UMD Statement on the Passing of a True Friend to Macedonia, Senator Richard Lugar

The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) deeply mourns the loss of a friend and long-time ally to Macedonia, former Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana – one of America’s top statesmen and a champion for Macedonian independence. Senator Lugar passed away on April 28, 2019, at the age of 87.

Throughout his career, Senator Lugar showcased his alliance to Macedonia by working closely with the Macedonian-American community in Indiana, fighting for Macedonia’s independence and NATO membership, and pushing the U.S. President to support the same.

During the first UMD Global Conference in 2009, UMD awarded Senator Lugar the UMD INTERNATIONAL FREEDOM AWARD for his push for Macedonia’s NATO Membership and other Balkan states. Below his acceptance speech, showcases his devotion to Macedonia’s future as an U.S. ally and NATO member.

“Macedonia is a very important part of Europe, and the independence of the country was important, not only to each of us here tonight. Likewise, the constructive growth of the country as a model in terms of both political and economic maturity, in a difficult neighborhood and one of which, of that kind progress did not necessarily have been predicted, not even two decades ago … Equally important is the tie with the U.S. … The strategic relationship is important to the United States as well as to the Diaspora … It is more than a good partnership, it is a group of people who come together in this country and Macedonia, who have common ideals a regard for human rights, a regard we all have for economic advancement for all people, a tolerance for racial diversity, and likewise an excitement about young people and their possibilities.”

UMD extends its deepest condolences to his wife, Charlene Smeltzer, and entire family.

Video of Senator Lugar’s Speech in 2009: