Donika Gërvalla-Schwarz

Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Diaspora of the Republic of Kosova

Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Diaspora of the Republic of Kosova, Mrs. Gërvalla- Schwarz, was born on October 16, 1971. She grew up in Prishtina until the age of eight. Because of prosecution by the communist regime, her dissident father had to flee the country in 1979. After four weeks of brutal mistreatment, the mother took her three young children and fled to Germany, too.

On January 17, 1982, her father, her uncle, and a visitor became victims of a professional killer team in Untergruppenbach, by what German authorities considered to have been ordered by the Yugoslav regime. Fearing for the safety of her children, the mother left Germany and moved to Albania.

Mrs. Gërvalla visited the musical school of Tirana to become a flutist. At the age of 16, she additionally began studying at the Academy of Arts. She successfully finished her study at the age of 19. In 1992 she left Albania to study first music and later law in Hamburg, Germany. In 1990 Mrs. Gërvalla helped to organize the referendum on the independence of the Republic of Kosova. Visiting Kosova, President Dr. Ibrahim Rugova cast his ballot in the location in Tirana.

In 1991 she participated in a historic hunger strike of students, which became a milestone in the defeat of the communist dictatorship. In 2013, the President of Albania and others had been rewarded for their contribution to overcome the communist dictatorship. From 1991 to 2018, Mrs. Gërvalla was an activist and held top positions in the LDK party led by Ibrahim Rugova.

In the 1990s, she was vice chairwoman of the German branch. From 2015 until leaving the party in 2018, she was chairwoman of LDK in Germany. Due to the deteriorating situation in Kosova, Mrs. Gërvalla in 1993 got intensely involved in rallying support for Kosova. She organized demonstrations with up to 100‘000 people, informing governments and parliaments, and media. During the war of the Milošević regime and the genocide in Kosova in 1998 and 1999, she was the speaker of the LDK abroad. In June 1999, after the end of the NATO-led international intervention, Mrs. Gërvalla could visit her country for the first time after 19 years.

More than 150.000 people are estimated to have attended the funeral, which was the first significant event not being controlled by wartime extremists after 1999. In 2014 she participated in the LDK election campaign to help to defeat corruption and crime. Having rejected previous invitations to run for parliament, she agreed to be an independent candidate on the final winning electoral list in 2021. The Vjosa Osmani (GUXO) and Albin Kurti (LVV) list got elected with a historic 50,3 percent of the votes. After returning home after 31 years living in Germany, Mrs. Gërvalla received the fifth-highest number of votes on the combined list headed by President of the Republic, Mrs. Osmani. The parliament elected her as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Diaspora and Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosova on March 22, 2021.