Pop star Dua Lipa has been granted Albanian Citizenship for promoting global awareness of her home country through her music.
The decree awarding her Albanian citizenship was handed to her by Bajram Begaj, the president of Albania, who noted that Dua Lipa had made the country “proud with her global career and engagement in important social causes”.
The singer said it was “an indescribable great joy” to accept citizenship, according to the New Rules website.
An oath of citizenship
After posing for photos with President Begaj while at Tirana City Hall, Lipa took an oath of citizenship, gave her fingerprints and signed an application form for an identity card and passport.
The singer has made a point of honoring her heritage after finding fame with hits like ‘New Rules,’ ‘Be The One,’ ‘Don’t Start Now,’ and ‘Levitating.’
— DUA LIPA (@DUALIPA) November 27, 2022
Lipa was born in London in 1995 to Kosovan-Albanian parents who migrated to the United Kingdom around 1992 after the tensions that eventually led to the 1998-9 war began to surface.
The pop starbriefly returned to Albania as a teenager however, and in 2016 both her and her father co-founded the Sunny Hill Foundation to raise money for people in her country who were struggling.
Raised in line with her Albanian cultures
Upon settling in the Camden Town section of London, Dua Lipa’s family raised her to be aware of her culture. Although she fell in love with Western pop stars like Pink and Nelly Furtado, her family maintained Albanian as Lipa’s first language.
Though in London, her parents always intended to return to Albania, which they eventually did after Lipa left primary school at the age of 11.
Earlier this year Lipa said, “It took me a really long time to find my feet there. It’s interesting going into that at 11 years old, but I think I wouldn’t change it for the world because it really helped me become who I am”.
Yet the performer decided to return to where she grew up to pursue her dreams of launching a singing career. There, she lived with a family friend until she was 16 years of age.
In 2016, she told CNN, “I guess it was scary for [my parents], but I was constantly on the phone to them: ‘Ok, I’ve woken up. OK, I’m at school. OK, I’m back at home.’ For them, it must have been a rollercoaster of emotions. For me, it was the best time of my life”.
After co-founding the Sunny Hill Foundation in 2016, Lipa and her father then founded the Sunny Hill Festival in 2018 to raise money for the charity organization.
She wrapped up her world tour in the Albanian capital, Tirana, on Monday November 28th, with a show marking the 110th anniversary of the country’s independence from the Ottoman Empire.
Singer’s support for Albania sparked criticism
The pop star’s open support for Albania, which earned Lipa her citizenship, was not entirely taken with open arms.
In 2020, Dua Lipa sparked controversy after posting a map on Twitter which forms part of hard-line nationalist dreams for a greater Albania. The map included Kosovo and parts of Serbia, Montenegro, the Greek island of Corfu and southern Epirus, Greece. The word “Autochthonous”(Αυτόχθονος) which appears on the banner and in her post, is of Greek origin, meaning indigenous or native.
The image was in response to ultra-nationalists who believe Albania’s borders should be expanded, which was deemed highly provocative by some.
(of an inhabitant of a place) indigenous rather than descended from migrants or colonists pic.twitter.com/OD9bNmLcZ4
— DUA LIPA (@DUALIPA) July 19, 2020
Lipa nonetheless quickly moved to quash criticism, saying her post “was never meant to incite any hate”.
As she wrote in a statement, “It makes me sad and angry that my post has been willfully misinterpreted by some groups and individuals who promote ethnic separatism, something I completely reject.”
“We all deserve to be proud of our ethnicity and where we are from. I simply 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 mother country.”
Seit Lipa, the singer’s grandfather, was head of the Institute for the History of Kosovo when it was targeted for closure by Serbian law in 1992.
Later however, a special rapporteur for the United Nations called the move a sign of burgeoning human rights violations.