I am Irena Joveva, born on February 26th 1989 in Kranj, currently residing in Ljubljana. To parents who – in search of better living conditions – had moved to Slovenia from (now North) Macedonia more than a decade before. I grew up in a typical working-class family in Jesenice that nurtured both cultures equally; Slovenian and Macedonian while being completely aware of my homeland – Slovenia.
I would never change my childhood. We were neighbours, man to men, overlooking the person’s origins. Therefore my faith in co-existence is possible despite differences will never be lost. It is an experience that many do not have or don’t want to have.
Growing up, I quickly identified reading as my passion, which developed my love for writing. I met with journalism in elementary school when I was involved in the creation of the Macedonian Cultural Society’s newspaper Clover (orig. Detelina). At the time, I was also presenting various cultural events of the Association, consequently gaining experience in public speaking.
After finishing Economics High School in Radovljica, I enrolled in the Faculty of Social Sciences, where I graduated in International Relations. In 2017, I completed my Master’s Degree in Global Studies, with the thesis: European Union Relations on the Macedonian National Question. Many see the start of student life as take off into freedom. For me, this period was tainted by the experience of illness in my family. I benefited from it in terms of realisation that sometimes it is worthwhile to postpone your ambitions for some time, to help your loved ones. Unfortunately, illness took more than it gave me. Just after I turned 20, my father and I were left alone.
The Studies gave me theoretical knowledge, knowledge of the domestic and international political system. However, journalism has turned me to reality. As a journalist, I was learning about, and checking up, the structure of our political system up close, for eight years.
In 2011, a combination of circumstances led me to join the editorial board of the Slovenian Press Agency. I mainly covered the topics of internal politics and the public sector. At the end of 2014, I was honoured by receiving the Watchdog Award of the Watchdog Association of journalists as debutant of the year. They described me as a resourceful and insightful young woman who reports professionally and comprehensively as well as understandable to those who do not follow complex content daily.
The award played an essential role with the invitation to join the editorial board for 24ur on POP TV, where I started working in February 2015. It took me only a few months to become one of the essential people in the team. I reported on foreign policies, European topics, prominent issues such as migration, arbitration between Slovenia and Croatia, protests across Europe, and to successfully report on the topics, you need to know everything about them. I believe in the purpose of my former profession. I was particularly interested in the effect of changes in society on people’s lives.
Believe me; it was not an easy decision to run in the European elections. Moreover, the campaign was even more difficult. Now, it is all history. I listen to people, and I know what people expect from politics. These expectations remain my guiding light.
I am a girl with a broad smile who prefers to start my day with coffee. I would describe myself as a sensitive but analytical and responsible altruist all the while being a much more courageous perfectionist with a realistic view of the world. I do my best work under pressure, and when I start doing something, I do it right.