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Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci visits DU campus to discuss future of his nation

Republic of Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci spoke Monday at DU. Photo: Wayne Armstrong

In a question-and-answer session held before more than 100 DU students, faculty and various local and international dignitaries, Republic of Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci talked Monday about how his nation wants to play a bigger role on the world stage. Former Ambassador Christopher Hill, dean of DU’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies, introduced Thaci as one of Europe’s newest and youngest leaders.

Speaking through an interpreter, Thaci opened by stating that “today is marked by two very important events: my speech today and the Rockies home opener.” The prime minister went on to speak for more than 45 minutes about the challenges and opportunities for economic development in his country, his vision for integrating Kosovo more quickly into the European community, and the diplomatic issues still facing his nation more than 14 years after the end of the war in Kosovo.

Speaking at the Josef Korbel School,  Thaci praised Madeleine Albright, daughter of Korbel School founder Josef Korbel. Albright, Thaci said, was the “savior of my nation.” “The freedom of my people will be eternally intertwined with her name,” Thaci said.

He then talked about how Ambassador Hill was a “stakeholder” in the success of his nation.  Thaci joked that “Mr. Hill is so admired in my country, even the driving schools are named after him.” Hill was a key member of the U.S. negotiating team in the Bosnia peace settlement and helped to resolve the Kosovo crisis.

The Prime Minister said his visit to the United States was historic because it enabled him to have meetings with officials at the highest levels of the U.S. government. During his trip to Denver, Thaci met with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper to discuss ways that companies headquartered in the state could help his nation’s economic development needs. Specifically, he discussed how Colorado firms can provide assistance with issues relating to mining, energy, ski resorts and tourism.

Thaci believes that with the support of the U.S. and members of the European Union, his nation will prosper once again. Thaci also hopes that Serbia and Kosovo can close the book on their bitter and dark past and begin a new chapter of reconciliation.

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