April 14, 2011 – Washington, D.C. – On behalf of our nation’s close to half a million Americans of Macedonian heritage, the United Macedonian Diaspora (“UMD”) is proud to announce that United States Congresswoman Candice S. Miller of Michigan has formed the first-ever Congressional Caucus on Macedonia and Macedonian-Americans. (Its short-form name is the Congressional Macedonia Caucus.) The Congressional Macedonia Caucus is a bipartisan group of members of Congress dedicated to maintaining and strengthening a positive and mutually beneficial relationship between the United States and Macedonia.
“Macedonia is a true friend to the United States. The people of Macedonia have made many contributions to the world by serving as a leader in promoting democracy, freedom and liberty. Macedonia is truly one of the emerging democracies in the world and it is in our best interest to maintain a strong alliance with this great nation. Within the U.S., the Macedonian-American community serves as vibrant and valued members throughout our nation. I am proud to form this Congressional group of bipartisan members to further build on the strong friendship the U.S. and Macedonia share.”
The first Macedonian to ever set foot in the Americas was Dragan of Ohrid, who sailed together with Christopher Columbus, in 1492. Extensive immigration began in the late 1800s and early 1900s, when Macedonians arrived in the U.S. seeking refuge from oppressive regimes, for religious freedom, and to find better economic opportunities. Macedonian-Americans long dedicated their skills and knowledge, as well as their entrepreneurial talent, to the success of the United States. The largest communities of Americans of Macedonian ethnicity are in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
“The formation of the Congressional Macedonia Caucus is a testament of how far the Macedonian-American community has come in the last century,” said UMD President Metodija A. Koloski. “Our ancestors who immigrated to this great country would be proud of all of us for serving as a bridge between our new homeland, the U.S., and our old homeland, Macedonia.”
Koloski added that “Congresswoman Miller has been a great friend of Macedonia over the years and UMD is pleased she has taken on the leadership of forming this first-ever Macedonia Caucus in the history of the U.S. Congress.”
UMD is grateful for Congresswoman Miller’s dedication over the years to issues affecting Macedonia and Macedonian-Americans. Congresswoman Miller is a recipient of the UMD’s Macedonia Friendship Award. Since UMD was founded in 2004, it has worked to build strong bi-partisan Congressional support for Macedonia.
U.S.-Macedonian cooperation in the previous decade resulted in a strategic relationship that has allowed Macedonia to become a force for peace and stability in Southeast Europe. Macedonia is strategically situated in that region and is one of the United States’ strongest allies in the struggle against transnational terrorism. With American cooperation and support, Macedonia has emerged as a model of multi-cultural peace and stability in a region long plagued with strife and well known for its inter-ethnic tensions.
The Congressional Macedonia Caucus’s purpose will be to encourage and improve the United States’ relationship with Macedonia and to facilitate wider and more productive regional cooperation between Macedonia and its neighbors in Southeast Europe.
Click HERE to write to your member of Congress and encourage them to join the Macedonia Caucus.
Join UMD Today and Help Macedonia Everyday! Click HERE.
Donate to support UMD’s efforts for the Macedonian cause in Washington, D.C. Click HERE.