The President of Kosovo, Atifete Jahjaga, awarded Capitol Hill staffer Jason Steinbaum with a Presidential Medal of Merit on Monday.
For more than 20 years, Steinbaum has been an activist on behalf of the young Republic of Kosovo. According to a news release, he received this award for his longtime dedication in advocating for Kosovo’s independence and international recognition.
He is the minority staff director for the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere. He has worked on the Democratic side of the committee for six years and previously was New York Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel’s chief of staff for six years.
Engel’s district includes a large Kosovar and Albanian population. Soon after joining Engel’s staff in 1993, Steinbaum began advocating for Kosovo’s Albanian population, which was repressed under Serbian rule, according to the release.
“It has been the most fulfilling part of my work on Capitol Hill,” he said in the release. “The people I have worked with in Kosovo have such gratitude toward the United States and strongly support our work in their region.”
Both Steinbaum and Jahjaga attended the University of Virginia. Steinbaum graduated from UVA undergrad in 1988, with a degree in foreign affairs. Jahjaga received her postgraduate certification in criminal justice in 2007, one year before Kosovo declared independence from Serbia. She has been president of Kosovo since 2011.