UMD Welcomes Five Summer International Policy and Diplomacy Fellows

Since 2008, the United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) has hosted over 100 students for its internship program in Washington, D.C. For the past year, the UMD International Policy and Diplomacy Fellow Program went fully virtual due to COVID-19 restrictions.

We are pleased to announce that our current summer program is a hybrid model, three, fully vaccinated students, in Washington, D.C., two virtual. UMD is grateful to its nearly decade-long partners The Washington Center and The Fund for American Studies in recruiting students who undergo an interview selection process.

Meet Christina, Rysa, Olivia, Paul, and Alex who will gain invaluable knowledge in advocacy, diplomacy, and foreign policy, Macedonian human rights, and religious freedom in Southeast Europe – all areas of importance to UMD’s mission. UMD provides an excellent vehicle for students to learn about the Macedonians’ right to self-determination and the challenges facing Macedonia.

The generosity of UMD members and donors has made our internship program possible. Internships are offered year-round and interested applicants should reach out to info @ for more information.

Christina Atanasoska is an incoming second-year law student at Wayne State University Law School in Detroit, Michigan. Her family roots are in the Tetovo area of Macedonia, and she has enjoyed visiting Macedonia nearly every summer of her life. Christina’s studies are primarily focused on International Law and Diplomacy. She completed her undergraduate studies in Political Science and Global Studies while obtaining a minor in German in 2019 from Wayne State University. Christina previously worked as a legal assistant at multiple firms, as an unemployment adjudicator at the State of Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and volunteered her time at Zaman International, a Michigan non-profit. During her mid-teenage years, she spent her time working as a server at the Macedonian Cultural Center of Sterling Heights, Michigan. With this fellowship, Christina hopes to make an impact on issues that matter to her as a Macedonian and to gain experience in human rights advocacy.

Rysa Bryan was born and raised in the Caribbean paradise that is the United States Virgin Islands. For as long as she can remember, her career path has always included advocacy for marginalized groups. She is currently a senior at the University of the Virgin Islands, majoring in Social Science and minoring in both Political Science and Psychology. With her degree, her future career goals include becoming a Humanitarian and International Lawyer specializing in the Humanitarian crises in Europe and the Middle East. Even being from a small island her goals have always been larger than life and incorporated persons from all walks of life. While there may not be many social movements in the USVI, you can always see her online being a Social Justice Warrior in the comment sections and posts. Working with UMD will provide her with unprecedented experience in her field, giving her working knowledge of her future career and expanding her knowledge of International Relations.

Olivia Potthast is starting her junior year at the University of Florida, majoring in political science and criminology with certificates in public affairs and international relations. She is very excited to be in Washington D.C. this summer and working for the diaspora. She is passionate about human rights and is ready to make a difference advocating for Macedonians. After graduating, Olivia wants to attend law school and continue working in international affairs.

Paul Tice, known by most by his nickname “PJ”, is a scholar seeking knowledge and experience. He attends the University of Central Florida majoring in Political Science and General Psychology. With one year left until graduation, he has taken up the mantle of president of the University’s The Psychological Society, and continually works to ensure the success of himself and the club he represents. Currently, he is conducting an internship with the United Macedonian Diaspora through The Washington Center in Washington, D.C. His primary goal in the internship is to understand the current diplomatic engagements between the United States and the Balkans, as well as how international developments are handled in a professional context. He has a profound interest in human rights, diplomacy, and the psychology and decision-making process of leadership. All the skills and practices acquired and maintained by the UMD internship will be used to advance a career in international diplomacy or entry into an agency in the U.S. intelligence community.

Alex Whitmire is a rising junior at the College of William & Mary, majoring in International Relations and History. While not of Macedonian heritage, Alex has a strong interest in Balkan affairs. He hopes to learn more about the unique culture of Macedonia and the challenges faced by her people through his work with UMD.

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