Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
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Prime Minister Albin Kurti — Deepening Democracy within Kosova and Across Europe and the World in Times of Crisis

Friday, May 20, 2022

6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Joukowsky Forum, 111 Thayer Street

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From global pandemic and climate crisis to Russia's unprovoked aggression in Ukraine and rising authoritarianism, these times demand a vision and the mobilization of democratic forces, efficacious democratic governance, and diplomacy. Drawing on his times as a leader in student and civic movements in Kosova, a political prisoner, an opposition leader, and now Prime Minister of Kosova, Albin Kurti will outline not only the struggles and alignments that have led to Kosova's democratic deepening but also what his engagements with democratic leaders across the world offer for just global transformations.

Watson Distinguished Speaker Series

Albin Kurti is the the President of the biggest political party in the country, Lëvizja VETËVENDOSJE! (LVV), as well as the fourth and now the sixth Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosova since the country’s declaration of independence. He was born on March 24th, 1975 in Prishtina.

Kurti joined the Presidency of the Students Independent Union of the University of Prishtina (SIUUP) in August 1997, which organized peaceful, non-violent protests for the release of the university buildings and premises which were occupied by the authorities of the Serbian regime. When war began in Kosova, in August 1998, Kurti began working as the Secretary of the Office of the General Political Representative of the Kosova Liberation Army (KLA), Adem Demaçi. When the NATO bombing of Serbia and Kosova commenced in March 1999, Kurti remained in Prishtina, and was arrested by the Serbian police on April 27th, 1999, and then imprisoned. When Serbian forces withdrew from Kosova on June 10th, Kurti and many other Albanian political prisoners were transferred to Serbian prisons. Due to international pressure, Kurti was released on December 7th, 2001. On April 23rd, 2003, Kurti graduated in Computer Science and Telecommunications from the University of Prishtina.

In June of 2005, Kurti with other activists of the Kosova Action Network, advanced their organization into Lëvizja VETËVENDOSJE!, which was later registered as a political party. He was the President of LVV until March 2015, and was re-elected as President of the party in January 2018. Between 2005-2017, he spent almost one a half years under house arrest and in prison, charged by the authorities of UNMIK, EULEX and the Republic of Kosova.

Kurti has served three terms in office as a member of the Assembly of the Republic of Kosova representing LVV. He has also served as the Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs at the Assembly. In the last three, consecutive national elections held in Kosova, in 2017, 2019 and 2021, Kurti has been the party’s candidate for Prime Minister. In the elections of 2017 and 2019, he and the party won the highest number of votes. Whereas, in the elections held on February 14th, 2021, LVV’s list won a total of 50.28% of the popular vote, which is the best result any party has achieved since the end of the war in Kosova.

Albin Kurti has published over 550 articles, and has been invited to present at different renowned universities inside and outside the country. He is fluent in Albanian, English, and Serbian.

He is married to Rita Augestad Knudsen, and they have one daughter, Lea.