Ambassador Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović took up her position as NATO’s Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy on 4 July 2011. Having previously served as Croatia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration and, more recently, as Ambassador of Croatia to the United States (2008 – 2011), Ambassador Grabar- Kitarović is well-versed in Euro-Atlantic diplomacy and security issues.
Born in Rijeka, Croatia, Ambassador Grabar-Kitarović holds a masters degree in international relations from the Faculty of Political Science, University of Zagreb. She was also a Fulbright Scholar at the George Washington University, a Luksic Fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a visiting scholar at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of the Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C. She began her career in 1992 as an advisor to the International Cooperation Department of Croatia’s Ministry of Science and Technology, moving on to become an advisor in the Foreign Ministry.
In 1995, Ambassador Grabar-Kitarović became director of the Foreign Ministry’s North American Department, and from 1997 to 2000, she worked as a diplomatic counsellor and DCM at the Croatian Embassy in Canada. She then returned to the Foreign Ministry as Minister-Counsellor.
In November 2003, Ambassador Grabar-Kitarović was elected to the Croatian Parliament and in December 2003, she became the Minister of European Integration. She was sworn in as Croatia’s Foreign Minister in February 2005, her central task being to guide the country into the European Union and NATO.
Ambassador Grabar-Kitarović speaks Croatian, English, Spanish and Portuguese fluently.
She is the first woman ever to be appointed Assistant Secretary General of NATO.