On Thursday, January 26, 2023, prominent singer, producer, actor, and TV host Klevis Bega aka Kastro Zizo was honored with the Mayoral Certificate of Recognition by the honorable New York City Mayor, Eric Adams. The mayoral award encourages excellence in artistic pursuits and community service and recognizes distinguished artists and community leaders who have made significant lifelong contributions, enriching our communities.
The award recognizes Kastro Zizo for his outstanding achievement in Arts and Entertainment in his more than 25 years of professional career in music and TV. Zizo gained national acclaim in Albania, creating art that is significant in the history of urban rock. The artist chose to make his career in Tirana and New York, making both cities a more culturally rich place.
The award certificate states: “The City of New York certificate of Recognition presented to Klevis Bega for your accomplishments as a singer, songwriter, and actor known professionally as Kastro Zizo. You have engaged and inspired people in your native Albania, its diaspora, and beyond, I am pleased to join the Albanian Roots Club of Brooklyn’s St. Francis College in applauding your work as a gifted performing artist and your contributions to New York City’s vibrant Albanian American community. Together we wish you continued success as we unite to #GETSTUFDONE and forge a brighter, more harmonious, and prosperous future for all. – Eric Adams, Mayor, January 26, 2023, New York.”
The award was presented to Klevis Bega (Kastro Zizo) by Mr. Maliek Sterrett, Director of Multicultural Affairs during the “Unlimited Edition” lecture series held at St. Francis College on January 26, 2023, where Zizo was invited as the special guest speaker.
“On behalf of St Francis College Office of Multicultural Affairs, it is an honor and privilege to present this mayoral award to Kastro Zizo. Thank you for taking this time to pour into our students, staff, and guest to give them the inspiration to pursue all that their hearts desire. Cheering you on as you continue to be the difference needed to really make an impact in the world,” stated Maliek Sterrett, Director of Multicultural Student Affairs at St. Francis College.
“I am honored to have received such an important award from New York City Mayor Eric Adams, The Mayoral Certificate of Recognition. I am earnestly grateful for the recognition I have received for my work, and I am committed to bring about positive change through art, “artivism”, and cultural diplomacy to bridge Albania and United States of America,” stated the well-known artist Kastro Zizo.
“This award is very meaningful to me as it marks my 25+ years of professional career in arts and TV and commemorates my non-profit work in youth advocacy through “My future, My Present.” I would like to thank the honorable Mayor Adams for the recognition. It’s a great honor for me to receive this special award. I would like to express heartful thanks to NY St. Francis College (SFC), Maliek Sterrett, and the Albanian Roots Club of SFC for the support,” added the award-winning artist, Kastro Zizo.
The recognition certificate from the Office of the Mayor of New York City came shortly after another historic award for Kastro Zizo. In December 2022, the artist was honored by the United States Congress and named Artist of the Year 2022 in Washington DC for his artistic achievements and contributions through the work of “My future, my present!” NGO.
Kastro Zizo uses local Albanian art to create international connections. Zizo created a new original concept which he calls “artivism” – making a difference through art. Zizo’s efforts to advocate for artistic freedom and expression, to transform art history, and to empower youth in Albania to pursue their dreams, have influenced generations of artists, creative thinkers, and leaders. Furthermore, Kastro Zizo has helped raise awareness on cultural diversity, by promoting Albanian cultural heritage in United States and stimulating US-Albanian cultural and artistic relations.
“Artivism can be a powerful tool for our society to bring positive social change. By engaging people and encouraging their interaction through artistic and cultural expression, we can transform society for the better. I am proud that “My future, my present” NGO has given our youth a voice and a chance to pursue their dreams. I want our youth to feel empowered, valued, and they matter,” said Kastro Zizo, President of “My present, my future” non-profit organization.
To stay up to date, follow the official page of @kastro_zizo_ and learn about the activities of the NGO @imeeardhmja.
By Karen White, New York