The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) celebrated its 10th Anniversary yesterday. Congratulatory messages poured in from all corners of the world including from Macedonia’s President and Prime Minister. UMD cannot express enough its gratitude for the recognition it has received for its decade-long service to Macedonia and Macedonian communities globally.
To mark this occasion, UMD organized a Gala in Washington, D.C., which was attended by over 200 guests from around the world, including His Excellency Mile Janakieski, Macedonian Minister of Transport and Communications, His Excellency Jerry Naumoff, Macedonian Minister for Foreign Investments, the Macedonian Member of Parliament responsible for North and South America, Mr. Pavle Sazdov, the Macedonian Agency of Emigration Director, Mr. Vasil Naumov, Macedonia’s first Ambassador to the United States from 1991-2000, and UMD Gala Co-Chair, Ambassador Ljubica Z. Acevska, the Director of South Central European Office at the Department of State Mr. Thomas Yazdgerdi, the Director of Balkans at the White House National Security Council Ms. Sammie Smith, the U.S. Department of Defense’s George Antoniou, U.S. Department of State Macedonia Desk Officer Ms. Carina Canaan, Macedonian Honorary Consuls to the United States, Dana Klein, Jason Miko, and Lou Vlasho, Embassy of Macedonia Charges d’affaires, Oliver Krliu, Canadian Macedonian Place Foundation President, Ms. Marilyn Trentos, and Macedonian Businessman’s Club President, Mr. Michael Kormushoff.
During UMD’s 10th Anniversary Gala, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Macedonia to the United States, Mr. Lou Vlasho of Naples, Florida received the Global UMD Macedonian Heritage Public Service Award.
Here is a selection of the accolades:
His Excellency, President of the Republic of Macedonia, Dr. Gjorge Ivanov: Congratulations are in order for the organization’s successful work and to all of its members these past years. I would like to use this opportunity to express my satisfaction with the collaboration we achieved during this period…you represent a model of how one should support and help their homeland. For everything UMD has done till now, for all of your individual and collective accomplishments, I am pleased that I had the opportunity to personally present you the Republic of Macedonia’s highest recognition for the Diaspora, as gratitude for everything UMD has done.”
His Excellency, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Macedonia, Mr. Nikola Gruevski: UMD has grown into a respected non-governmental organization, which actively works for the promotion and protection of the interests of Macedonians worldwide, and garners support for the Republic of Macedonia in the international community, and before international policymakers. UMD’s leadership, through its tireless and selfless work, through holding numerous social, cultural, and policy events, has succeeded in being a relevant factor in uniting the Macedonian Diaspora, in representing and defending Macedonian national interests before national and international institutions, and animating the Diaspora to be even more pro-active in the reforms process of our homeland.”
Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland, Martin O’Malley: “For ten year, the United Macedonian Diaspora has worked to promote the interest and needs of Macedonians and Macedonian communities within Maryland and across the world. Through your work, you have brought Macedonians together and strengthened the connections between the Republic of Macedonia and other nations.”
Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan: “Michigan is home to over 125,000 Macedonian-Americans…we are grateful for their service and contributions to our state’s cultural and economic vitality.”
Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey: “Within the last decade, UMD has organized four global conferences, bringing people together to exchange ideas and increasing people’s awareness of Macedonia’s rich history.”
Governor Terence R. McAuliffe of Virginia: “I commend you for all you have done to serve unserved people in Macedonia through your extensive humanitarian work, including your support of scholarships for students in Macedonia and the United States.”
Connecticut Senator Christopher S. Murphy: “Over the past decade, UMD has not only ensured that the Macedonian-American community has a voice in our nation, but has also expanded globally to Australia, Canada and Europe, making it one of the leading organizations promoting the people of Macedonia.”
Illinois Senator Mark Steven Kirk: “UMD has taken a leading role in advocating for the rights and interests of the Macedonian American community. In Illinois alone, the Macedonian American community stands 75,000 strong, and plays a critical role in weaving together the political, economic and social fabric of this great state.”
Former Ohio Senator George Voinovich: “I am grateful for the support that your organization gave me while I was a member of the United States Senate in our efforts to have Macedonia become a member of NATO and the European Union.”
Congresswoman Candice S. Miller of Michigan: “Since 2004, the United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) has served as the lead international organization for the needs and interests of Macedonians and Americans of Macedonian heritage. UMD has been a staunch advocate for Macedonian causes on both a national and global scale.”
Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. of New Jersey: “As a result of your efforts, the Congressional Caucus on Macedonia and Macedonian-Americans can further build on the strong friendship of the United States and Macedonia.”
Australian Member of Parliament Luke Simpkins: “UMD has become a pillar of support for the large Macedonian Diaspora…I admire the efforts you have made over the past decade which have led to a greater promotion of the interests and needs of Macedonians around the world.”
Macedonian Member of Parliament Pavle Sazdov: “Macedonia today is a candidate for NATO membership and we are awaiting the start of the negotiation process for full time membership in the European Union…Imagine where Macedonia would have been today if we had this organization, this kind of representatives in Washington D.C., when Macedonia proclaimed its independence.”
United States Ambassador to Macedonia Paul D. Wohlers: “It is my pleasure to recognize UMD for its decade-long role in helping move Macedonia closer to its goals, including full integration into the Euro-Atlantic Community…I urge all of you, collectively and individually, to remain engaged on Macedonia’s issues and to further Macedonia’s economic and political development by working to advance the democratic ideals and reforms that are needed to move Macedonia forward.”
American-Canadian Macedonian Orthodox Diocese Metropolitan Metodij: “UMD has become almost a household word in the Macedonian community…Your leadership and international engagement continues to contribute to the well-being of Republic of Macedonia and the Macedonian people all over the world. Your spirit, drive and hard work made your organization what it is today – a modern respected international NGO, capable of facing the challenges of the modern era, while deeply rooted in the traditional values of the Macedonian people.”
U.S. Department of State Office of South Central Europe Director Thomas K. Yazdgerdi: “Our people-to-people connections are the lifeblood of our bond. Through your work—from local communities and university campuses in states like Michigan, New Jersey and Ohio to the halls of Congress – UMD is building new bridges between Macedonia and the U.S.”
Click HERE to read the congratulatory messages in their entirety.