Balkan Affairs Adviser
Shirley A. Cloyes
Shirley Cloyes DioGuardi is Balkan Affairs Adviser to the Albanian American Civic League, a position that she has held since 1995.
Cloyes has written and lectured widely about the Balkan conflict and has made more than forty trips to Southeast Europe, including fifteen to Kosova since the end of the war in 1999. Together with her husband, former Congressman and Civic League President Joseph DioGuardi, Cloyes has worked with members of the U.S. Congress to bring lasting peace and stability to the Balkans. She has assisted House and Senate members responsible for U.S. foreign policy in preparing legislation on the Balkans, and she has testified before the Committee on International Relations in the U.S. House of Representatives on five occasions—in 1996, regarding contested elections in Albania, in 1998 in support of U.S. ground troop deployment to Kosova, in May 2003 on the future of Kosova, in October 2003 on the status of Albanians in Montenegro, and in May 2005 on the current and future status of Kosova. At the request of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, she submitted testimony at the July 2004 hearing on “U.S. Foreign Policy toward Southeast Europe: Unfinished Business in the Balkans.”
In 1998, Cloyes developed the Civic League’s strategy to oppose the international attempt to unfairly criminalize the Kosova Liberation Army. During the 1999 NATO bombing campaign against Serbia, she appeared, individually and with Joe DioGuardi, on more than fifty radio and television broadcasts. During this period, she also worked with the lawyers who prepared the indictment of Slobodan Milosevic for genocide in Bosnia and Kosova that led to his extradition to the War Crimes Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague.
Earlier, in 1995, Cloyes proposed the first Congressional hearing on the Albanian dimension of the Balkan conflict, which included representatives from all of the Albanian lands in the former Yugoslavia. It was held in conjunction with the historic addition of Albania to the “Righteous among Nations” section of the U.S. Memorial Holocaust Museum in a public ceremony in Washington, DC—the result of years of work on the part of DioGuardi andCloyes to bring international attention to the Albanian rescue of Jews during the Holocaust.
Cloyes is also the creator of “Besa: An International Albanian Oral History project,” which began in 2004 with the production of a videotape on the role that Albanians played in rescuing every Jew who lived in Albania or who sought asylum there during the Nazi Holocaust. Her “Jewish Survival in Albania & the Ethics of ‘Besa’” was published in the January/February 2006 issue of Congress Monthly, the journal of the American Jewish Congress. In 2010, she presented a paper to the International Oral History Association Conference, held that year in Prague, about the pivotal role that Kosovar Albanians played in getting Jews to safety in Albania.
Cloyes is the former publisher of Lawrence Hill Books, specializing in domestic and international politics. In 1995, she published Yugoslavia’s Ethnic Nightmare, the first book on the causes and consequences of the Balkan conflict written from the perspective of Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian, and Macedonian journalists at the forefront of opposing
Slobodan Milosevic’s genocidal warfare in the former Yugoslavia. Before that, she was marketing director and editorial consultant at Orbis Books and an editor at The Seabury Press. While at Seabury, she coauthored a book with the late renowned German theologian Dorothee Soelle.
Cloyes was raised in Westfield, New Jersey, and graduated from Westfield High School as a member of the National Honor Society. She holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Oberlin College and a Master of Divinity, specializing in systematic theology and culture, from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Between her second and third years at Union, she studied the Indonesian language at the University of California at Berkeley and then taught for two years at Satya Wacana University in Central Java, where she directed a program on interethnic relations and development.