MGC, 1990 Leaver

Elizabeth studied English at Magdalen College, Oxford, before training to be a primary school teacher. After work in Inner London schools as teacher, Deputy Head and teaching consultant she moved to Kosovo in 2006. There she co-founded The Ideas Partnership charity which uses the power of volunteers to tackle challenges in education, the environment, and cultural heritage, with a particular focus on the excluded Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities.

She is the author of Travels in Blood and Honey: becoming a beekeeper in Kosovo Edith and I: on the trail of an Edwardian traveller in Kosovo, The Rubbish-Picker’s Wife: an unlikely friendship in Kosovo, The Silver Thread: a journey through Balkan craftsmanship and Unlikely Positions in Unlikely Places: a yoga journey around Britain, to be published in 2019. She is also the translator from Albanian to English of Hasan Prishtina’s memoirs of the 1912 uprising and of the biography of Yugoslavia’s longest-held political prisoner, Adem Demaci. She is a frequent contributor to Radio 4’s From Our Own Correspondent.

In 2016 President of Kosovo Atifete Jahjaga awarded Elizabeth the Mother Teresa medal for her humanitarian work, and in 2017 Theresa May nominated her a Point of Light with an award for volunteering around the world. In 2018 she was made a citizen of Kosovo by decree of the new President, Hashim Thaci.

What does success look like? 

When your good idea is now bigger than you.

What is your best piece of advice?

I think I'd say 'It's when you feel you don't fit in that you know you're doing something extraordinary.'