As a first-year, Liza arrived two months late due to a postal delay with her acceptance letter and speaking NO Spanish and only a smattering of English. She didn’t even have a country since Kosovo was working its way through a devastating conflict and did not declare independence until February 2008.
“The person I am today is thanks to the opportunity to be part of the UWC Costa Rica family. I will forever remember February 17, 2008, when Kosovo declared independence, and we had that huge dinner celebration in our mensa.”
--Liza Gashi ‘09
Like her determined nation, Liza has boundless optimism about how much she can accomplish. Thanks to full scholarships for the next six years, she graduated from UWC Costa Rica. She went on to get triple majors in International Relations, Spanish and Political Science and double minors in History and Intercultural Studies from Wartburg College in Iowa. Her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Arizona State University is a far cry from the confused young woman of 17.
Through it all, her intense love of UWC Costa Rica, as well as her young country, is evident. At age 18, she became the founder and president of the national committee of UWC Kosovo. After three years, her work with a fellow Costa Rica alumnae has resulted in UWC 4 Life, a committee for keeping alumni engaged.
Bringing people together is Liza’s passion. She is one of the founders and program chair for Germin, an NGO created to engage more of the 800,000 Kosovars outside the country in the policy-making process, networking, job creation, and diplomacy.
Because of her activism and empowerment of the Kosovar Diaspora, in June 2021, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo, Mr. Albin Kurti, to serve her country as the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Diaspora of Kosovo:
“I am ready for this novel task to build and strengthen institutional mechanisms that aim to nurture diaspora connection with our homeland.
I feel proud of my people. I feel proud of my roots. My journey has not been easy, but I have enjoyed every hurdle and success along the way. It has made me who I am today, and it has built resilience in me.”
-Liza Gashi ‘09