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Successful Refugees and Immigrants Leading the Way, Part 11: British Platinum-Selling Pop Star Rita Ora

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Ms. Ora is regarded as a distinguished singer and fashion icon, an active philanthropist, and advocate of women's rights. Rita was born on November 26, 1990, in Pristina, Yugoslavia, or what is now present-day Kosovo. At age one, her family fled to the UK because of internal conflict in the nation. In 2009, a talent scout in the UK learned of Rita and told Roc Nation, a prominent American entertainment company, about her.In 2012, she gained her first mainstream recognition when she sang on DJ Fresh's single “Hot Right Now.” This song reached No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart and made Ms. Ora famous overnight. With the support of Jay-Z, Rita released her single “How We Do (Party),” in February 2012. It was soon followed by a second single, “R.I.P,” which features British rapper and singer Tinie Tempah. Both songs debuted at No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart.

Ms. Ora’s influence is far beyond the music and entertainment area. She is passionate about philanthropic work, in particular children’s welfare, women's rights, and the plight of refugees. For a long time, Rita has used her reach as a pop star to support and work with numerous charity organizations, such as UNICEF UK, the American Foundation for AIDS Research, the British Red Cross, a Shining World Compassion Award recipient, Sightsavers, London Fire Relief Fund, etc.

As an international popstar, Ms. Ora has served as a special guest to fundraise for cancer research and the fight against the Ebola crisis. In a speech at WE Day UK in London on March 9, 2016, an event celebrating social activism by London-area students, Ms. Ora talked about her own experiences being a refugee and the issues she and her family encountered as new immigrants.

Her most prestigious honor is from her homeland. In 2015, the then-president of Kosovo, Her Excellency Atifete Jahjaga, appointed Ms. Ora as the Honorary Ambassador of Kosovo.

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