Albanian artist Dua Lipa has been honored with the Leadership Award at the Atlantic Council in Washington for her music career and commitment to philanthropic causes, including empowering the next generation of Balkan leaders and musicians through the Sunny Hill Foundation and Festival.
Dua started her speech on the 60th anniversary of the Atlantic Council with the Albanian word "Mirëmbrëma". The artist expressed extremely happy for the award, as he emphasized that it is dedicated to the youth of Kosovo. In addition to talking about her work and plans with "Sunny Hill", Dua publicly invited the leaders of the European Union to make Kosovo part of this union so that our country can develop economically and culturally alongside neighboring countries.
Dua, already announced as the "Outstanding Artist of the Year 2021", in this event was accompanied by the President of Kosovo, Vjosa Osmani.
Dua Lipa's speech at the Atlantic Council
"I stand before you as a child of Kosovo, who was born and raised in Great Britain and today I am here as a guest of the United States of America.
I come from a place that many of you have certainly heard but probably not in the way I will describe it now. I want to share less of you from my Kosovo. Kosovars like parties, which is not surprising because about 50% of our population is under 25 years old. Officially I am elderly in Kosovo!
I recently heard a story about a tourist who visited Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, who had been awakened until recently by a crowd of people sitting in a bar near the hotel where she was staying. The next morning she asked at the reception where the whole thing happened and they answered it was just MONDAY.
Prishtina has a wonderful coffee culture. Forget the habit of taking coffee with you, dress nicely, grab a chair and just watch the world go by. It is very European.
For a small country Kosovo is full of creative people and I can say many examples, but today some of them are here. "Awakened" a wonderful cast film that has won the three biggest awards this year at the Sundance Film Festival. And, wait to see his success at the Oscars. Pristina will also hold the Manifesto next year which is a festival of contemporary culture and art. And we will be able to see the city filled with public art with various exhibitions and installations.
And big media journalists speculate on what might be in Kosovo's water that is bringing out so many successful music artists. All I can say is give us a chance and we will excel.
In 2018 my dad and I created the “Sunny Hill” festival in Prishtina and very soon it became one of the biggest music festivals in the region. It has been a long-standing dream of ours to bring great artists to Kosovo, not only for their fans to get acquainted with the big bands, but also for these bands to experience our wonderful and diverse music. The second part of our dream will soon become a reality and I could never be more excited than today to share with you my plans for the SunnyHill Foundation.
We have signed a contract with the well-known company MOU to establish the Sunny Hill creative center in Prishtina and we very much hope that it will start operating next summer. It will be a creative space where young people will learn about the music industry and about performances. For those who want to enter this industry there will be various workshops and visits of artists and producers from all over the world who will show what they have learned and for others the center will be a place where they will learn to raise self-confidence, learn new things and most importantly have fun.
The first concert I went to was that of the band "Method Man and Redman" was in Prishtina and I was only 13 years old. It was a bit unusual, very cool and ultimately not so suitable for my age. But the truth is that I had no other choice. Kosovo is a small market to be part of major world tournaments. So we will now bring artists to Kosovo. And without exception, all those we have invited to perform at the Sunny Hill festival, from Miley Cyrus to Clavin Harris, have been amazed by the experience. They stated that the experience in Kosovo was one of the best as the energy was very good, the audience was very loud and the hospitality was very warm. The best performers say shows that have this kind of great energy are the best. And somehow this always happens on Sunny Hill.
However the appearance can be deceptive, in many ways life in Kosovo is difficult. And undeniably carries the wounds of war. Even for those who managed to escape the war. My parents left Kosovo in 1992 at a time when the situation was tense and fortunately we managed to create a good life in London. There were years that they knew they could not go home, this has certainly caused them so much pain that we can only imagine. Sometimes when I talk to my parents about that time, they can talk about it for hours. And sometimes they say they feel like they have 300 years of life.
For me to have this dual identity has really been very positive, I am always pampered by people's comments calling me to what they call the work ethic of an immigrant and it really is a gift that has been passed down from generation to generation generation for multiple generations.
But despite the determination and fighting spirit it takes time to heal and start all over again.
Today, Kosovo continues to face many challenges and it is the younger generations who suffer the consequences.
Young people struggle to find work and their opportunities are hampered by constraints that make travel difficult for work or pleasure. After meeting all the criteria, the European Commission actually recommended visa liberalization for Kosovo more than three years ago. So do you think we can achieve that now ?!
Kosovo is also the youngest country in Europe in another way. They are only 13 short years on our path to independence. And as part of a strong international community we will thrive emotionally. We will thrive both economically and culturally. It's in our genes. Would not it be appropriate if Kosovo could take its place within that peaceful union, thrive economically alongside our neighbors, and heal the wounds of the recent conflict.
With this vision in mind, I accept this award with gratitude for all the young people of Kosovo "./21Media