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Zoom In: Dr. Edita Tahiri - Former Minister for Dialogue of the Republic of Kosova

Dr. Edita Tahiri is Former Minister for Dialogue of the Republic of Kosova.  Previously, she was Deputy Prime Minister in charge of foreign affairs and national security and Minister of Public Administration. She was Chief Negotiator at the EU facilitated dialogue between the Republic of Kosovo and Republic Serbia since its beginning in 2011 until 2017. She is President of the reformist party Democratic Alternative of Kosovo (ADK) and Chair of Regional Women’s Lobby in Southeastern Europe (RWLSEE).

She is a prominent leader of independence of Kosova and has long standing career as a leader, politician, diplomat and peace negotiator. She was one of the founders and key leaders of the movement for Kosovo’s independence, the Democratic League of Kosovo, in the years 1991-1999. She was the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Republic of Kosovo (1991-2000) and is particularly well known in foreign affairs and for her great contribution to internationalizing the question of Kosovo and Albanians. She was peace negotiator at the Rambouillet Peace Conference (1999) where she gave an extraordinary contribution to achieving the Rambouillet Agreement, which led to US and NATO intervention in Kosovo in 1999 and opened up the path to Kosovo’s independence. She was also a peace negotiator in earlier phases, in pre-Rambouillet negotiations and London Peace Conference on disintegration of former Yugoslavia in 1992.

Edita Tahiri is a Harvard University Graduate, and she holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School for Government in 2002. She also graduated in the Edward S. Mason program for Public Policy and Management, 2002. During her studies at Harvard University, she was taught by the famous American professor and dean of the John F. Kennedy School Professor Joseph S. Nye was her tutor. For her academic achievements, she was awarded the title “Outstanding student of 2002” by the John Kennedy School of Government Public Service Fellowship and an “Edward S. Mason Appreciation for an Extraordinary Contribution.”

She holds a doctoral degree in political sciences from Prishtina University in cooperation with Johns Hopkins University –SAIS, in 2011. Her doctoral thesis focuses on postwar international statebuilding with special focus on the case study of Kosovo, under a mentorship of well-known American professors I. William Zartman and Alan Kuperman. She was also a Fulbright Scholar in the years, 2006/2007 at the Johns Hopkins University - SAIS University where she did doctoral studies in the Program for Conflict Resolution.

Edita Tahiri’s leadership was demonstrated in the senior political and state responsibilities which she held during the hard times of Kosovo’s occupation, a period when Albanians experienced a brutal repression including genocide, under Serbia. With her political philosophy of freedom, democracy and self-determination, she was committed to ensuring that genocide would never occur against her people. As well as being Minister of Foreign Affairs, she also held other positions such as: Member of the Presidency of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) from 1991-1998; Secretary for External Relations in LDK (1991-1998), Deputy of the Kosovo Assembly (1992-2000; 2001-2004), Special Emissary for President Rugova, Head of the Commission for Foreign Affairs in the Kosovo Assembly (1998-2000) and many other positions. She was the spiritual leader of the Women’s Forum in LDK and coordinator of the Presidency of LDK (1991-1998) and also was responsible for founding the Kosovo Centre for International Studies (1994).

As Foreign Minister of an occupied and unknown country like Kosova, Edita Tahiri over ten years of hard work managed to make the Kosovo question and the unresolved Albanian question well-known amongst senior world circles and to secure the support of the international community for the right to self-determination and Kosovo’s independence. In meetings with senior officials and statesmen, including the American Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, NATO Chief, General Wesley Clark, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine and many other international personalities, she was very successful in presenting the national cause to world diplomats.

Edita Tahiri is a distinguished negotiator and participated in all phases of negotiations up to NATO intervention in 1999, including the Rambouillet Conference (1999), the London Conference (1992), and pre Rambouillet negotiations 1998, as part of the G15 and G5 negotiation teams. Educated and trained for negotiations in world class universities and being a protagonist of the complicated processes of the dissolution of Yugoslavia, her expertise is a valuable resource for the resolution of conflicts. In addition, she is well informed about the field of security and has a diploma from the College of International and Security Studies, at the George Marshall Centre in Germany, 2003.

She has participated in many world conferences, including the Fourth World Women’s Conference in Peking 1995; the World Food Summit in Rome 1996; the World Habitat Conference in Istanbul 1996; the First World Conference on Globalization in Santiago de Compostella, in Spain, 1997; sessions of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe 1996, 1997 and 1998; the NATO Parliamentary Assembly 1998; OSCE Ambassadors meeting in Vienna 1998; the Lansdowne Conference 1999; the Airlie Conference 2000 and 2002; the International Conference on the Transfer of Peoples, Tallinn, Estonia, January 1992, etc.

After the end of the war in Kosovo, she was committed to democratic reforms in her political party (LDK) and in her country Kosovo. After 5 years of her reformist efforts which, by realizing lack of political will in her party, she left to create a new reformist political party, the Kosovo Democratic Alternative (ADK) in May 2004, together with other like-minded reformists. Edita Tahiri has been the President of the Kosovo Democratic Alternative (ADK) since its founding. Since 2007, ADK became a parliamentary party and is in coalition with the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) and since 2010 is part of the Government.

She has been continually and particularly committed to empowering women as part of her political activity. She is the leader of the Regional Women’s Lobby (RWLSEE) which she and other female political leaders in the region formed in 2006. Her academic profile is based on studies of political and technical sciences at the most prestigious universities in the world.

Before engaging in politics and political science, she studied telecommunications and electronics. In 1980 she graduated from the University of Prishtina as an electrical and telecommunications engineer and is the author of the book, “Electronics.” In 1983 she did post-graduate studies in digital telecommunications at Essex University in Great Britain.

She lectures and writes on political issues, international relations and especially about Kosovo and the Balkans region. Some of her publications are: “Rambouillet Conference: Negotiation process and documents”, Dukagjini, Peja, 2001; “Kosovo and Albanians outside Albania”, Aspen Institute, Berlin, 1997; “Kosova: National Report”, presented at the world women’s conference in Peking, 1995; “Kosova: A hungry future”, presented at the World Food Summit in Rome 1997; Kosovo’s independence: Factor of Stability for South Eastern Europe, Albanians in the Balkans, Albanian Institute for International Studies, Tirana, 2001; Kosovo’s independence – contribution to regional stability, National Defense Academy, Vienna, 2002 as well as a number of other articles and essays.

For her professional work she has received many appreciations, awards, titles and international honorary memberships, including being an honorary member of the town of Little Rock, USA (1993), honorary Commissioner of Tennessee District Council, USA (1993), Member of the International Consortium of the Defense Academy and Institute for Security Studies, 2001, Member of the Political Commission, Transatlantic Institute, Brussels, 2005. She was the co-founder and member of the executive board of the Organization of Nations and Unrepresented Peoples with its headquarters at The Hague, (1992). She was a lecturer in international relations and conflict resolution in several universities in Kosovo and a guest lecturer in universities abroad. She has participated in and given speeches at many international conferences and has given many interviews to world media, including CNN, BBC, Euro news, Reuters, AP, etc.

She speaks fluently foreign languages: English, Turkish, Serbian, and Croatian.

She was born on 29th July 1956 in Prizren. She lives and works in Prishtina.


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