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.