Dear Friend and Supporter of the United Macedonian Diaspora,
As we count our blessings for the past year, we hope that you remember to give thanks for the United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD). During this season of giving, we ask that you consider pledging financial support to directly help our unceasing work of addressing the interests and needs of Macedonians and Macedonian communities throughout the world.
Founded two years ago to address the need for a Macedonian voice in Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States of America, UMD has become the leader in deepening U.S.A.-Macedonia, U.N.-Macedonia, and NATO-Macedonia relationships. UMD is at the forefront of a comprehensive, non-partisan, Diaspora-wide effort to irrevocably ensure Macedonia’s freedom, democracy, and security.
In 2006, the United Macedonian Diaspora was busy monitoring Congressional legislation pertaining to the Republic of Macedonia and Macedonian-Americans, publishing fact sheets in regards to certain legislation, and encouraging Macedonian-American communities to contact their legislators and inform them of their views. In addition to myriad efforts by UMD representatives to educate policy makers on Capitol Hill, our volunteers also attended a briefing in Congress where the Macedonian Ambassador to the United States testified regarding Congressional Resolutions 521 and 306.
On numerous occasions, UMD representatives met with American and Macedonian government officials, including the U.S. Ambassador to Macedonia, U.S. Congressional representatives, Southeast Europe Desk Officers at the U.S. Department of State, and past and present Macedonian Presidents, Prime Ministers, and the Ministers of Economy, Defense, and Foreign Affairs. We advocate strengthening of U.S.- Macedonia relationships and economic partnerships, name recognition, territorial integrity, civil rights issuesfor Macedonians in neighboring countries, as well as NATO and EU integration.
In order to support and encourage the U.S. and NATO member states’ support for Macedonia’s membership in NATO, our organization launched a campaign “Macedonia in NATO 2008.” The UMD efforts were instrumental in the successful passage of the NATO Freedom Consolidation Act of 2006 bill by the U.S. Senate. This bill endorses further enlargement of NATO, provides financial support, and facilitates the timely admission of Macedonia, Croatia, and Albania into NATO.
This fall, our organization focused on the ongoing discrimination and human rights impairment by government authorities over the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria. To adequately publicize this issue our organization launched an EU-advocacy campaign website http://www.macedoniancommunity.com to educate EU parliamentarians about the civil and human rights violations Bulgaria continues to inflict upon its Macedonian national minority. Macedonians worldwide responded to this initiative, and over 3 million letters were sent in a period of a week! Our organization will continue to work tirelessly to support basic human rights for Macedonians in Bulgaria, as well as the other neighboring countries.
By providing tours to local monuments and museums, and arranging a visit to Capitol Hill, UMD volunteers assisted the State Department with the visit by four students from Delchevo, Macedonia. These outstanding individuals won the State Department’s Doors to Diplomacy Award 2006 for their website Fight Poverty.
To further the advancement of traditional Macedonian socio-cultural heritage, UMD, in collaboration with the Embassy of Macedonia and the Macedonian Center of New York, held literary evenings featuring a presentation on Recent Works that Promote Macedonian History and Culture in the United States by Dr. Michael Seraphinoff. Furthermore, our organization was present during the Macedonian Arts Council’s commemoration and unveiling of the monument in dedication to Stojan Christowe, a distinct Macedonian immigrant, who served in the Vermont State House of Representatives and the Vermont State Senate. Christowe’s book This Is My Country was a personal favorite of former U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Responding to the need of the Ristevski family from Prilep, UMD held a charity evening at the Embassy of Macedonia in Washington, D.C. in April 2006, to benefit their two young children, Andrijana and Mende, in their fight against a rare, recessive genetic disorder called Ataxia Telangiectasia. Donations are still welcome; information how you can directly help this family is posted on our website.
Our website www.umdiaspora.org has become the prominent place to access current information pertaining to Macedonia and Macedonian issues. During the month of November, we welcomed several thousand visits per day, and site visits peaked to over 11,000 on November 24th. To further enhance our website, we recently enabled a direct payment page where you can provide easy and secure credit card donations and membership enrolment. Our website continues to be ad-free so that your visit is more pleasant.
Looking forward to the future, we would like to build on our advocacy, cultural awareness, and humanitarian aid programs, while enhancing our efforts in promoting economic development in Macedonia, uniting the fractured Diaspora groups, and strengthening the organizational structure of UMD. We hope to establish a formal Board of Directors, hold annual conferences, increase our activities in Australia, publish the fist edition of UMD Quarterly, strengthen the student-focused programs (including internships and scholarship), and in collaboration with North American-based biweekly newspaper Makedonski Glas, organize the first Macedonian Festival in New Jersey.
There is so much more that the United Macedonian Diaspora would like to and can accomplish with your involvement. United, We Can! truly describes our philosophy and in that spirit, we invite you to join us by becoming a member today.* When you become a member of our organization, you will be making a difference in Macedonia’s future by providing the necessary resources to help Macedonians meet their continuing challenges.
If you have any questions, please call (202) 294-3400, or e-mail, [email protected].
We would like to thank you for your continued support, we hope for strengthened partnerships, and we wish to you and your family a joyous Christmas and Holiday Season and a wonderful New Year.
The United Macedonian Diaspora