Ibrahim Rugova (Albanian pronunciation: [ib?ahim ?ugova]; 2 December 1944 – 21 January 2006) was the first President of the partially recognised Republic of Kosova, serving from 1992 to 2000 and again from 2002 until his death in 2006, and a prominent Kosovo Albanian political leader, scholar, and writer.
He oversaw a popular struggle for independence, advocating a peaceful resistance to Yugoslav rule and lobbying for U.S.
and European support, especially during the Kosovo War.
Owing to his role in Kosovo's history, Rugova has been dubbed "Father of the Nation" and "Gandhi of the Balkans".
Rugova founded the political party Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) in 1989.
The LDK, which had the support of 90% of the ethnic Albanian population of Kosovo, advocated for Kosovo's independence by peaceful means.
The party established a shadow government that provided basic government and social services to the Kosovo Albanian population, including education and health care, in effect creating a parallel state.
In May 1992, Rugova was elected President of this parallel state.
In March 2002, with the United Nations Mission in Kosovo administering the province, he was elected President of Kosovo.
He held this position until his death in January 2006, and was posthumously declared a Hero of Kosovo.