UMD Commemorated Ilinden with a Panel Discussion and a Reception in Washington, D.C.

 The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) commemorated the 109th Anniversary of the Ilinden Uprising by organizing a panel discussion on Macedonia’s future entitled “Macedonia’s Euro-Atlantic Prospects from Journalists’ Points of View” followed by a reception featuring Macedonian specialties and wine.  The panel consisted of three renowned Macedonian journalists, Vedran Andonovski, Cvetin Chilimanov, and Irina Gelevska.
 
The first panelist Vedran Andonovski currently serving as the chief of the Voice of America’s Macedonian Service discussed his views on the continuously evolving relationship between the U.S. and Macedonia.  Describing this already strong relationship, he commented on the unique role the Diaspora can play to enhance these bilateral relations.  “The role of the Diaspora is the connecting tissue between the U.S. and Macedonia,” said Andonovski.

 Cvetin Chilimanov, the second panelist, is the Washington correspondent for the Macedonian Information Agency, and discussed the tricky EU-Macedonia relations especially in light of Greece’s blockage of Macedonia’s European prospects.  Although pleased by the recent EU high-level dialogue with Macedonia, Chilimanov highlighted the need for the EU to grant Macedonia a date for starting accession negotiations.

Finally, the Washington correspondent for the Macedonian State Television (MTV), Irina Gelevska focused on Macedonia’s commitment to NATO missions and strong interest in becoming a NATO member.  Gelevska assessed that the decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) of December 5, 2011 as a positive sign and hopes that NATO takes it into consideration prior to the next NATO Summit. 

During the reception, UMD President Metodija A. Koloski read a statement delivered to Congress by New Jersey Congressman Bill Pascrell honoring the ideals of the Ilinden Uprising and congratulating the Macedonian-American community.  UMD also used this occasion to officially appoint UMD member Zhikica Pagovski as the new UMD Regional Representative for Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.  Pagovski has been a dedicated UMD member, and is currently a graduate student of Diplomacy at the American University, and is the administrator of the Balkan Lectures Series.

UMD International Policy and Diplomacy Fellows Veronica Bishop, Ana Donevska, Maria Elenski, and Milka Trajkova as well as UMD volunteer Diana Booth received certificates of appreciation for their hard work and dedication to UMD’s mission.

To view pictures from the panel and reception, please click HERE.  

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