This month, the United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) concluded its 2016 International Policy and Diplomacy Fellowship program. The program is in its 8th year and was based at the Washington D.C. office. Fellows conducted 1 to 6 month fellowships at UMD’s office and served as important resources for the Macedonian diaspora community. Over the course of the year, students embarked on an exciting journey to learn, shape, and create global policy.
UMD’s core mission promotes Macedonian interests abroad and strengthens international dialogue while addressing the interests and needs of Macedonians worldwide. UMD is proud to be a leader in the Macedonian diaspora community and seeks to educate and inspire future leaders through its fellowship program.
UMD is excited to announce that the 2016 cohort included: Christine Allston, Sahna Anand, Amber Castro, Nicholas DeMichele, Dianna Green, Kristijan Fidanovski, Liam Gallagher, Gavin Kopel, Shannon McKelvie, George W. Myers, Mama Sow, Veronika Tomova, and Alexis Zickafoose, and Luka Petrusevski working remotely from Canada. Fellowship work focused on a robust schedule of both on site projects and as well as daily briefings and events.
UMD’s President, Metodija Koloski, helps fellows gain first-hand insight to global policy and international dialogue by working directly with various leaders from Macedonian, European, and American policymakers. Fellows participate in professional development sessions, events, and briefings with officials from the White House, U.S. Department of State, Congress, Macedonian Embassy, broader diplomatic community, and the non-governmental/think tank sector while in Washington. Human rights advocacy work is also completed along with rigorous development seminars to help students acquire better communication skills.
Through the fellowship program, UMD equips students with the requisite skills to further their professional career paths. The program is designed to enhance participation, facilitate a unique exposure to Washington, and operate as training ground for new community leaders as well as peak greater interest in Macedonia, including visiting the country.
Interns described their experience at UMD in the following:
"Being a Fellow at UMD allowed me to explore all the opportunities that Washington, D.C has to offer while gaining real world experience. The skills and knowledge that I attained at UMD can be applied to any future career." – Christine Allston
“My experience with UMD made me more knowledgeable in both the workings of international relations and the functions of a nonprofit organization. I would highly recommend it to anyone wishing to intern in Washington, DC.” – Liam Gallagher
“My time at UMD gave me unparalleled access to the inner workings of Washington politics. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there and look forward to monitoring the continued success of the organization.” – Nicholas DeMichele
"This summer, I learned just how crucial UMD's fundraising and advocacy work is in these uniquely difficult times for Macedonia. Situated at the very core of D.C., UMD is the utmost learning environment for any ambitious intern." – Kristijan Fidanovski
"UMD's International Policy Fellowship is one of the greatest internship opportunities in DC. The work is substantive and has a real impact in the organization. This fall I began my studies in the Master's Programme in Southeastern European Studies at the University of Belgrade and Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje. The knowledge and network I gained through working at UMD gave me the confidence to take this next step in my education and career." – Gavin Kopel
"Being a UMD Fellow connected me with the movers-and-shakers of US foreign policy and immersed me in the discussions which will shape our future. The hands on experience you get as a UMD fellow is truly invaluable." – George W. Myers
"My time with UMD has allowed me to learn a great deal about foreign affairs and the geopolitical issues that Macedonia faces in today’s world. I’m incredibly thankful for being given the opportunity to intern at UMD, which has let me connect with leading professionals from many sectors, attend conferences focused on foreign policy, and learn about my Macedonian heritage. My experiences at UMD have undoubtedly broadened my horizons and have shown me the direction that I wish to take with my career." – Luka Petrusevski
"The best time I had in D.C by far, working with such a talented, driven, and very welcoming community." – Mama Sow
“For anyone who is ambitiously looking for much more than an internship and nothing less than an investment in his/her own self, the UMD experience is something that everyone need in their career pursuits and understandings about the contemporary politics. During my five month-long stay in the core of the world politics my political comprehension was improved. My work as a UMD fellow and under the lead of Metodija A. Koloski has taught that patriotism has many forms of expression, among which, advocating the interests of my country in the international arena, is one of the greatest.” – Veronika Tomova
"Throughout the internship I learned so much from Macedonian culture to best practices for networking in D.C. Overall it helped me decide that I want to work for a non-profit organization when I graduate university. Working on the Ajvar 5Ks helped me connect on a deep level with Emanuil Plus, our beneficiary. The members of the diaspora around the country that I worked with made me feel like a part of the Macedonian community." – Alexis Zickafoose
UMD looks forward to welcoming our 2017 class of fellows in January.
