Sven Alkalaj

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Sven Alkalaj
Sven Alkalaj.jpg
Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
In office
8 March 2012 – 8 April 2014
Preceded byJán Kubiš
Succeeded byChristian Friis Bach
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
9 February 2007 – 10 February 2012
Prime MinisterNikola Špirić
Preceded byMladen Ivanić
Succeeded byZlatko Lagumdžija
Personal details
Born (1948-11-11) 11 November 1948 (age 70)
Sarajevo, SFR Yugoslavia
Citizenship Bosnia and Herzegovina
Political partyParty for Bosnia and Herzegovina (SBiH)
Alma materUniversity of Sarajevo

Sven Alkalaj[pronunciation?] (born 11 November 1948) is a Bosnian diplomat who served as the country's Foreign Minister from 2007 to 2012 under Prime Minister Nikola Špirić. More recently, Alkalaj held the post of Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe between 2012 and 2014. Alkalaj is one of the most prominent Bosnian Jews of Sephardic origin and is a longtime member of the Party for Bosnia and Herzegovina (SBiH) led by Haris Silajdžić.


Alkalaj was born on 11 November 1948 in Sarajevo to a Sephardi Jewish father and Bosnian Croat Catholic mother.[1][2] He was raised Jewish.[3][4]

His paternal family emigrated from Spain and settled in Sarajevo hundreds of years ago when they fled the Spanish inquisition.[4] Alkalaj graduated in mechanical engineering from the University of Sarajevo in 1974. He returned to the university in 1987 and earned a degree in economics.[citation needed]



Alkalaj was criticised and his resignation demanded in 2007 after it was published in Bosnian media that he had taken Croatian citizenship in 2006 based upon his mother's lineage.[1]

Alkalaj was charged by prosecutors in a case before the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina with misconduct in his office as Foreign Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina related to his "signing off on a cash award of 13,418.59 KM to his then deputy [Mrs] Ana Trišić-Babić for her work at the BiH Council of Ministers NATO coordination team."[5]


  1. ^ a b "Ministar VP neće glasati na izborima u Hrvatskoj" (in Croatian). Nacional. 5 November 2007. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
  2. ^ Rose, Jasmina (30 June 2009). "Bosni je potrebna EU i Amerika" (in Croatian). Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  3. ^ Perelman, Marc (10 October 2007). "Divided Bosnia Puts Forward a Jewish Face". The Forward. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  4. ^ a b Franklin, Stephen (8 April 1995). "Jews, Muslims Come Together For Bosnia". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  5. ^ "Indictment against Sven Alkalaj Confirmed". 14 April 2015. Retrieved 19 December 2016.

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