“At this year’s World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, global leaders will discuss the challenge of maintaining a shared progressive narrative in an increasingly fractured world. As President of Kosovo, a country that is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its independence this year and which is still developing economically and politically, I cannot stress enough the value of finding and maintaining a shared purpose on a global level. Countries like mine need the active support of a united global community that is interested in supporting sustainable and equitable development across the globe.
Restoring the shared values that were born out of the collapse of communism in the 1990s is of special importance to me and my people. My country is the product of such shared humanitarian values. Exactly two decades ago, Kosovars were experiencing genocide and ethnic cleansing at the centre of the European continent. Half of the population was deported from Kosovo while images of mass graves were disturbing the global public.
I was a political leader of a guerilla force that was trying to resist the devastating might of one of the continent’s last dictators – Slobodan Milosevic. Our efforts to protect our people would have likely taken far more time and human lives had there not been a global outcry. The memory of the Kosovo war may have faded for many of you by now, but back in 1998, everyone from Nobel Peace Prize laureates to NATO generals, from dedicated Western journalists in the field to humanitarian workers in refugee camps believed that peace was a worthy aim to fight for.
Even then, there were voices on the political extremes opposed to the intervention that saved the people of Kosovo. The far left was unable to distance itself from anti-NATO sentiments and considered the Kosovo intervention an imperialist project. The far right, meanwhile, saw Kosovans as a dangerous Muslim ‘fifth column’ in Europe, and was not opposed to the policies of Milosevic in Bosnia and Kosovo. In the end, however, it was the shared human values of the overwhelming majority at the centre of the political spectrum that made our liberation possible. The disruptive forces of isolationism, fragmentation and nativism could not match the joint efforts across political and social strata to defend the basic values of humanity.” (World Economic Forum)