Hello! Unë jam Jeff Hovenier, Ambasadori Amerikan i ri në Kosovë / Ja sam Jeff Hovenier, novi Americki Ambasador na Kosovu. I’m Jeff Hovenier, the new U.S. Ambassador to Kosovo. I just arrived in Pristina, and my wife Laura will be joining me soon.
I’m humbled by the trust President Biden and Secretary Blinken have placed in me to lead the U.S. Mission to Kosovo to continue its important work to strengthen the already deep ties between our two countries.
I’m no stranger to Kosovo and its history. Over the past decades, I’ve had the honor in various capacities to represent U.S. interests along with my colleagues in defending Kosovo’s people, its sovereignty, and its independence. In many ways, I am a personification of the United States’ steadfast commitment over decades to you and your country.
In 1999, while working at the U.S. Mission to the OSCE, I served as a member of the U.S. delegation to the Rambouillet Process. I was also on the UN team in 2006 led by Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari that was responsible for status negotiations. Later in my career, at the White House National Security Council, I worked on U.S. policy for the Western Balkans, including Kosovo-Serbia normalization.
My wife and I last visited Pristina in 2018 with our youngest daughter, Julia, as Kosovo was celebrating 10 years of independence. While I’m proud of the part I’ve played in supporting the people of Kosovo, I’m even more excited about what we can accomplish together for Kosovo’s future.
Kosovo’s achievements over the past short 13 years are nothing short of remarkable – a vibrant democracy, a capable economy, and leadership Kosovo projects beyond its borders. However, there remains unfinished business.
Here’s my promise to you – working with government leaders, civil society activists, and all people of Kosovo – my team and I will continue to advocate for our shared interests and vision:
- a Kosovo fully engaged and integrated into the region and European and Euro-Atlantic institutions, with improved, normalized relations with its neighbors;
- a Kosovo with resilient, reliable, and efficient public institutions that deliver services and justice to, and protect the rights and freedoms of, all citizens of Kosovo; and,
- a Kosovo with a sustainable, dynamic economy that attracts investment, protects the environment, and retains innovative talent.
Let me tell you a bit about myself. I am originally from Bellingham, Washington on the West Coast of the United States. My wife, Laura, is from Maryland, on the East Coast.
As a diplomatic family we raised our four children – Helen, Peter, Megan, and Julia—all over the world and had the privilege to live in many extraordinary and welcoming places – in Turkey, Germany, Croatia, Greece, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Austria, and, of course, Washington, DC.
Although our children are now grown and busy building families and careers of their own, our whole family, including my six, soon to be seven, grandchildren continue to make memories that we share. These are the experiences that keep us together – even if oceans separate us.
In all the places we have lived, our most vivid memories aren’t about politics or policy, they are about the connections we’ve made, the places we’ve explored, the new traditions we’ve embraced, and the tapestry of flavors, colors, music, and tastes we’ve enjoyed.
Laura and I are excited to make Kosovo our home, and we look forward to exploring its rich natural beauty, embracing your warm hospitality, learning more about your diverse traditions and culture, sharing music, and enjoying the wonderful food.
Thank you for welcoming us to our new home. Falemenderit shume. Puno Hvala.