many problems, but Kosovo is moving towards the EU,” said Petritsch.
Petritsch and Hill acted as mediators during the talks between Kosovo Albanians and the Yugoslav authorities at the Rambouillet Conference in 1999 before the NATO bombing campaign ended the conflict.
Petritsch, from Austria, is also a member of BIRN’s Regional Board.