The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD), the leading global voice for Macedonians, is thrilled to announce its expansion to South America – with the appointment of first-generation Brazilian Macedonian Elisabeth Nikolofski as UMD Brazil Chair.
“The UMD Board thanks fellow Macedonian Companion and UMD Advisory Council member Peter Dallas for his efforts to expand to South America. I’ve now had the honor to get to know Elisabeth more, and she’s a dedicated, passionate Macedonian. A go-getter – we’re pleased to have her part of UMD, and I look forward to seeing UMD grow in Brazil and throughout South America,” said UMD Chairman Argie N. Bellio.
“I firmly believe there should be more and stronger connections between Latin American Macedonians and other Macedonians in our Diaspora. As such, I am constantly looking to connect with our kinsmen anywhere on the planet,” said Elisabeth NIkolofski, currently taking UMD’s Macedonian language online classes.
“South America is home to tens of thousands with Macedonian roots, who have largely been forgotten. The Birthright team’s goal is to reach out and invite them back into the international Macedonian community. With Elisabeth’s help, we have a positive future ahead. I hope to see soon, young Macedonian adults from South America participate in Birthright Macedonia, which is UMD’s signature program,” said Peter Dallas.
Elisabeth Nikolofski is a first-generation Brazilian of Macedonian descent from her father, who hails from Bitola. Her mother is Brazilian.
Elizabeth and her husband, Fabio Bechert, live in Curitiba, a large city in southern Brazil. They have twin children, Elena, and Rafael, who are ten years old.
Elisabeth studied as an undergraduate at Santa Cruz University. She then earned a Master’s in Business Administration at the Federal University. Both institutions are in Brazil.
Upon completing her education, she became associated with Banco do Brazil. Currently, she is employed as an Executive Director at Sicredi Credenoreg, the largest credit union in Brazil.
Elisabeth recently participated in the global Credit Union Congress held in Ireland. She was a guest speaker at the gathering. While there, she met the chairman of a credit union headquartered in Macedonia. In a subsequent visit to the Republic, she connected with the chairman and received an insight into the operations of Macedonian credit unions.
Since childhood, Elisabeth has had a passion for volleyball. As an adult, she is a master player and has won numerous sports trophies.
Elisabeth always had a fervent connection to her Macedonian roots and travels to the Republic as often as possible. She has paternal relatives in Toronto and tries to visit them frequently. Elisabeth is so committed to her Macedonian heritage; she has applied for Macedonian citizenship.
UMD uses this opportunity to express its gratitude to the first and former Macedonian Ambassador to Brazil, Ambassador Ivica Bocevski, a long-time friend of UMD, who spearheaded the opening and establishment of the only Macedonian Embassy in South America several years ago, and for his outreach efforts to Macedonians in South America.
If anyone is interested in connecting with Elisabeth, please e-mail UMD at info @ umdiaspora.org.