Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

President Atifete Jahjaga on Gender and Politics

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

5 p.m. – 6 p.m.

True North Classroom (101), Stephen Robert '62 Hall, 280 Brook Street

Atifete Jahjaga served as the fourth, and the first woman President of the Republic of Kosovo (2011 – 2016). Jahjaga is Kosovo’s first non-partisan candidate, the first female head of state in the modern Balkans, and the youngest female world leader to be elected to the highest office. Jahjaga constantly participates in national and international conferences and initiatives aimed at empowering women and supporting the survivors of sexual violence during the war. She continues to be resolute in her fight against violent extremism and radicalization and a staunch promoter of peace and stability for the Balkans and beyond.

During her presidency, Jahjaga worked diligently to bring women to the forefront of Kosovo’s political, economic, and social life as a means of ensuring a long-lasting democracy. In this context, in 2012, she hosted the International Women’s Summit "Partnership for Change—Empowering Women," which was attended by 200 leaders from Kosovo, the wider Europe, North America, Africa and the Middle East. The summit provided a venue for women from the region to cross ethnic barriers and come together to launch and promote a platform for their empowerment as women throughout the Balkans. The discussions led to the creation of the Pristina Principles which affirm the rights of women to political participation and representation, economic resources, and access to security and justice, and calls for actions to make these principles a reality. These principles were adopted as a resolution by the Kosovo Assembly.

Jahjaga is a member of the Council of Women World Leaders since 2012 and is recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Doctor Honoris Causa from the University of Durham (2013), the Leadership in Public Service Award from the Clinton Global Initiative (2014), and the honorary degree of Doctor of Law from the University of Leicester (2015).

In March of 2018, President Jahjaga established the Jahjaga Foundation- an initiative that focuses on youth and women empowerment towards achieving social change in Kosovo.


Introduction by Nadje Al-Ali, Robert Family Professor of International Studies and Professor of Anthropology and Middle East Studies.

Watson Distinguished Speaker Series