CMLC2018 Puts Disability Rights, Women’s Rights, and Macedonia at Forefront

The 4th Canadian-Macedonian Leadership Conference (CMLC2018) was held in Ottawa, Ontario on September 27-29, 2018.

Organized by Canada’s faction of the United Macedonian Diaspora, and its next generation program for young leaders, Generation M, it successfully gathered a group of Macedonians from various disciplines and locations globally. UMD (Canada) and Generation M would like to cordially thank Canadiana Flowers and California Pub and Grill for their support for CMLC2018.

The conference commenced on September 27th, with three meetings taking place with Members of Parliament. The first MP was Bryan May, who is President of the Canada Macedonia Parliamentary Friendship Group, followed by MP Rob Oliphant, and finished with MP Erin O’Toole. During these meetings with the MPs, topics related to Canadian-Macedonian relations were discussed. More specifically, how our two countries’ ties can be strengthened, as well as the current situation unfolding in Macedonia, and Canada’s views on the topic.

The second day, September 28th, CMLC2018 attendees went to Parliament Hill for a private tour of the building. Places in which the tour took place were the Reading Room, Library, Peace Tower, Memorial Room, as well as the Senate and House of Commons. The attendees were honoured to be on this tour before the Parliament Building closes down for a 10-year renovation project.

This tour was followed by a reception at the Macedonian Embassy in Canada that evening, which was hosted by Ambassador Toni Dimovski. At the reception, attendees networked with the Ambassador and other members of the Ottawa Macedonian community.

On the final day of CMLC2018, September 29th, the Conference commenced with an introduction of the topics and keynote speakers by Kristina Dimitrievski. Topics which were included in the conference were Disabilities, Women’s Rights and Current Events in the Republic of Macedonia. Afterwards, UMD President, Metodija A. Koloski, gave a speech.

The first presentation was titled “Disability, Equity and The Republic of Macedonia” by Lile Pop-Nikolova. It discussed issues such as ableism, traditional mentalities towards disabilities and access to education, health and equity in both the Canadian and Macedonian communities. This evolved into a discussion as to how we can improve inclusion within our community and change methods of thinking towards persons with disabilities.

The next part of the conference was followed by a panel that was moderated by Generation M Global Co-Chair Kristina Dimitrievski regarding Women’s Rights and Macedonia, topics discussed were Romanian laws affecting Romania’s Macedonian minority, women on social media, women in STEM fields, and the concept of, “what is a ‘domakinka.’” This panel included the first Romanian female Member of Parliament, Venera Mariana Popescu, Elica Efremova, Jana Savevska, and Emilija Dimitrievski. MP Popescu spoke about legislations she has created and passed in Romanian Parliament, including the creation of a Macedonian Language Day in Romania and an increase to sports programs in schools. In the panel discussion, MP Popescu also spoke about her experience of what it is like to be a woman in politics and shared her thoughts on also being a working mother and the balance between work life and family life.

The discussion was then followed by Jana Savevska’s on her experience on social media and the attitudes towards women. Elica Efremova focused on her experience as a woman in a STEM field, and Emilija Dimitrievski discussed her experience as a first generation-born Canadian-Macedonian woman in the diaspora, and challenges young women face.

The current affairs panel featured past Generation M Global Chair Mario Hristovski who thoroughly discussed the downfalls of the Prespa Agreement and UMD’s President who briefed the audience on potential outcomes from the referendum.

This year’s Canadian-Macedonian Leadership Conference was our biggest success yet, and we are very excited to start planning next year’s CMLC2019, as well as the Macedonian-American Leadership Conference, happening in Miami in February 2019.

Thank you to all who attended and supported this event!