Ekrem Bardha (born 13 May 1933) is an Albanian American businessman, leader of the Albanian National Front in Michigan (Balli Kombëtar), co-founder of the National Albanian American Council (NAAC), and former owner of Illyria Newspaper. He is currently serving as Albania's Honorary Consul in Michigan and is regarded as one of the most successful Albanians in America.
Bardha was born in the southern village of Radanj in Kolonjë District, Albania. Having escaped from the strict Albanian communist regime in 1953, after one of his brothers was jailed for political reasons, he settled in Detroit and went into the restaurant business. He eventually became the owner of 18 McDonald's fast-food franchises, which grossed over $25 million a year.
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Bardha, with congressman William Broomfield and others, contributed to the saving of arrested political activist Pjeter Ivezaj in Montenegro and was the reason the US threatened Yugoslavias favored nation status if Ivezaj was not released. Congressman Broomfield and Bardha testified before a congressional human rights committee regarding human rights abuses in Serbia against ethnic Albanians. Bardha has a lifetime as a human rights activist and has met with eight of U.S. Presidents for the Albanian/Kosovo cause. President Nixon assured him in his own handwriting after a meeting that he will refuse the Greek ambitions in Albania at any cost. Bardha also met with President Bill Clinton before the bombing of Serbia by NATO and was assured that Kosovo will be freed from Serbian oppression.
- "Illyria – The true voice of the Albanians in America". Archived from the original on 27 May 2010. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
Seven years later, Ekrem Bardha, another activist and businessman, became the owner of the newspaper.
- "Consular and Other Offices: The Embassy of the Republic of Albania". embassy.org. Stapleton-Gray & Associates, Inc. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
- "Ekrem Bardha biznesmen në Amerikë" (in Albanian). BBC. 21 May 2008. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
- "Golden Arches to Rise in Tiranë". 29 September 1995. Retrieved 5 July 2010.
Bardha, the owner of McDonald's restaurants in the Detroit area, wants to see the Golden Arches tower over Tiranë as well.
- The Albanians
- "The Albanians", An Ethnic History from Prehistoric Times to the Present, Edwin E. Jacques