On the occasion of its 16th anniversary, the United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) – the leading non-governmental, non-partisan, non-political educational advocacy organization promoting the interests of Macedonians and Macedonian communities worldwide – today announced the appointment of Ljupka Arsova, Argie N. Bellio, Filip Despotoski, Mishko Josifov, Mary Outow, and Vera Sekulovska to the global UMD Board of Directors.
With these additional appointments, UMD’s Board has grown to sixteen members encompassing a geographically diverse group of individuals dedicated to furthering UMD’s mission in unifying Macedonians globally and safeguarding, preserving, and advancing the ethnic Macedonian heritage, language, and identity. This represents a notable increase of 60% in Board members. In addition, UMD is making significant strides to achieve gender equality on our Board by doubling the number of women Board members from three to six.
“I could not be more pleased to welcome Ljupka, Argie, Filip, Mishko, Mary, and Vera who, without a doubt, will make our team stronger,” said UMD Chairman Stojan Nikolov. “Their insights, professional backgrounds, and passion will greatly benefit UMD, and in turn, the Macedonian communities-at-large, as we navigate the immense challenges facing the ethnic Macedonian identity currently.”
“Being involved with UMD on a local level in Washington, D.C. has provided me an opportunity to witness firsthand the caliber of its diplomatic mission and successes; joining the global Board is both a privilege and duty to give back to Macedonian causes, particularly in an area I care dearly for – environmental protection.” – Ljupka Arsova, Arlington, Virginia, United States
“We as Macedonians are often eager to blame others for our situation. If it wasn’t for the Greeks or Bulgarians or whomever “they” are. The UMD doesn’t cast blame for the circumstances we find ourselves in, they declare solutions and make a positive difference in our communities. And I get to be a small piece of it and be surrounded by many of the best and the brightest our community offers and that is a humbling honor.” – Argie N. Bellio, Fort Wayne, Indiana, United States
“It was an honour to be invited to join the UMD Board and work alongside other Macedonians to achieve something bigger than ourselves.” – Filip Despotoski, Sydney, Australia
“As a proud Macedonian-American, my purpose and mission in life are to make a difference in our Macedonian community in Florida and around the world. After more than eight active years of involvement in UMD, I am very proud of what we have accomplished. By joining the Board, I feel privileged to be in a position to further help our organization and young leaders to grow and develop so we can have a voice for our people. Alone we can only do little but united we can achieve great things together. #UnitedWeCan.” – Mishko Josifov, Miami, Florida, United States
“It is an honour to be joining the UMD’s Board, a group of dedicated individuals committed to the empowerment of Macedonians all over the world. And it is heart-warming to know, and to have the opportunity to be a part of, an organization that sees its role as ‘…caretakers of the Macedonian identity’. I look forward to supporting the goals of the UMD; as it has been said, ‘united we stand’.” – Mary Outow, Toronto, Canada
“Recent challenges to the Macedonian diaspora have empowered me to join the UMD Global Board family, as I hold my Macedonian identity close to my heart. I am inspired to serve UMD to elevate the voices of the Macedonian community and to nurture our enduring legacy.” – Vera Sekulovska, Sydney, Australia
“We Macedonians are responsible for one another – UMD’s role is in building and sustaining an influential, respected, and united global Macedonian community,” said UMD President Metodija A. Koloski. “I very much look forward to the contributions these six outstanding Macedonians will make in shaping the future agenda and priorities of UMD.”
UMD Board Members’ biographies can be found by clicking HERE.