Argie N. Bellio of Fort Wayne, Indiana has been unanimously elected as the new UMD Chairman at UMD’s 2022 Annual Board Meeting held on January 28, 2021.
Bellio takes over from Stojan Nikolov of Longmeadow, Massachusetts, who served in this role for nearly 12 years. Nikolov will remain on the Board and take on the role of the first Vice President, Global Operations – one of three Vice President (Fundraising, Programs – still vacant) roles created by the UMD Board in April 2021.
Stefani Taskova Miteva, of Melbourne, Australia, the global co-chair of UMD’s young leaders’ program – Generation M – was elected as Board Secretary. UMD’s Board has prioritized succession planning and is incorporating more of our young leaders in decision-making roles in the organization. Miteva takes over from George Peters, of Michigan, who held this position for over 10 years, and will remain a UMD Board Member.
“I’m honored to be given the privilege to take up the mantle of UMD Chairman – my one mission – to further position UMD as the leading Macedonian advocacy organization in the world and to ensure UMD is financially stable for long-term success – said Bellio. “It’s not about me it’s about the next generation, my kids Stefan and Darko, and so many other young Macedonians that will have an opportunity to experience UMD programming, Birthright, Bitove Scholarships, and so much more.”
“Argie has been a dedicated UMD member since day one – I’m confident he’ll ably lead UMD. His business acumen and extensive experience in Macedonian community affairs will be essential in guiding UMD moving forward,” said Nikolov. “Expanding UMD’s global operations will be my priority over the next three years, including in Europe.”
“I’m grateful that the UMD Board has entrusted me with such an important role – adding two Generation M members to sit on the UMD Board at all times, and now including as a UMD Board officer helps pave the way for Macedonian youth leadership development – I will not disappoint,” said Miteva.
In other news, thanks to the success of our UMD One Macedonian Family Campaign and the generosity of UMD members and donors, UMD’s Board was able to hire Ema Reskoska Brown, of Maryland, as its first Director, Advancement and Development to be based out of our office in Washington, D.C.
Brown, who was a part-time contractor for the past three months, will begin full-time on February 15th and administer and oversee all operations, events, internship program, among other tasks designated by the UMD Board.
“I came to the U.S. to play basketball from Macedonia 13 years ago, I did not know any Macedonians; when I moved to the D.C. area – UMD welcomed me with open arms and introduced me to a Macedonian community I now call family and friends. I enthusiastically rise to the challenge to work with UMD’s leadership, stakeholders, and our global Macedonian communities to bring UMD to the next level,” said Brown.
UMD’s Board also took two critical steps for the future of the global Macedonian community – the creation of a Macedonian Heritage Preservation Fund (MHPF) and Fund to Advance Macedonian Human Rights Protection (FAMHRP).
MHPF will raise funds and provide grants for programs to advance the study of Macedonian immigration and the preservation and protection of our rich Macedonian heritage. Learn more.
FAMHRP will raise funds and provide grants for the advancement of Macedonian human rights in Albania, Bulgaria, and Greece, including the hiring of personnel, technical support, conducting youth training programs, and funding of academic and cultural works. Learn more.
“Over the past two years, we have lost many in our global Macedonian family, and with that institutional memory, and history – UMD is taking charge to build a lasting living legacy for our youth – and to pass the torch to new, innovative leaders who will make us proud for years to come. When I took up the role of UMD President, I pledged to bring more youth to the table and inspire them to Macedonian activism – I’m committed to this mission and the Macedonian cause,” concluded UMD President Meto Koloski.