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Elizabeth Gowing biography

Elizabeth Gowing* was educated at Magdalen College, Oxford, and subsequently trained to be a teacher and completed her MA at the Institute of Education, University of London,

She worked in primary education in Hackney, Lambeth and Islington as well as in education policy before moving to Kosovo in 2006.

There she co-founded charitable NGO The Ideas Partnership which empowers and supports people in need in Kosovo in the fields of education, health and social welfare, and works on cultural heritage and protection of the environment, promoting a culture of volunteerism and philanthropy. She is also the owner of the Sapune social enterprise, offering employment to village and minority community women and support to the education of their children, and promoting Kosovo's traditional craft of filigree in eco-friendly products.

She is the author of five travel books, of which four are about Kosovo and the Balkans. Her most recent book, written together with Robert Wilton, is No Man's Lands: 8 extraordinary women in Balkan history. She has also translated two books from Albanian - the biography of Yugoslavia's longest-held political prisoner, Adem Demaçi, and the memoirs of Hasan Prishtina.

As well as being a trustee of The Ideas Partnership UK, she is a board member of Faktoje, the Albanian fact-checking NGO.

In 2016 the President of Kosovo awarded her the Mother Teresa medal for her humanitarian work. In 2017 she was named by British Prime Minister Theresa May a 'point of light' for volunteering around the world. In 2018 the new Kosovan President gave her Kosovan citizenship by decree.

At the end of 2021, Kosovan Prime Minister Albin Kurti appointed her to his cabinet as adviser on community affairs.

She runs training for NGOs and others on telling the story of making positive change in the world. She is a frequent contributor to Radio 4 and speaker to groups in the UK.

*Note for radio editors and presenters, Elizabeth's surname is pronounced to rhyme with 'ploughing'. Or 'wowing'.

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