Thursday 22 August 2019

Ora named ambassador for Kosovo

Rita Ora at the Kosovan Embassy in London
Rita Ora at the Kosovan Embassy in London

Singer Rita Ora fought back tears today as she was named an honorary ambassador of the Republic of Kosovo.

The 24-year-old, who was born in the capital of Pristina before her family moved to London when she was one, took time out from her X Factor schedule to receive the title from the country's president Atifete Jahjaga, who described her as "Kosovo's most successful artist".

Ora - who has joined the judging panel of ITV's singing show alongside Simon Cowell, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini and Nick Grimshaw - looked visibly moved as she took to the podium at the Kosovan embassy in London, saying: "This is amazing. Thank you madam president for this honour. I am so emotional. This is so incredible for me."

The Poison singer, who was formerly a coach on BBC's The Voice, continued: "I will wear this title of honorary ambassador with great pride and responsibility.

"I didn't come into this world with any expectations. I didn't expect to be a role model, least of all being ambassador, but I'm not going to say no. This is beyond what I thought was going to happen.

"My parents brought us (my elder sister and younger brother) to this country with the hope and the dream that we could get a decent education ... which is so important for our hopes and values and for what we want to achieve in our lives.

"I grew up in Britain, a country that has given me so much for which I am grateful, but I will always have a special place in my heart for my home town and Kosovo."

Ora, who wore a navy blue dress and black heels for the occasion, was joined by her parents Vera and Besnik Sahatciu, along with former British prime minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie, who attended as special guests, and honorary ambassador Lirim Greicevci, as she received the accolade for raising the awareness of the country.

Afterwards, the singer told the Press Association: "I'm absolutely overwhelmed. I was trying to hold my tears back. This is such a huge compliment. I never expected any of this - all I wanted to do was to be a musician."

She plans to do all she can to help Kosovan youth, saying: "I will accept this role and do something for our generation and bring us together up to date with the rest of the world. I just want our youth to know that they can really make a difference."

The singer - who has had hits with How We Do (Party), RIP and I Will Never Let You Down - was driven back to Manchester for the third day of the X Factor auditions immediately after the ceremony.

"That's going amazing. We started two days ago and we start in London on Monday so it's very important," she said, adding: "Everyone's great. It's a busy day but it's exciting."

The president, who described her as a "shining light", said Ora "embodies what we are as a nation beyond talent and success that makes us all proud", and she is "the best bridge between Kosovo, the country she was born in, and Britain, the country she now calls home."

PA Media

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