By: Sam Gibson, UMD International Policy and Diplomacy Fellow
During the height of the United Nations 73rd Session for the General Assembly, UMD took its advocacy efforts to New York City, engaging in multilateral discussions with Mission representatives from all over the world. Convening delegates from all 193 delegations of the United Nations, the General Assembly represents a flurry of diplomatic and political activity, communication, and dialogue on the most pressing issues facing the world today. The UN General Assembly allows world leaders and representatives to make their case on the world stage.
UMD could not miss the opportunity to advance the causes of the diaspora community and Macedonian people amidst so many world leaders and representatives of the international community. UMD’s delegation included President, Metodija A. Koloski, UMD Macedonia Country Director, Veronika Tomova, Chair of UMD’s Women in Leadership Program, Ana Dukoska, and Director of the Joint Representative Office to the United Nations Office in Geneva, Dr. Vera Lalchevska.
During the UNGA, UMD had the chance to meet with various officials, including deputy Permanent Representative of Tuvalu to the UN, Fakasoa Tealei, the permanent representative of Paraguay to the UN, Julio Cesar Arriola Ramirez, an advisor to the Nigerian President, as well as hear speeches by leaders of the African Union.
In meeting with these officials, UMD representatives explained the significance of Macedonia’s constitutional name, and why it is relevant to any member of the UN who cherishes the value of self-determination. Tuvalu’s representatives advocated for greater international commitment to the Paris Climate Accords, while UMD also had valuable dialogue with the representative from Paraguay about the challenges facing landlocked countries and the power of alliances.
Turkish public broadcaster TRT World interviewed UMD President Koloski, during the UNGA, on the then impending referendum. Asked by the host for his thoughts on the proposed compromise with Greece, Koloski replied:
“Macedonia is recognized by 137 countries worldwide. Macedonia signed up to this Interim Accord back in 1995 to negotiate – full stop – only the use of a name for the UN and International organizations. What this government did, was they negotiated everything down, meaning a new name for the country, the constitutional name, domestically… We are changing the very fabric of Macedonian society.”
Koloski also affirmed that he has always considered himself Macedonian, and that after 75 years of statehood, the people of Macedonia surely deserve the right to self-determination.
The UMD delegation also had the chance to hear President of Macedonia, Dr. Gjorge Ivanov, address the UN General Assembly. President Ivanov’s historic speech rejected the terms of the Prespa Agreement and urged the assembled delegates to respect the UN’s values of self-determination: He concluded his speech with an appeal to common respect: “the simple truth is that we are Macedonians and our country is the Republic of Macedonia. By respecting this simple truth for our identity, you respect our human dignity which built in the foundations of freedom, justice, and peace in the world.”