Ambassador Delawie’s remarks at the “Girl Be Heard” Launch Event

Ambassador Delawie’s remarks at the “Girl Be Heard” Launch Event, October 2, 2017

Good afternoon everyone.  It’s great to be here.  I really want to thank the Kosova Live team, Annea and Kelmend, for inviting me to speak with you today.  It was great to hear your explanation of what you’ve been up to.  I appreciate that.  And not just the explanation but the energy and dedication that you put into it.  That’s terrific.

Our Embassy is very proud to support this program, with assistance from the U.S. Secretary of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues.

I know you all understand far better than I the many challenges that women face in Kosovo.  Unequal access to education, job opportunities, family property are just a few of the areas where there is a lot more work to do.  When you look around at visible positions in the political, business, and even media fields, there are just not enough women in leadership roles.  There was a study about this that came out about two weeks ago and we flagged it on our website.  I was disappointed to see there are only two women in the new cabinet.  I think Kosovo needs to do better.  I’m glad that you are here to make sure Kosovo does do better.  This isn’t a challenge just for Kosovo.  Many countries struggle with these same barriers, but that’s no reason to relax.

We at the U.S. Embassy firmly believe that when women do not have the same access to opportunity as men, a country cannot reach its full potential.  That’s why we support programs like this that will give you all the chance to gain the experience you need to be competitive in today’s job market.  We believe that women have a pivotal role to play in helping Kosovo advance toward a Euro-Atlantic future.

I certainly encourage all of you to take advantage of all the opportunities available in the Girl Be Heard program, from writing experience to expert panels, and put those new skills to work in your own life.  I’m confident that after this program, whether you go on to further education to a job, you will find this to be invaluable practical experience and a strong network that will help you on your way.  And speaking of networking- please consider ways you can reach out to other young women who may not be part of this program but can benefit from the things you are learning today.  You said you had 300 applicants, you could only take 60 or so.  I hope the 60 will find ways to reach out to other people and help them along the way as well.  It’s very important to give back, and that will be a very important part of making positive change in Kosovo.

I really like the name of the program, Girl Be Heard, it’s terrific.  Often, we know that women have to work extra hard to get people to pay attention to what they have to say.  One way to overcome this is to add more voices, which is what you’re doing and why I’m so encouraged that this is the fourth cohort of people who go through this program.  All of you working toward the same goals is a really impressive idea and with all this power in the room I’m sure that you’re going to achieve your goals!  I am also confident this program will help each of you strengthen your own voices.  Whether you do it through words, a video, or by casting a vote, as you mentioned, you will join the past participants of this program in making your mark on Kosovo in a positive way, and we are excited to see what you all accomplish in the future.

Thank you very much for welcoming us today, it’s great to be here.  We look forward to see what happens next.