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Pop sensation Dua Lipa has been granted Albanian citizenship

Albania's president Bajram Begaj grants Dua Lipa, born of Albanian parents, citizenship Sunday.
@BajramBegajAL/Screenshot by NPR
Albania's president Bajram Begaj grants Dua Lipa, born of Albanian parents, citizenship Sunday.

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 spreading 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 immigrant parents from Kosovo, making her first language Albanian. Her parents had always wanted to return to Kosovo, she told NPR in April, and when she was 11, they all moved back.

"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 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 difficulties in Albania. They organized the annual Sunny Hill Festival to raise money for the foundation and support youths in creative arts.

Her support for Albania sparked backlash in 2020 after the pop sensation took to Twitter and posted a photo of a "Greater Albania" flag. The controversial flag is associated with ultra-nationalists that 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 descended from migrants or colonists."

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 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 grant of citizenship comes just ahead of Albania's 110th anniversary of independence from the Ottoman Empire.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Ashley Ahn
Ashley Ahn is an intern for the Digital News and Graphics desks. She previously covered the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines for CNN's health and medical unit and the trial of Ahmaud Arbery's killers for CNN's Atlanta News Bureau. She also wrote pieces for USA TODAY and served as the Executive Editor of her college's student newspaper, The Daily Pennsylvanian. Recently graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Ahn is pursuing a master's degree in computer science at Columbia University.