Since UMD’s inception in 2004, Macedonian-Australians have played an important role in setting the foundations for the creation of a leading professional grassroots civil society organisation. UMD hopes to build upon this proud tradition in the years ahead by attracting the best and brightest volunteer grassroots activists in Australia. In particular, young and established professionals who have the capacity and the passion to advance the interests of our community in Australia and internationally.

While UMD has its international headquarters in Washington D.C, Australian operations have been a great focus of attention given that Australia is home to one of the largest émigré populations of Macedonians outside of Macedonia with approximately 250,000-300,000 strong. Having arrived in waves since the early 1900s, the Macedonian community in Australia is the bedrock for relations between Australia and their ancestral homeland, Macedonia.

UMD Australia is a registered incorporated association based out of Melbourne, Victoria.

To learn more about the history, goals, and challenges of the Macedonian community in Australia, we invite you to read the August 2012 Report published by the Australian Research Council Linkage Project entitled “The Macedonian Diaspora in Australia: Current and Potential Links with the Homeland.” Please click HERE to download the report.

 

Volunteer for UMD Australia

UMD Australia is aware that a growing number of Macedonian-Australians of all ages and friends of the community are interested and available to advance the Macedonian cause by supporting one or more UMD programs. Volunteering is a great way to get involved and contribute to the better development of our community, Australia, Macedonia, and the bilateral relations between both nations.

The benefits of volunteering include knowing that you can make a difference to the Macedonian cause, as well as meeting many interesting, well-established members of our community, and participating in great networking events. Volunteers can work on a whole range of campaigns and projects, assisting with educational campaigns, implementing community development projects, media relations and so forth. Volunteering opportunities exist in: Community Engagement, Government Relations, Media, Campaigns, Youth Affairs, and Leadership Development.

If interested in volunteering, please email [email protected].

 

Australia Macedonia Parliamentary Friendship Group

The role of the Australia Macedonia Parliamentary Friendship Group (AMPFG) is to promote closer, better quality and more meaningful relations with the Republic of Macedonia and its diaspora in Australia through innovative and high impact policies, programs, projects and events that deliver better social, economic and environmental outcomes for all key stakeholders.

Below is a list of members and friends of the AMPFG.

 

Dr. Aly MP
The Hon Kevin Andrews MP
Senator Catryna Bilyk
Senator Carol Brown
Senator David Bushby
Ms Terri Butler MP
Mr Nick Champion MP
Ms Lisa Chesters MP
Ms Sharon Claydon MP
The Hon Michael Danby MP
Senator Sam Dastyari
Mr Steve Georganas MP
Mr Tim Hammond MP
Mr. Jones MP
The Hon Dr Mike Kelly AM, MP
Senator Chris Ketter
Mr Peter Khalil MP
The Hon Richard Marles MP
Ms Cathy McGowan AO, MP
Senator Bridget McKenzie
Mr Brian Mitchell MP
Mr Rob Mitchell MP
The Hon Brendan O’Connor MP
Ms Julie Owens MP
Senator the Hon Stephen Parry
Senator Helen Polley
The Hon Amanda Rishworth MP
The Hon Tony Smith MP
Ms Susan Templeman MP
Ms Maria Vamvakinou MP
Mr Andrew Wallace MP
Senator Murray Watt
Senator the Hon Penny Wong

Since the turn of the 20th century, Canada has been a major destination for Macedonian émigrés. Currently, there are an estimated 250,000 Canadians of Macedonian heritage. UMD Canada works to represent their interests and needs in collaboration with many Macedonian faith-based, cultural, and benevolent organizations that have been serving the Canadian-Macedonian community for decades, including the Macedonian Orthodox Churches, the Canadian Macedonian Heritage Society, the Canadian Macedonian Place, the Bitove Foundation, United Macedonians of Canada, and the Macedonian Film Festival.

To harness the potential of the Canadian-Macedonian community, UMD Canada, and its young leaders program, Generation M, host a Canadian-Macedonian Leadership Conference at the University of Toronto. Social gatherings include UMD’s networking events for professionals, as well as the annual UMD Rockin Party at Ashbridge’s Bay Yacht Club.

UMD Canada administers the UMD John L. N. Bitove, C.M. Macedonian Heritage Scholarship Program, which has given out close to $60,000 in merit-based scholarships to Canadian and international students.

In 2010, UMD held its 2nd Annual Global Conference in Toronto, which was attended by over 1,000 Macedonians and friends of Macedonia from close to 20 countries. The pillar of the Canadian-Macedonian community, the late John L. N. Bitove, C.M. received the first-ever UMD Lifetime Achievement Award at the conference-closing Gala.

In 2014, UMD together with the Canadian Macedonian Place held a Macedonian Tribute Ball bringing over 500 guests to honor our community’s finest Vonna Bitove (UMD Macedonian Heritage Public Service Award), and Chris Paliare (UMD Lifetime Achievement Award).

