Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic received the Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Award on Saturday in Washington, pointing out that she honors this recognition, which is a "privilege and pleasure" that she dedicates to her family and her country.
Grabar-Kitarovic was a Fulbright student from 2002 to 2003 at the graduate program in International Relations and Security Policy at George Washington University in the United States.
-I can't even describe how much tonight's event means to me - the Croatian president said, noting that she was a girl born on the "wrong side of the Iron Curtain" who dreamed of other places where people had freedom of choice, where they could speak and express freely their beliefs without being persecuted.
- This award inspires me not only to look back, but to think about the present and especially the future. What we need today more than ever is true leadership and vision – Grabar Kitarovic said, presenting her own concept based on the experience with Fulbright, and at work, she said, in various places in the world, "from her own country to war zones." Among other things, she emphasized the importance of courage that generates change, the importance of trust, spoke of the Three Seas Initiative, and emphasized the empowerment of women.
-Women are still unequal. Although we have achieved a lot, discrimination and abuse of women and girls and the denial of their rights are still widespread. This applies to all women, regardless of where they come from, how old they are or what they do. But don't look at women as victims alone. They are a source of strength and change - Grabar-Kitarovic said. She added that in addition to her duty as President of Croatia, her beloved country and her homeland, she is proud of her duty as the head of the Council of Women of World Leaders.
-There is so much ahead of us, but only if we will have confidence in ourselves and be ambitious – Grabar-Kitarovic said.
Along with the Croatian president, this year's award went to journalist Melissa Block and architect James Polshek.
The Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Award honors Fulbright alumni whose distinguished careers and civic and cultural contributions have sought to expand the boundaries of human wisdom, empathy, and perception. Recipients of the Award show exemplary commitments to creative leadership and liberal education. The Achievement Award was first presented in 2000.