Maleski was born on 14 November 1946 in Skopje, then in FPR Yugoslavia. He is a son of Vlado Maleski, who wrote the lyrics of the Macedonian national anthem. Denko Maleski received his Master of Laws from the University of St. Cyril and Methodius in Skopje in 1977, then his PhD in International Relations from the University of Ljubljana in 1981. In 1985, he was elected Dean of the Faculty of Interdisciplinary Studies and Journalism at the University of Skopje. During 1990–91, Maleski was a visiting Fulbright professor at Bowling Green University in Ohio, USA. During 1998–99, he led a research program at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Studies at Princeton University, USA. Denko Maleski was the first foreign minister of then Republic of Macedonia from 1991 to 1993, and ambassador to the United Nations, from 1993 to 1997. He is a professor at the Law Faculty at the University of Skopje and the director of the postgraduate studies of "International Politics and International Law". He is the author of numerous scientific publications, articles and essays. Maleski claims that the separate Macedonian nation was formed in the middle of the 20th century as an offshoot of the Bulgarian people:
We are past the time when Macedonian history was protected by the powerful Yugoslav federation and could without pressure and selectively choose the building blocks of the Macedonian nation, and could cross out the mentions of "Bulgarian" and write "Macedonian" instead. You can now go to the New York Times and read their archives from 1903, where they write about the rebellion of the Bulgarian population in Kruševo on Ilinden. We have to adapt to a historic truth that in the past we were part of a same people.
- Dimitar Bechev, Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Macedonia, Scarecrow Press, 2009, ISBN 0810862956, p. 140.
- JPRS Report: East Europe, Issues 134-15, Joint Publications Research Service, United States. Foreign Broadcast Information Service, 1992, p. 40.
- Македонски писатели, Друштво на писатели на Македонија, Скопје, 2004, стр. 146.
- Biographical Note.
- Македонска енциклопедија, том II. Скопје, Македонска академија на науките и уметностите, 2009. ISBN 978-608-203-024-1. с. 903.
- Short biography on Eurozine.com.
- Kaychev, N. Being Macedonian: Different types of ethnic identifications in the contemporary Republic of Macedonia. Macedonia in 20th and 21st century (2014), No. 30, pp. 123-132. Published By: Księgarnia Akademicka Politeja. Retrieved October 16, 2020, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/24919720
- Macedonia’s first Foreign Minister Denko Maleski says the country should review its history in line with the Bulgarian historical narrative, Republica.mk, 28.04.2020