Last but not least, UMD Canada has an open-door policy and conducts bridge building and dialogue with Canadian governmental and non-governmental entities to better serve the community and strengthen Canada-Macedonia relations. In 2007, after the community collaborative efforts conducted by UMD, Canada, under the leadership of then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper, recognized Macedonia by its constitutional and rightful name. In 2010, UMD Canada led a delegation of Canadian-Macedonian leaders to Ottawa to meet and bestow upon Prime Minister Harper UMD’s highest honor the UMD Goce Delchev Award.

Volunteering with UMD Canada is an excellent way to contribute to the development of the diaspora community and bilateral Canada-Macedonia relations. If you are interested in learning more about the Canadian-Macedonian community, or in volunteering for UMD Canada, please e-mail [email protected] for more information.

Given that our ancestral homeland, Macedonia, is located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa, UMD has set as one of its top priorities to establish a presence in Europe. Throughout history, Macedonians have migrated to other European countries to seek better opportunities, to get educated, or to flee wars. Today, Europe (not including geographic Macedonia) is home to approximately 550,000-600,000.

UMD’s representatives in Europe serve in the following cities: Brussels, London, Paris, Saint Petersburg, Stuttgart, Thessaloniki (Solun), and Vienna.

UMD has plans to open its European headquarters in Brussels, the capital of the European Union and serve as the representative unitary body for all Macedonian communities throughout Europe.

If interested in helping UMD expand its efforts in Europe, please email [email protected].

The first Macedonian to arrive to the shores of the Americas was Dragan of Ohrid, who came together with Christopher Columbus in 1492. Waves of Macedonians arrived to the United States through Ellis Island starting in the 1880s and later as a result of the wars facing the Ottoman Empire and the Balkan Wars. Today, the United States is home to close to half a million Macedonian-Americans, mostly residing in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania with smaller communities in Arizona, California, and Florida.

In October 2004, a few of young Macedonian-American professionals had a meeting with the U.S. Department of State to discuss U.S.-Macedonia relations, and one of the questions posed to us was “Is there a national organization representing all Macedonian-Americans?” The answer was, “No, there isn’t one.” After that conversation, they decided to form the United Macedonian Diaspora with the goal of uniting the worldwide Macedonian Diaspora communities one step at a time. Up until UMD was formed, Macedonian-Americans did not have a professional and consistent voice in Washington, D.C., thus allowing other ethnic interest groups to freely propagate against Macedonia and our people.

Today, UMD is the leading, largest, and only organization representing Macedonian-Americans in Washington, D.C. UMD is working to educate the general public about critical issues facing our community, and U.S.-Macedonia and U.S.-Southeast Europe relations. Having an office and full-time staff just blocks away from the White House, Congress, the Department of State, the diplomatic and think tank communities, UMD is able to effectively convey all issues concerning our community.

UMD is a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization. To get involved in our work, please e-mail [email protected].

 

U.S. – Macedonia Relations

The United States officially recognized Macedonia as an independent sovereign nation in 1994. In 1995, the two countries established diplomatic relations under then Presidents Bill Clinton and Kiro Gligorov. Christopher R. Hill became the first U.S. Ambassador to Macedonia, and Ljubica Z. Acevska as the first Macedonian Ambassador to the U.S. In 2004, the U.S. formally conveyed full diplomatic recognition to Macedonia by its constitutional and rightful name, the Republic of Macedonia, under then President George W. Bush.

The United States and Macedonia enjoy excellent and strong bilateral relations based on shared values of peace, freedom, rule of law, and a free market economy. In 2008, the United States and Macedonia signed a Declaration of Strategic Partnership and Cooperation enhancing their relations.

Macedonia has steadfastly stood by the United States in its missions in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

“You’ve showed the world that it’s possible for people of different backgrounds to live together in peace,” said then U.S. President George W. Bush, in his meeting with Macedonian Prime Minister Buckovski on October 26, 2005.

“As a peace-loving member of the community of democratic nations, Macedonia did not want this war, but the regime of Hussein, despite the commitment of the international community did not leave any option but to be disarmed by force… I would like to take this opportunity to express the support of Macedonia, to the troops of the United States, the United Kingdom and other coalition forces who have put themselves in harm in order to accomplish the crucial task of disarming the regime of Saddam Hussein and bringing democracy to the long-oppressed people of Iraq,” said the late Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski, March 20, 2003.

“I look forward to the day when we can welcome Macedonia to the Alliance,” said then U.S. President Barack Obama on April 4, 2009 at the Strasbourg – Kehl NATO Summit.

 

Congressional Caucus on Macedonia and Macedonian-Americans

115th Congress

The Congressional Caucus on Macedonia and Macedonian – Americans (Macedonia Caucus) is a bi-cameral and bi-partisan group of members of Congress dedicated to maintaining and strengthening a positive and mutually beneficial relationship between the United States and Macedonia.

Is your representative already a member of the Macedonia Caucus? If not, send them a letter.

List of Macedonia Caucus members