5th Year Birthright Macedonia Program Kicks Off in Skopje

UMD is thrilled to announce our 5th year class of the Birthright Macedonia program, in partnership with our local partner – the Macedonian Center for International Cooperation – that kicked off on Friday, June 28, 2019, with an opening ceremony at Porta Makedonija (Macedonia Gate).

Nine young Macedonians – Marija Anevska, Nicole Krings, Evan Nitchov, Luka Petrusevski, Anastasia Stojcev, Stefani Taskova, Dona Todorovska, Erin Velloff and Kylee Velloff – who live in Australia, Canada, and the United States are participating and reconnecting with their Macedonian roots. They will be asserting their Macedonian ancestral identity, some visiting Macedonia for the first time.

During their stay in Macedonia, they will live with host families to examine and participate in the everyday life and culture of Macedonians. Additionally, MCIC has organized additional activities on weekends when students can visit important cultural events, like the Galichnik Traditional Wedding, known as one of the best cultural festivals in Europe.

The nine young Macedonians will be interning at institutions associated with their academic goals, their career, and their common interests. Internships will be conducted in the office of the Macedonian President, Ministry of Diaspora, SOS Children’s Village, at the Center for Psychotherapy and Education, in Effect Plus, in the Business Accelerator at the University “St. Cyril and Methodius,” in the company Euro BPO and in the organizations: Institute for Democracy “Societas Civilis,” – Skopje, and the Macedonian Association of Young Lawyers. You can follow along on their journey by using #BRMacedonia19.

At the opening ceremony, participants were able to hear from UMD Advisory Council member Peter Dallas, who only nearly a decade ago rediscovered his own roots from Gevgelija and Aegean Macedonia – the catalyst for the Birthright Macedonia program. MCIC’s Aleksandar Krzalovski greeted the participants and informed them about MCIC’s mission and goals to see a vibrant diaspora engaged in the homeland. Aleksandra Murgoska, born in Macedonia and college educated in the United States, shared her own story of why she returned to Macedonia, where she currently resides and works.

The opening ceremony keynote remarks came from former Macedonia Investment Minister and Honorary UMD Advisory Council member Jerry Naumoff – CEO of Taskforce BPO. Naumoff was born in the U.S. and returned with his family to Macedonia where he setup the company Taskforce BPO, which now employs nearly two hundred Macedonians in Bitola and Skopje. Naumoff’s story is an inspiration to anyone who was born and/or raised abroad and would like to return to their ancestral homeland.

UMD congratulates the Birthright Macedonia Class of 2019 and wishes them the best as they undertake this journey into their cultural heritage. UMD thanks MCIC for their partnership, in particular to MCIC’s Jasmina Chaushoska, the program staff person.

Over the weekend, the young Macedonians explored Mt. Vodno and Canyon Matka in the Skopje capital region.

Help double the participants for 2020 by donating HERE.