@BajramBegajAL/Screenshot by NPR
Albania’s president granted citizenship to pop star Dua Lipa on Sunday for promoting the country through her international fame.
President Bajram Begaj said he was happy to recognize Lipa, the daughter of Albanian immigrants, for her musical talents and contribution to Albania’s international fame.
“Happy to give Albanian citizenship to the one and only Dua Lipa,” he said. “She has made us proud with her global career and commitment to important social causes.”
“It’s an indescribable joy with so much acceptance, love and everything,” Lipa told the Associated Press. “I will also be an Albanian with papers.”
Lipa was born in London in 1995 to immigrant parents from Kosovo, so her mother tongue was Albanian. Her parents always wanted to go back to Kosovo, she told NPR in April, and when she was 11, they all moved back.
“It took me a long time to find my feet there,” she said. “It’s interesting to get into that at age 11, but I think I wouldn’t change it for the world because it really helped me become who I am.”
Lipa and her father co-founded the Sunny Hill Foundation in 2016 to raise money for people with financial problems in Albania. They organized the annual Sunny Hill Festival to raise money for the foundation and to support youth in creative arts.
Her support for Albania sparked backlash in 2020 after the pop sensation took to Twitter and posted photo of a “Greater Albania” flag. The controversial flag is associated with ultra-nationalists who believe Albania’s borders should be expanded to include parts of Kosovo, Serbia, Greece and North Macedonia.
She captioned the photo, “au•toch•tho•nous adjective (of an inhabitant of a place) indigenous rather than descendant of migrants or settlers.”
Lipa said the post was misinterpreted to promote ethnic separatism, which she said she “completely rejects”.
“We all deserve to be proud of our ethnicity and where we come from,” she wrote in a pronunciation. “I just want my country to be represented on a map and to be able to speak with pride and joy about my Albanian roots and my motherland.”
The granting of citizenship comes just ahead of Albania’s 110e anniversary of independence from the Ottoman Empire.