Young Heroes of Kosovo

Young Heroes of Kosovo

By Vlora Çitaku

Security Council Meeting STATEMENT By H.E. Ms. Vlora Çitaku, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Embassy of the Republic of Kosovo in the United States Washington, DC

My presence here today is not a sign of crisis but of confidence. While the long shadows of the war continue to chase us, we meet here today in an atmosphere of rising hope. On October 6th, Kosovo successfully organized the 4th parliamentary elections since the declaration of its independence.

These elections where not extraordinary only in origination. Indeed, they were special in many ways. For the first time in our history, a new generation of citizens, children who were born in freedom and raised in an independent country, Kosovars who did not know war, had a chance to cast their ballot and elect their future representatives.

20 years ago, 18-year-old Kosovars were refugees, subjects of the most brutal of ethnic cleansing campaigns. Today, 18-year old Kosovars are proud citizens of Kosovo and agents of change.

In our lifetime we have had to grapple with moments of great crisis. Our lives have been marked with debate about monumental issues, issues of war and peace, issues of prosperity and depression. But while we talk here today about the past, young Kosovars are writing the future.

They do not have time for pointless debates. They are out there, working hard, often against the odds, challenging the status quo and raising the bar for all of us. Kosovar children are growing up with new heroes.

Heroes like Majlinda Kelmendi, who has raised our flag on the highest pedestal and continues to bring home an endless stream of golden medals. Because of Majlinda, Nora, and Distria, the phrase “you fight like a girl” has acquired an entirely different meaning in Kosovo.

We are overjoyed with the international success of our fantastic soccer team. Imagine, 20 years ago, English soldiers came to Kosovo, just like saints marching in, to liberate our country. This November, we are hosting Englishmen again, this time for a soccer match, and hopefully beating them in the euro qualifiers.

We are driven and defined by the expectations of our youth. Just last week, Open Data Kosovo published a report which shows that the number of IT companies in Kosovo has increased by no less than 187% during the last 10 years. This should come as no surprise, given the quality of our workforce, the high skilled youth who are eager to learn and be competitive in the global market.

We are emboldened by the grit of our free media. Only days ago, three Kosovar journalist, all of whom happen to be women, were awarded by the European Union for their investigative journalism and their work in exposing and combating corruption and crime.

We are inspired by Fahrije Hoti, and the brave women of Krusha, who used the recuperative power of freedom to turn misfortune into hope and strength. After suffering so much loss, these women rebuilt an entire village from the ashes of war. When confronted with tragedy, resilience was their only answer.

These are the new heroes of our young republic. They represent the best of us. They will break the cycle of fragility and violence. They will write the next chapter of our history. It is because of them, that I am chronically hopeful for the future of my country./ibna