The United Macedonia Diaspora (UMD), the leading voice for Macedonians abroad, is excited to announce the return of our Birthright Macedonia (BRM) program after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. Birthright Macedonia is held in partnership with the oldest civil society organization in Macedonia – Macedonian Center for International Cooperation (MCIC) and the Birthright Macedonia Bitola Alliance, consisting of four all-women-led Bitola-based organizations.
The BRM Bitola Alliance is supported by the St. Kliment Ohridski University radio show “Slusnete neee!” for children and young adults, which produces creative audio-visual materials designed for the local Macedonian and diaspora youth.
2022 celebrates two milestones:
This year has the largest group of participants ever to attend the program – 12 students. Birthright Macedonia was inaugurated in 2015 and has seen a growth in participation each year.
The twelve Macedonian heritage students reside in Canada, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States:
Christian Doumkos, Angela Efremova, Ella Erskine, Nina Erskine, Naum Hoffman, Angela Josifova, Matthew Kostoff, Mila Kulevska, Aleksandar Krstovski, Alexandar Petrusevski, James Trentos, and Alexandra Vlcevska.
In addition, 2022 is the first time the program is running in the “City of Consuls” – Bitola, alongside the capital of Macedonia, Skopje.
The opening ceremony was held at Hotel Solun in Skopje, Macedonia on Friday, July 1, 2022. Speakers included the founder of the program, UMD Advisory Council Member Peter Dallas (virtually), UMD President Metodija A. Koloski (virtually), MCIC Executive Director Aleksandar Krzalovski, BRM Bitola Alliance Coordinator Dr. Renata Petrevska Nechkoska, UMD Board Member and Treasurer Katerina Trajkova, Aleksandar Murgoska, Founder and CEO, Limitless Solutions (virtually), and UMD Macedonia Director Gordan Jordanov.
UMD expresses its gratitude to MCIC’s Jasmina Chaushoska, Petrevska Nechkoska, Jordanov, and UMD’s Director, Advancement and Development Ema Brown for all their hard work.
During the three weeks of the program, Birthright participants are assigned an internship work program that complements their academic and career goals. The internships will be carried out at the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Finance, the Public Revenue Administration – Regional Directorate in Bitola, the Museum of the Macedonian Struggle, the Bitola Laboratory, the Spireski Law Office, the DDK Law Society, BtoBet, iSOURCE, Zootrop Studio, Eco Awareness, and MCIC. They will also live with a host family – a family they have never met before.
Birthright Macedonia is about reconnecting with your Macedonian roots and brushing up on your Macedonian language skills. The students will have the opportunity to experience the culture, traditions, rich cuisine, and history of their ancestral homeland. They will visit Lake Ohrid, tour Skopje and Bitola, and attend one of the most famous European festivals, the Galichnik wedding.
Birthright Macedonia was created by UMD Advisory Council member Peter Dallas, a native-born American of Macedonian descent from both parents. Dallas was concerned about the detachment of Macedonian youth in the Diaspora from their ancestral roots. He was also concerned about Macedonian youth living abroad being assimilated into other ethnic cultures. Dallas decided to do something to try and reverse this trend. The result is the creation of a global program that has developed into Birthright Macedonia.
Stay tuned to the UMD, MCIC, and BRM Bitola Alliance social media outlets for photos of this remarkable three-week journey in Macedonia.
Click HERE to see photos of the opening ceremony.