It’s another beautiful Wednesday and as you know Wednesdays are for women, today we are shining the spotlight on a woman who is making impacts and making her nation proud, being the first female president of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic is really proving to us that what a man can do a woman can also do. She recently warmed our hearts at the world cup as she came to support her players in Russia.
Kolinda was born on 29 April 1968 in Rijeka, Croatia, then part of Yugoslavia, to Dubravka and Branko Grabar. She was raised mainly in her parents’ village of Lopača, just north of Rijeka, where the family owned a butcher shop and a ranch. Grabar-Kitarović began her doctoral studies in international relations at the Zagreb Faculty of Political Science in 2015. She is the first woman to be elected to the office after the first multi-party elections in 1990. At 46 years of age, she also became the youngest person to assume the presidency.
In 1992, Grabar-Kitarović became an advisor to the international cooperation department of the Ministry of Science and Technology.In 1993 she joined the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ). In the same year she transferred to the foreign ministry, becoming an advisor. She became the head of the North American department of the Foreign ministry in 1995 and held that post until 1997.That year she began to work at the Croatian embassy in Canada as a diplomatic councilor until October 1998, and then as a minister-councilor.
Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic is a Croatian politician and diplomat serving as the 4th and current President of Croatia since 2015. Before her election as President of Croatia, Grabar-Kitarović held a number of governmental and diplomatic positions. She was Minister of European Affairs from 2003 to 2005, the first female Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration from 2005 to 2008 in both the first and second cabinets of Ivo Sanader, Croatian Ambassador to the United States from 2008 to 2011 and Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy at NATO under Secretaries General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Jens Stoltenberg from 2011 to 2014.
Grabar-Kitarović contested the presidential election held in December 2014 and January 2015 as the only female candidate (out of four in total), finishing as the runner-up in the first round and thereafter proceeding to narrowly defeat incumbent President Ivo Josipović in the second round. Her strong performance in the first round was widely viewed as unexpected, as most opinion polls had given incumbent president Josipović a strong lead and some even showed it was possible that he would win outright by acquiring more than 50% of the vote. In the second round, Grabar-Kitarović defeated Josipović by the closest percentage margin of any presidential election to date (1.48%) and received the smallest number of votes of any elected president in Croatia (1.114 million votes). Furthermore, as the country had previously also had a female Prime Minister, Jadranka Kosor, from 2009 until 2011, Grabar-Kitarović’s election as President of Croatia also included it into a small group of parliamentary republics which have had both a female head of state and head of government.
Grabar-Kitarović was a member of the conservative Croatian Democratic Union party from 1993 to 2015 and was also one of three Croatian members of the Trilateral Commission, but she was required to resign both positions upon taking office as president in 2015, as Croatian Presidents are not permitted to hold other political positions or party membership while in office. In 2017, Forbes magazine listed Grabar-Kitarović as the world’s 39th most powerful woman
Grabar-Kitarović has been married to Jakov Kitarović since 1996 and they have two children: Katarina (born on 23 April 2001) who is a professional figure skater and Croatia’s national junior champion and Luka born in 2003.
It is no longer news that Croatia made it past the quarter- finals after they defeated Russia but their beautiful president won many hearts globally for her enthusiastic celebration after Croatia knocked out Russia in the quarter finals securing a place in 2018 World Cup semi-finals.
This could explain the victory jig by President Grabar-Kitarović clad in Croatia national colours, red and white, right in front of Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev following the penalty victory shoot-out against Russia in Sochi.
President Grabar-Kitarović flew economy class with fellow Croatian soccer fans from Zagreb to watch her country play the quarter finals in Russia.
After the successful game, she paid a surprise visit to the Croatian team in the locker room even with the fact that the young men were hot and sweaty, President Grabar-Kitarović did not hesitate to give the team members congratulatory hugs and encouragement. Her joy and pride in their stunning performance was palpable. What a leader!
We shine a spotlight on this beautiful wife and mother of two who is making real impact and being a true leader at heart. Don’t just love this amazing female president?