On Sunday, Albania’s president gave Dua Lipa citizenship for promoting the country through her international renown.
President Bajram Begaj expressed his gratitude to Lipa, the daughter of Albanian immigrants, for her musical abilities and dedication to raising international awareness of Albania.
“Happy to give the one and only Dua Lipa the decree of Albanian citizenship,” he said. “She has made us proud with her global career and engagement in important social causes.”
“It is an indescribable great joy with such acceptance, love and everything,” Lipa told the Associated Press. “I will be an Albanian with papers too.”
Lipa was born in London in 1995 to Kosovo immigrant parents, making Albanian her first tongue. She said her parents had always wanted to return to Kosovo, and they all moved back when she was 11 years old.
“It took me a really long time to find my feet there,” she said. “It’s interesting going into that at 11 years old, but I think I wouldn’t change it for the world because it helped me become who I am.”
Lipa and her father co-founded the Sunny Hill Foundation in 2016 to help people in Albania who are struggling financially. They established the Sunny Hill Festival each year to raise funds for the organization and to help kids involved in creative arts.
In 2020, her advocacy for Albania provoked outrage as she tweeted a photo of a “Greater Albania” banner on Twitter. The contentious banner is linked to ultra-nationalists who believe Albania’s boundaries should be stretched to encompass parts of Kosovo, Serbia, Greece, and North Macedonia.
“au•toch•tho•nous adjective (of an inhabitant of a place) indigenous rather than descended from migrants or colonists,” she captioned the photo.
Lipa stated that the message was misconstrued to advocate ethnic separatist, which she “totally opposes.”
“We all deserve to be proud of our ethnicity and where we are from,” she wrote in a statement. “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.”
The citizenship award comes only days before Albania’s 110th anniversary of independence from the Ottoman Empire.