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Home : News : State Partnership Program
NEWS | Oct. 26, 2023

Kosovo President Visits Iowa National Guard Partners

By Capt. Kevin Waldron, Joint Force Headquarters - Iowa National Guard

JOHNSTON, Iowa – The president of Kosovo visited the Iowa National Guard Oct. 24 as part of an international trip to Iowa spurred by an invitation from Gov. Kim Reynolds and Maj. Gen. Stephen Osborn, the adjutant general of the Iowa National Guard, when they visited Kosovo in June.

Iowa military leaders greeted Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani with much fanfare at Camp Dodge. Flags lined the halls of Joint Force Headquarters, and men and women wore their finest military attire.

During her visit to Camp Dodge, she met with Osborn and discussed various topics, from global security to strengthening the National Guard’s military-to-military training.

Osmani provided brief comments to leaders while at the Iowa capital.

“Partnerships such as this one are the best example of what visionary leadership can do,” said Osmani. “Our partnership grows stronger by the day as we expand our cooperation in all areas of common and strategic interest, such as defense, agriculture, tourism and energy.”

Her visit to Camp Dodge included a tour of the Sustainment Training Center, the Medical Simulation Training Center and the Joint Operations Center.

This was Osmani’s first visit to Iowa since being elected in April 2021. A Kosovo president last visited Iowa National Guard leaders in Iowa in 2012, shortly after a State Partnership Program with the country began. 

The State Partnership Program is a Department of Defense National Guard Bureau initiative that develops mutual military cooperation. The 30-year-old program now includes 88 partnerships with 100 nations.

“The State Partnership Program serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration,” said Osborn. “It showcases the power of unity, resilience and the human spirit.”

In 2023, the Iowa National Guard made significant efforts to build ties with the Kosovo Security Force. Iowa Airmen traveled to Kosovo in April for a large-scale medical training exercise. Additionally, Lt. Ylli Dalladaku was the first KSF member to complete the U.S. Army’s Basic Officer Infantry Leaders Course and Ranger school alongside Iowa Soldiers.

“Our bond with Kosovo Security Forces allows for the exchange of knowledge, skills and experiences in the field of defense and security,” said Osborn. “Our brave men and women in uniform gain invaluable insights through joint exercises, training programs and information sharing.”

The KSF and the Iowa National Guard will hold weapons maintenance and religious affairs workshops in 2024 as part of the SPP.