Ibrahim Rugova was born on 2nd December 1944 at the Cerrcë village, municipality of Istog, in Kosova. On 10 January 1945, Yugoslav Communists summarily executed his father, Ukë Rugova, and his grandfather, Rrustë Rugova.
Ibrahim Rugova finished secondary schooling in Peja in 1967. He graduated at the Faculty of Philosophy - Department of Albanian Studies - of the University of Prishtina in 1971. Mr. Rugova spent an academic year (1976-77) in Paris at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes under the supervision of Prof. Roland Barthes, pursuing his scholarly interests in the study of literature, focussing on literary theory.
Ibrahim Rugova earned his Ph.D. degree in literature in 1984 at the University of Prishtina.
In 1996, Dr. Rugova was elected a correspondent member of the Kosova Academy of Arts and Sciences, the top Kosovar institution of scholarship and science.
Author of ten books, Dr. Ibrahim Rugova was initially an editor with the Prishtina-based students' newspaper "Bota e re" (New World) and the magazine "Dituria" (Knowledge, 1971-72). After that, for almost two decades, Dr. Rugova was with the Institute for Albanian Studies in Prishtina, initially as a junior, later as a senior research fellow in literature. He served some time as an editor-in-chief of the Institute’s periodical "Gjurmime albanologjike" (Albanian Research).
Dr. Rugova was elected president of the Kosova Writers Association in 1988, which was to prove as a strong nucleus of the mounting Albanian opposition movement to the Serbian/Yugoslav Communist rule in Kosova.
As an outspoken intellectual, on 23 December 1989, Dr. Rugova was elected president of the Democratic League of Kosova (LDK), the first political party in Kosova to directly challenge the ruling Communist regime. The LDK became soon the leading political force in Kosova, as it assembled the vast majority of the people, although other parties and groupings emerged in the meantime.
Under the leadership of Dr. Ibrahim Rugova, the LDK - in cooperation with other Albanian political forces in Kosova and in the former Yugoslavia, as well as the Assembly of Kosova - completed the legal framework for the institutionalization of the independence of Kosova. The Declaration of Independence (2 July 1990), the proclamation of Kosova as a republic and the adoption of its constitution (7 September 1990), the national referendum on Kosova’s independence and sovereignity conducted in late September 1991, were a prelude to the first multiparty parliamentary and presidential elections in the Republic of Kosova held on 24 May 1992. The LDK won a sweeping majority of seats in the Parliament in which three other parties were represented, whereas Dr. Ibrahim Rugova was elected President of the Republic of Kosova with an overwhelming majority of votes.
Dr. Ibrahim Rugova was re-elected President of the Republic of Kosova in the elections held in March 1998. His party, LDK won most of the seats in the Parliament of the Republic that year.
The LDK won 58% of the vote in the internationally-sponsored local elections in post-war Kosova in October 2000. In March 2002, Rugova was appointed as President by the Kosovo Assembly. In December 2004 re-elected as President of Kosova.
On 21 January 2006, lost a battle with lung cancer.
Dr. Rugova left behind a wife and three children.