UMD Macedonia Country Director Veronika Tomova, together with the Global Co-Chair of Generation M Kristina Dimitrievski, attended the 11th Macedonian Cultural Summer Festival, organized by the Association of Macedonians with Origins from Albania “Sonce,” held in Pustec, in the Prespa Lakes region of Albania on July 25-30, 2018. Tomova and Dimitrievski provided a check for $6,500 to the Association President Edmond Sotir. Funds were raised through a grassroots Crowdrise fundraising initiative by UMD.
Tomova delivered remarks at the opening of the Festival stating: “UMD feels honored for being invited to support the Macedonian national minority in Albania and hopes for being able to support the Macedonian Cultural Summer Festival in the years to come!”
The Macedonian Cultural Summer Festival is the only major Macedonian cultural manifestation held in all of Albania. Its purpose is to promote the Macedonian culture, uphold the Macedonian language and the unique identity of the Macedonian minority in Albania.
For the past ten years, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Macedonia provided the majority of the funding for the festival. Last year, they provided $16,660, but this year, they approved only $2,850. This is a drastic decrease and affected the quality of the festival. The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Albania agreed to sponsor the festival for the first time, with a grant of $1,900. Thanks to these grants and miscellaneous sponsors, the festival secured only $7,050 in funding for this year’s festival, a decrease of $17,150 from 2017’s festival.
The festival typically features 10 theater productions, 3 concerts, and other programming encompassing over 200 artists, participants, and guests, for whom the festival provides meals, lodging, transport, artist fees, and more. In addition, the festival helps increase local tourism in the beautiful Prespa Lakes region – one of the poorest in Europe.
This year’s Festival hosted the Macedonian singers Vlatko Lozanovski and Dimitar Andonovski, the “Theater for Children and Youth” from Skopje with the performance “Red Riding Hood”, the “Theater Jordan Hazdikonstantinov – Dinot” from Veles with the spectacle “The widow gets married”, the “Theater Anton Panov” from Strumica with the show “She” and “Fireplace”, as well as the “Center of Culture Ivan Mazov Klime” from Kavadarci with the staging “Passive Smoking”, masterly entertaining the rising number of tourists and inhabitants of the town of Pustec.
Thank you to Festival supporters such as the Albanian Ministry of Culture, Macedonian Ministry of Culture, “Kromberg and Schubert”, “Komercijalna Banka”, “City of Skopje”, “Area Based Development Programme of the Western Balkan Countries”, “Prespa Cross- Border Region Programme”, and the “South Eastern Europe Regional Rural Development Standing Working Group.” As the largest supporter of the Festival, the United Macedonian Diaspora and its President Metodija A. Koloski, were awarded with a plaque from the President of the Citizens Association of Macedonians with Origin from Albania “Sonce” – Edmond Sotir.