Who’s Donika Gërvalla? Kosovo’s new Minister of Foreign Affairs faces daunting challenges ahead
“My life experience has taught me that freedom and democracy are those which one should never stop battling for”, these are the words used by Donika Gërvalla in her address to the people of Kosovo on the day she was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs.
She was eight years old when she was forced to leave her home. In 1980, after her father fled the country to escape Yugoslav police detention because of patriotic activities, together with her family they ran away to Germany.
Two years after, her father and uncle were murdered, and her family relocated to Tirana.
Brought up in a household that was passionate about music and staunch human rights fighter, Gërvalla participated in the student protests, and in 1991 she joined the hunger strike that led to the overthrow of the communist regime in Albania.
In June 1992, she began her studies in Germany and continue to be a loud voice for Kosovo’s freedom and independence.
In 1991, she became an honorary member of the Democratic League of Kosovo, and in 2017 she became came to lead the party’s branch in Germany.
Donika Gërvalla is now making a comeback in Kosovo’s political arena as a representative of “Iniciative”, Vjosa Osmani’s political party, and will have a difficult challenge ahead.
As Kosovo’s new foreign affairs minister, she faces several important matters, mainly a long-running dialogue with Serbia.
Also, Kosovo is still not recognized by 5 EU states and faced a grilling by the bloc over the decision to open its new embassy in Jerusalem, in exchange for Israel’s recognition.
Citing Gërvalla, life experience has taught her to “not be silent and not stop trying”.
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