Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic: Winning Hearts of the World!
France may have won the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, but the real winner for the whole world was the compassion personified acts of Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic. She won hearts of the world by giving the real meaning of ‘sportsman’s spirit’ in spite of Croatia losing the final 4–2 to France.
Kolinda’s compassion to console and congratulate each and every single player and Coaches of both the respective teams surpassed France’s euphoria of winning the World Cup. The world has never seen any Head of the State to act the way Kolinda’s heartwarming act.
During the quarter-final against Russia, Kolinda was seen dancing in the VVIP box in front of FIFA President and her Russian counterparts, when Croatia scored goals. She made her presence felt in the stadium in the famous red-and-white checkered jersey. Filled with joy, her acts of celebration became infectious around the world.
In the World Cup history, the world has never seen such an ecstatic, joyful, emotional, compassionate and kind act by any political head of any nations. Kolinda was joyful and emotional throughout the celebration. Standing beside Russian President Vladimar Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron, Kolinda consoled each Croatian player and Coach Zlatko Dalic with a warm hug.
Rain did not deter or worry her. Controlling her tears Kolinda showed how proud she was of every single player and Coach of Team Croatia to achieve the distinction to reach the final of World Cup. However, she could not control her tears when Captain Luka Modric approached her. She hugged him and was seen breaking down, while whispering words of encouragement and consoling the Captain.
It was indeed heart wrenching moments to witness how a powerful Head of the tiny nation broke down in front of the world. Kolinda did not care for the world to show her emotions what the World Cup final meant for her tiny nation. In spite of being the runners-up, Croatia became the ultimate winner at the medal ceremony. The beautiful heart touching moments was captured by billions all over the world. Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic achieved an iconic status and symbol of 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Football fans all over the world adored and praised Kolinda’s compassionate act. She stands tall as the epitome of ‘True Sportsman’s Spirit’. Her infectious smile will stay in the hearts of billions of football fans for life.
Her charismatic presence among Croatian supporters’ section of the stadium during the tournament was shocking for many. Kolinda even mixed with fans in economy class on flights.
Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic was born in Rijeka, Croatia on the 29th of April 1968. It was part of Yugoslavia then. Father Branko Grabar and mother Dubravka Grabar owned a butcher shop and a ranch in Lopaca village, north of Rijeka. Little Kolinda was raised in Lopaca village.
At the age of 17, Kolinda moved to Los Alamos, New Mexico to complete her High School as an exchange program student. In 1986, she graduated from Los Almos High School. She returned back to Yugoslavia. Kolinda enrolled at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in the University of Zagreb. In 1993, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Spanish languages, and Literature.
She went onto complete her Diploma Course at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna from 1995 to 1996. In the year 2000, Kolinda completed her Masters in International Relations from the Faculty of Political Science at the University of Zagreb. A passionate academician, Kolinda attended George Washington University as a Fullbright Scholar in 2002–2003.
Kolinda received a Luksic Fellowship for the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She was a visiting scholar at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. Kolinda began her doctoral studies in International Relations at the Zagreb Faculty of Political Science in the month of December 2015.
The Journey of Success:
Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic held a number of governmental and diplomatic positions before she was elected as the 4th President of Croatia in 2015. From 2003 to 2005, she was Minister of European Affairs. Kolinda was the first female Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration from 2005 to 2008, in both the First and the Second Cabinets of Ivo Sanader.
From 2008 to 2011, Kolinda was Croatian Ambassador to the United States and Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy at NATO, under Secretaries General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Jens Stoltenberg from 2011 to 2014.
In December 2014 and January 2015, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic contested the Presidential election. She was the only female candidate among the four contestants. In the first round, Kolinda was the runners-up. In the second round, she narrowly defeated the incumbent President Ivo Josipovic by just 1.48% votes. It was the closest percentage margin of any Presidential election to date. Kolinda received 1.114 million votes, which was the smallest number of votes of any elected President in Croatia.
From 1993 to 2015, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic was a member of the conservative Croatian Democratic Union party. She was also one of three Croatian members of the Trilateral Commission. After being elected as the President, Kolinda resigned from both the positions. She became the first woman to be elected as the President, since the first multi-party elections in 1990. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic became the youngest-ever President of Croatia at the age of 46.
Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic became Croatia's first female Head of State post-independence and the country's first conservative President in 15 years. On the 15th of February 2015, Kolinda was ceremonially sworn into office. Officially, she assumed office at midnight on the 19th of February 2015.
Kolinda became the first woman in Europe to defeat an incumbent President running for re-election. She also became the only second woman in the world to do so, after Violetta Chamorro of Nicaragua in 1990. Kolinda was also the first candidate of any gender to defeat an incumbent Croatian President.
Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic is the only Presidential candidate till date to have won a Croatian Presidential election, without having won the most votes in the first round of elections. She had lost it by 1.24% or 21,000 votes. The 1.48% victory margin against Josipovic is the smallest margin in any such election till date.
Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic married Jakov Kitarovic in 1996. They have two children – daughter Katarina aged 17 and 15-year young son Luka. Katarina is a professional figure skater. She is Croatia's National Junior Champion.
Kolinda speaks Croatian, English, Spanish and Portuguese fluently. She has basic understanding of German, French and Italian languages.