UMD Chicago Kicks Off 2014 With Winter Extravaganza

On January 25, UMD held a Macedonian Winter Extravaganza at the oldest Macedonian Orthodox Church in North America, Sts. Peter and Paul Macedonian Orthodox Cathedral, in Crown Point, Indiana. The purpose of the evening was to strengthen, unite, celebrate, and activate our community, while raising funds for charitable causes. After the event, UMD donated $700 to support the cancer treatment of Macedonian-American Donka Grackoska.

UMD Board Member, and Director of Charitable Efforts, Natalia Buling opened the evening’s program discussing the role of UMD Chicago. Very Reverend Tome Stamatov, representing the parish community, offered a prayer giving supportive words for Donka Grackoska in her battle with cancer. The Consul General of the Republic of Macedonia in Chicago, Jakup Redzepi, greeted the attendees, and thanked UMD and the Macedonian-American community for their hard work in promoting Macedonia in the United States. Robert Johnson from the office of Senator Mark Kirk (IL) presented a letter from the Senator congratulating UMD on the event, and expressed gratitude for the integral role UMD plays in representing the Macedonian-American community. Senator Kirk’s letter can be read by clicking here.

UMD’s President Metodija A. Koloski gave a presentation to the community on UMD’s youth initiatives, scholarships, and humanitarian efforts, as well as grassroots advocacy on issues like immigration reform and foreign policy. Eastern Michigan University Professor Nevena Trajkov presented on last year’s 4th UMD Global Conference held in Skopje, Macedonia, which commemorated the 100th anniversary of the division of Macedonia and the Treaty of Bucharest. She discussed the academic portion of the conference, and the publication of an upcoming journal consisting of all the academic papers presented by 44 scholars from 12 countries. In addition, Angie Stojanoska, daughter of Donka Grackoska, thanked the community for supporting her mother’s treatment, and Nevena Neskoska spoke about what being a recipient of the UMD Bitove Macedonian Heritage Scholarship has meant for her, and the importance in continuing the program for other college students in the community. Buling ended the program thanking everyone for their generosity and support. In attendance were also UMD’s Director of U.S. Operations Trajko Papuckoski, as well as newly appointed UMD Board Member, and Director of Cultural Affairs, Vera Najdovska, who traveled from Windsor, Canada to support the evening.

To assist in fundraising for UMD’s humanitarian efforts, UMD raffled off a round-trip ticket to Macedonia generously donated by Turkish Airlines.

The evening ended with an array of musical talents performed by Kalina and Nevena Neskoska (guitar/vocals), Blagoj Lamnjov (zurla/clarinet), and Dusko Simic (tapan). Everyone enjoyed the dancing and fun time, and the most enjoyable portion of the music program was when a few of the participants took the microphone and began singing traditional Macedonian songs. This clearly was a night of fostering and deepening friendships, filled with smiles and laughter.

UMD cannot thank enough the evening’s sponsors: Turkish Airlines, Drs. Anastas and Nada Mukoski, Katerina Grozdanovski, Judge Michael Sarafin, and Aleksandra Betinski.

UMD was able to live-stream the entire event thanks to the assistance of UMD member Gjoko Sikoski, and a video of the event can be viewed by clicking HERE. Sikoski also took photographs, which can be viewed by clicking HERE.

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