All you need to know about Croatia’s number one national team fan and first female President, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic.

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President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic

Beauty is a good thing, but beauty with brains is the best you can ever bargain for. Most of us might have noticed a pretty and powerful woman rallying behind her national team at the just ended World Cup in Russia. This woman is no ordinary woman. She is the first female president of Croatia, and an inspiration to women all around the world. 

She was born on 29 April 1968, in Rijeka – Croatia, then part of Yugoslavia, to Dubravka and Branko Grabar. She was raised mainly by her parents’ in the village of Lopača, just north of Rijeka, where the family owned a butcher shop and a ranch. As a high school student, she entered a student exchange program and at 17, moved to Los Alamos, New Mexico, subsequently graduating from Los Alamos High School in 1986. 

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She is a graduate in English and Spanish literature. She also has a post-graduate qualification in international relations. She is a Fulbright scholar, who studied at George Washington university, Harvard and John Hopkins university. 

In 2015, and at the age of 46, she became President and started pursuing her doctorate in international relations. It will surprise you to know that she’s also an ex-army commando and an ace marksman. 

From 2007 to 2011, she was the ambassador of Croatia to US. She then moved on to become the first woman to be the NATO Assistant Secretary General for public diplomacy. In that capacity, she visited Afghanistan a number of times to raise the morale of NATO troops deployed there. In the NATO circle, she is known as SWAMBO (a woman who must be obeyed).

Known as a no nonsense woman, she instilled discipline and dedication, leading by her own example. She has been voluminously praised by both George Bush Jr and Barack Obama during their presidencies. 

During the World Cup in Russia, she bought her own economy class ticket to travel with other supporters to support the national team. She put on a Croatian Jersey and sat at the VIP box breaking all norms. She mingled with spectators and hugged the players, who were sweating and in briefs in the dressing room. She did all these for the love of the team, something that many Presidents in the World will shy away from doing. 

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She speaks 4 languages fluently including Croatian, English, Spanish and Danish language. She can comfortably communicate in German, French, Russian and Italian. 

During a meeting between herself, Putin and Macron, she was seen speaking to both presidents in Russian and French respectively. 

President Grabar-Kitarovic presenting a bouquet of flowers to President Puttin of Russia

She is married with kids to Jakov Kitarovic, a graduate in Nautical Studies and an Electrical Engineer. The couple have been married for over 2 decades and they’ll celebrate their 22nd anniversary this year. 

                    Jakov and Kolinda Kitarovic

 

Credit: Kwamina DEXTRO

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