It’s hard to look back on 2020 with fond memories. Many of our members have expressed their pain and the difficulties they’ve faced because of the enormous challenge of COVID-19. With joblessness, sickness, and a woeful political stage being the ‘highlights’ of 2020, it’s difficult to look to 2021 with hope.
But we must. We can. And we really, really should.
As co-chairs of UMD’s young leaders’ program, Generation M, one of the joys for us is the work of our young(er!) members. It’s a rare thing to look at the future in motion, but there it is. Generation M and the work of our young leaders deserve special mention because they stepped up when they’d be forgiven for sitting down.
Generation M’s ‘Together from Home Campaign’ donated an incredible $50,000 towards the creation of a new pulmonary clinic in Skopje to combat COVID-19. Another $50,000 will be donated for medical equipment in regional clinics shortly and in the first part of 2021.
UMD, as an organization, cannot survive without growth. We depend on the support of our members to assist the education and advocacy work we undertake. At the moment it feels like Macedonia, on the world stage, is working backward instead of working forwards. The name change was a watershed moment and we’re still feeling the repercussions.
And yet concurrently, our leaders are working with ‘a bad hand’ to make the positive case that Macedonia has much to offer the world and our global partners.
In response to a United Nations call for evidence, Generation M took the lead and submitted a comprehensive report on Macedonian religious freedom issues in Bulgaria and Greece, in June.
The only way to create change is to make noise and get noticed. It is critical that this action is from our young leaders because – very sadly – the issues taking shape today will not be undone overnight.
Macedonia struggles from a perception problem. Our story is long and complicated which in turn results in ignorance and oversimplification. If there are no voices to represent Macedonia and the diaspora around the world, we will quite simply cease to be.
Generation M has excelled in a year when raw talent was needed the most. From meeting leaders, including former Macedonian President Ivanov, to networking opportunities, to leadership programs, to writing about the issues that matter most – this year feels like one of the most challenging, but most rewarding.
With examples of such success, we find ourselves looking ahead with optimism to 2021.
Stefani Taskova Miteva
Generation M Global Co-Chairs
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