The UMD Fellowship Program is designed for undergraduate and graduate students interested in current affairs regarding Macedonia and Southeast Europe. This Fellowship Program serves as an effective means to introduce and advance a future career in foreign policy, journalism, public relations, human rights, advocacy, government, or the nonprofit sector. If interested, or know of anyone interested in applying for the program, please click HERE.
Click HERE to donate to support the UMD Fellowship Program.
Biographies of 2016 Class of UMD Fellows:
Christine Allston is entering her senior year at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida pursing a Bachelor of Science in International Affairs with a concentration in Political Science. Throughout her undergraduate career, Christine also attended UCLA and Florida State University’s international campus in Valencia, Spain. Upon graduating, Christine hopes to earn a Master’s in International Relations and Foreign Policy to pursue a career in Foreign Service. The International Policy and Diplomacy Fellowship with the United Macedonian Diaspora granted her the opportunity to further explore her interests in U.S. relations with Macedonia and greater Europe regarding foreign aid, trade, and human rights.
Sahna Anand has a degree in Literature from the University of Delhi, India. She previously interned at The German Marshall Fund of the United States as an External Relations Intern and aims on pursuing a Masters Degree in International Relations. She has a keen interest in International Policy and likes to Travel, experience and understand about new cultures and places. She also likes to write in her free time and has acted as the Editor of her college Newsletter.
Amber Castro is a Los Angeles native and a first-generation Mexican-American. She travelled to central Pennsylvania to complete her undergraduate degree at Juniata College. Juniata College is a small liberal arts college that emphasizes the importance of its students becoming global citizens. Amber intends to graduate in 2017 with a dual degree B.A in International Affairs and Hispanic Cultures and Language. She has spent time abroad in China, Morocco and a year abroad in Sevilla, Spain. For her final undergraduate year, she is currently in D.C. completing an Academic Internship semester with The Washington Center as a Ford Motor Company Global Scholar recipient. Having recently spent a year abroad in Europe, Amber is enthusiastic to be apart of the United Macedonian Diaspora. She says she loves D.C. and the city’s personality, saying that she can envision herself happily living here after graduation. Amber currently speaks English, Spanish, and is learning French and Chinese.
Nicholas DeMichele is a fourth-year Honors student at Frostburg State University currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in both Political Science and English with a minor in journalism. With plans of law school following the completion of his undergraduate degree, Nick hopes to apply himself and become involved in the diplomatic and political spectrum, potentially incorporating his passion for public relations and media. He is excited by the opportunity presented to him by the United Macedonian Diaspora and the chance to explore his interests relating to international relations, domestic policy, and international agreements. He sees the UMD’s International Policy and Diplomacy Fellow Internship as the first step towards on what he hopes to be a long and prosperous career in politics and law.
Kristijan Fidanovski is an undergraduate student of Politics and East European Studies at University College London and the Editor in Chief of the online politics magazine The Vostokian. Born and raised in Macedonia, he finished high school at the United World College of the Adriatic in Italy. He is fluent in Macedonian, Serbian, English and Italian. His primary interests are the sociopolitical affairs of the Southeastern European region.
Liam Gallagher came to UMD from the University of California at Santa Cruz, where he studied Political Science. Liam grew up in the St. Louis area and attended the University of Illinois for two years before moving to California. As the Winter 2016 UMD International Policy and Diplomacy Fellow, Liam wrote a report on the Syrian migrant crisis and how it is affecting Macedonia. He also reported on a multitude of talks on topics of interest to the UMD and assisted in hosting UMD functions. Since earning his BA in June, he has been looking for work in the nonprofit sector. Liam’s interests include studying both domestic and international politics, listening to music and playing the guitar.
Dianna Green is a student at Bloomsbury University of Pennsylvania. In December 2016, Dianna will be graduating with a dual major in Business Management and Marketing with a minor in Political Science. After graduating, Dianna hopes to stay in Washington D.C. and work on gaining her masters. Outside of academics, Dianna plays in an intermural soccer league and loves to explore the city.
Gavin Kopel was born and raised in middle Georgia, where he attended both primary and high school before earning his Bachelor’s in International Affairs at the University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs, graduating magna cum laude in May 2015.
