National Figures

Kosovo is known for its rich national and cultural heritage. Some of the greatest figures to have ever walked Kosovo, are precisely the ones who have made drastic changes in history, and remain honored nationally. From academics to sports and singers, fighters to peacemakers, Kosovo is a nest of historical pride.



Isa Boletini (15 January 1864 – 23 (24) January 1916) was a Kosovo Albanian nationalist figure and guerrilla fighter in the Ottoman Kosovo Vilayet. As a young man, he joined the Albanian nationalist League of Prizren and participated in a battle against Ottoman forces. After this, he was loyal to the Ottoman sultan and built a power base in the Mitrovica area. He served as the commander of Ottoman palace guards in Istanbul for four years (1902–06), returning with a land grant, officer rank and the command of the local militia. In 1909 he and other Kosovo Albanian chieftains revolted against the Young Turk imposition of taxes on Muslims. Next, he took an important role in the 1910 revolt against Ottoman rule, while in the First Balkan War (1912) negotiated with both sides, then fought against the Montenegrin and Serbian armies in Kosovo. He participated in the Albanian Declaration of Independence in Vlorë (November 1912), and was then assigned as a diplomatic agent to the British (1913), and bodyguard of Prince William of Albania (1914). He was killed during a shoot-out in Podgorica under unclear circumstances in January 1916.



Adem Jashari (28 November 1955 – 7 March 1998) was one of the founders of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), a Kosovo Albanian freedom fighter who fought for the rights of and secession of Kosovo from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia during the 1990s. Adem Jashari was active since early 90’s and participated in different movements contributing to the KLA and final liberation of Kosovo. After several unsuccessful attempts to capture or kill him, Serbian forces launched an attack against the family of Adem Jashari in village Prekaz in March 1998. The battle that followed resulted in the deaths of 58 members of Jashari’s family, including that of Adem Jashari, his wife, son and the rest of the family members aging from 3 years old to 90 years old family members. Seen as the “father of the KLA”, Adem Jashari is considered a symbol of Kosovo independence. Adem Jashari was awarded with the title “Hero of Kosovo” after the war. The National Theatre in Prishtina and Prishtina International Airport have been named after him.



Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu (Albanian ethnicity), known as Mother Teresa was born Shkup – Skopje on 26 August 1910. Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic Religious Congregation, which in 2012 consisted of over 4,500 sisters and was active in 133 countries. Mother Teresa recieved numerous honours, including the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize. In 2003, she was beatified as “Blessed Teresa of Calcutta”. A second miracle was credited to her intercession by Pope Francis, in December 2015, paving the way for her to be recognised as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church.



Ibrahim Rugova, (born on Dec. 2, 1944—died on Jan. 21, 2006) was a Kosovo Albanian nationalist writer and politician who devoted his public life to peaceful attempts to gain freedom and indepedence of Kosovo. He and a group of academics formed the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), with Ibrahim Rugova as it’s leader. The LDK declared the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo, and in 1992 Rugova was elected president. Because of his role in Kosovo’s history, Ibrahim Rugova was known as the “Father of the Nation” and “Gandhi of the Balkans,” awarded, among others, the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, and was declared a Hero of Kosovo.



Ismail Kadare ( born on 28 January 1936) is an Albanian novelist and poet. He has been a leading literary figure in Albania since the 1960s. He focused on short stories until the publication of his first novel, The General of the Dead Army. In 1996, he became a lifetime member of the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences of France. In 1992, he was awarded the Prix mondial Cino Del Duca;in 2005, he won the inaugural Man Booker International Prize; in 2009, the Prince of Asturias Award of Arts; in 2015, the Jerusalem Prize, and in 2016, he was Commandeur de la Légion d’Honneur recipient. He has divided his time between Albania and France since 1990.Kadare has been mentioned as a possible recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature several times. His works have been published in about 30 languages.



Nexhmije Pagarusha (born on 7 May 1933) is a popular Albanian singer and actress from Kosovo. Her musical creative work lasted for almost 40 years. Her interpretations in folk music were exactly as perfect as her interpretations in the classic music, especially opera. Pagarusha is loved by the music critics and adored from the music admirers. She is called Bilbili i Kosovës (Nightingale of Kosovo), queen of Albanian music, Madam Butterfly, etc. The song, Baresha (English: The Shephardess), is one of her most popular songs. She was awarded the “Honor of the Nation” award (Albanian: Nderi i Kombit) from Albanian president Bujar Nishani in November 2012.



Majlinda Kelmendi (born on 9 May 1991) is a Kosovar Albanian judoka.Since 2013, Majlinda stands first in the international rankings by the International Judo Federation in the -52 kg category. On 24 December 2014, the President of Kosovo , Atifete Jahjaga decorated Majlinda with “Presidential Medal of Merit”. On 26 August 2014, Majlinda Kelmendi maintained the Judo world title, winning the 2014 World Judo Championships. On 5 September 2015 she won the gold medal at the European Championship in Slovakia.On 6 February 2016, she won the gold medal at Grand Slam Paris, making her third consecutive title after winning in 2014 and 2015. On 21 April, 2016, she earned a gold medal at the 2016 European Judo Championships in Kazan, Russia.



Shaqiri was born in Gjilan on 10 October 1991, to Kosovar Albanian parents. He immigrated to Switzerland in 1992 with his parents and three siblings. He is a Swiss professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Premier League club Stoke City, and the Switzerland national team. He began his career at FC Basel, winning honors including three Swiss Super League titles, before moving to Bayern Munich. In January 2015, he moved to Inter Milan, and seven months later to Stoke City for a club record £12 million. Shaqiri has earned over 50 caps for Switzerland. He represented the nation at the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups.



Granit Xhaka was born in 27 September 1992, in Basel, Switzerland to Kosovo Albanian parents.He is a Swiss professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for English club Arsenal.Granit Xhaka has played for Swiss youth squad at the U-17 level. He participated in the Under-17 World Cup in 2009 in Nigeria. The Swiss team won the World Cup.He played his first game for the Switzerland national under-19 football team on 25 May 2010, as a substitute, as the team beatAustria national under-19 football team 3–2 in the Schwaz,Austria. He scored his first goal for the U-19 on 7 September 2010 as the team won 3–0 against the Czech Republic.He has been a full international for Switzerland since 2011, and has gained more than 30 caps and was included in their squad for the 2014 FIFA  World Cup.



Dua Lipa is an English singer, songwriter, and model. Lipa was born in London, to Albanian parents from Kosovo who had left Pristina in the 1990s. She attended Sylvia Young Theatre School, part-time, before moving to Kosovo with her family in 2008. Lipa grew up listening to her father, singer Dukagjin Lipa. Her musical career began at age 14, when she began covering songs by other artists on YouTube. In 2015, she was signed with Warner Music Group and released her first single soon after. In December 2016, a documentary about Lipa was commissioned by The Fader magazine, titled See in Blue. In January 2017, Lipa won the EBBA Public Choice Award. Her self-titled debut studio album was released on 2 June 2017. The album spawned seven singles, including two UK top-10 singles “Be the One” and “Idgaf” and the UK number-one single “New Rules”, which also reached number six in the US. In 2018, Lipa won two Brit Awards for British Female Solo Artist and British Breakthrough Act. In 2019, she won two Grammys for Best Dance Recording and British single.