Kosovo’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Vlora Çitaku?

Saturday, May 28, 2016
Vlora Çitaku

Vlora Çitaku, who has been in Kosovo’s government since the nation’s inception, became that country’s ambassador to the United States on August 20, 2015. It’s her first such posting.

 

Çitaku was born in 1980 in Prishtina, which is now Kosovo’s capital but was then part of Yugoslavia. Upon the breakup of Yugoslavia, Prishtina became part of Serbia. Çitaku’s parents, like many other ethnic Albanians, were forced out of their jobs by the government of Serbian president Slobodan Milošević.

 

At a young age, Çitaku became active in Kosovo’s fight for independence from Serbia. In 1998, she did public relations work for the verification mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. In addition, she worked as a journalist and as a translator for members of the media covering the Kosovo conflict. The following year, Çitaku was made chief of protocol and spokesperson for the Democratic Party of Kosovo. She also began her studies in the University of Prishtina’s school of philogy, finishing in 2002 and later earned a master’s degree in journalism from the Kosovo Institute for Journalism and Communications.

 

In 2007 she was elected to the first of two terms in the Kosovo assembly. That same year she became the country’s deputy foreign minister and helped create Kosovo’s diplomatic corps. She served as acting foreign minister beginning in 2009.

 

Çitaku was made Kosovo’s minister of European Integration in 2010 and worked on settling differences with Serbia, which did not recognize Kosovo’s sovereignty. In addition, Çitaku has worked throughout her career to improve women’s rights in her country and increase their role in government.

 

Despite her long governmental career, Çitaku is as likely to show up in her country’s gossip magazines as newspapers because of her striking appearance.

 

In 2014, she came to the United States to be Kosovo’s consul general in New York. There, she worked to get Kosovo membership in the United Nations.

 

Çitaku speaks Albanian, Serbian and English.

-Steve Straehley

 

To Learn More:

Official biography

Vlora Çitaku, Former Minister of European Integration, On Significance of EU and UN Membership For Kosovo and for Women (by Natalya Wallin, Chicago Policy Review)

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