Following his undergraduate education, Gavin began work with the United Macedonian Diaspora as an International Policy and Diplomacy fellow. While with UMD, Gavin did a myriad of interesting work including advocating for Macedonia’s accession to NATO with members of Congress, participating in round-table discussions with various policy experts at the White House, and issuing press releases for UMD on both foreign and domestic politics. Gavin is most proud of his two pieces of Congressional testimony submitted on behalf of UMD, one related to Macedonia’s role the refugee crisis and the other to US foreign aid to Macedonia. Being immersed in Macedonian politics and American foreign policy during a turbulent time for both gave Gavin the knowledge and confidence to move abroad to continue his education.
Gavin, now 23, is currently a Master’s student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade, Serbia, as part of the Interdisciplinary Joint Master’s Programme in South-Eastern European Studies conducted by the University of Belgrade and the University Graz in Austria. Studying in Belgrade has given Gavin the opportunity to pursue his passion for travel and studying the culture in the Balkans and South East Europe.
Shannon McKelvie is a rising senior at Austin College pursuing an undergraduate degree in Political Science and Sociology. Shannon plans on attending law school after graduation where she hopes to apply herself and become involved in the diplomatic and political spectrum. She looks forward to the opportunity presented to her by the UMD and the Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina (ACBH) and the chance to explore her interests relating to international relations, human rights, and democratization. She sees the International Policy and Diplomacy Fellowship as the first step in pursuing a career in law and politics.
George W. Myers is a fourth-year student at Bethany College; a small liberal arts school in West Virginia. He is currently completing a degree in Political Science, with plans to pursue an MBA upon completion of his undergraduate degree. After he is done with school, George plans to pursue a career in political news media. He is confident that UMD will provide for him a great opportunity to become acquainted both with international relations and with life inside the Beltway. He sees his internship with UMD as the first step towards what will be a prosperous and exciting career.
Luka Petrusevski is a third-year student at the University of Western Ontario currently pursuing an Honors Specialization in Psychology. With plans of law school following the completion of his undergraduate degree, Luka hopes to apply himself and become involved in the diplomatic and political spectrum. He is excited by the opportunity presented to him by the United Macedonian Diaspora and the chance to explore his interests relating to international relations and human rights. He sees the UMD’s International Policy and Diplomacy Fellow Internship as the first step towards on what he hopes to be a long and prosperous career in politics and law.
Mama Sow was born and raised in Dakar, Senegal and immigrated to the United States at age five. She graduated Phi Theta Kappa from Montgomery College, Rockville in 2015 with an associate’s degree in Communication Studies. As a Paul Peck Humanities Institute intern at MC, she served as a researcher for the African Section of the African and Middle Eastern Division of the Library of Congress during the summer of 2014. As a poet and speaker of three languages, Mama assisted the AMED in researching African francophone literature and writers for the Conversations for African Poets and Writers series. Mama is a junior at the University of Maryland, College Park, with a major in Government and Politics and a minor in International Development and Conflict Management. As an International Policy and Diplomacy Fellow for the United Macedonia Diaspora, she looks forward to learning more about governance and humanitarian efforts to solve international crises.
Veronika Tomova was born and raised in Skopje, Macedonia. She has a full scholarship, and is in her final year completing a European Joint Master’s Program in Comparative Local Development created in partnership between University of Trento – Italy, University of Ljubljana – Slovenia and Corvinus University of Budapest – Hungary. Veronika’s Master’s thesis is on the “Use and Application of the International Monetary Funds in Republic of Macedonia and their Effect in its Local Development.” As part of her academic and professional engagements, Veronika has traveled around the world investigating different development models that she hopes one day can be adapted to the needs of her homeland, Macedonia, and implemented to enhance Macedonia’s development and integration in the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Aside and apart from her endeavors in the field of social sciences, she has exhibited her organizational and leadership capacities in many different occasions, among some of the more prominent: The Global Baku Forum, The Ivanov Presidential School of Leadership, and The Global Startup Youth and Entrepreneurship Summit.
Alexis Zickafoose is a third-year student at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. She is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations and Theatre- Costume Design. She is a member of the Tulane University Campus Programming committee, which brings speakers to Tulane as well as the Global Service League, which educates Tulane students about global issues. Her main interests on the international scale include public health and human rights. Her love of travel drove the desire to learn about international relations and cultures around the world. She speaks English and Portuguese. This fellowship will be an important experience in encouraging her career in international relations.