Dua Lipa’s young, pluralistic Kosovo invited to democracy summit


Kosovo will be invited to attend the forthcoming Summit for Democracy, Voice of America (VOA) has learned from sources in Washington, Gazeta Express reports.

Civil society groups this week sent a letter asking  US authorities to reconsider after Kosovo had not been invited.

“We find the initiative very important from a strategic perspective at a global level, and highly relevant to our efforts locally”, said Agon Maliqi (below), one of the signatories of the letter and a former Reagan-Fascell fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

“We find the exclusion of Kosovo from the platform to be further contributing to Kosovo’s isolation”, said Maliqi, creator of sbunker.net (right), an Albanian language blog giving voice to a younger generation of scholars and activists from the Western Balkans.

“We are the youngest country in Europe, just 13 short years into our journey of independence,” said Dua Lipa, who expressed pride in her “dual identity” — born in Britain to Kosovar parents who fled the Balkan wars – as the Grammy Award-winning Artist and founder of the Sunny Hill Foundation – received an Atlantic Council Distinguished Leadership Award.

“While it still breaks my heart that the United Kingdom chose to leave the European Union, rather than dwell on this, I would rather recall that the first purpose of the EU is to secure peace through unity,” she said (above). “Wouldn’t it be fitting if Kosovo could take its place within that peaceful union, thrive economically alongside our neighbors and heal the hurt of recent conflict with that vision in mind?”

“Dua Lipa’s grandfather, an historian, lost his job when he refused to rewrite history under occupation,” said National Endowment for Democracy President and CEO Damon Wilson,  presenting the award. “Her parents left to seek a more secure life as Slobodan Milosevic stoked ethnic tensions.”

“In the years that followed, the people of Kosovo endured war. But with US and European support together, they saw their country emerge as a vibrant if at times tumultuous democracy,” he added.

The speeches at the Atlantic Council’s 60th birthday anniversary and leadership awards dinner Wednesday night were so good, POLITICO reports, that you should watch them in full here.

“Our support remains crucial for a prospering, pluralistic, tolerant – and party-loving – Kosovo to find its home – alongside its neighbors – in a Europe whole, free, and at peace,” the NED’s Wilson tweeted. 

The awards – “Washington’s Oscars” – salute exemplary individuals who have contributed to the Council’s mission of shaping the global future. Other 2021 Honorees are H.E. Ursula von der Leyen, President, European Commission; Albert Bourla, DVM, PH.D., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Pfizer; Özlem Türeci, M.D., Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer, BioNTech; and Professor Ugur Sahin, M.D., Co-Founder and CEO, BioNTech.

“Dua is an inspiration to young women around the world, which is why it is so fitting that she’s accompanied this evening by President Vjosa Osmani of Kosovo, the youngest elected head of state in the world,” the NED’s Wilson added.

“Kosovo is a beacon of hope and a beacon of democracy,” said Osmani. “Just thirteen years on from our declaration of independence, today we have the kind of institutional stability that many countries can only dream of.”

USAID Administrator Samantha Power met and thanked Osmani for Kosovo’s generous support for Afghan evacuees, and the two discussed how Kosovars’ own history of mass displacement has informed their commitment to stand with Afghans in need today.

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