7th Class of the Birthright Macedonia Program Officially Begins

Jul 13, 2023 | Posted by: Admin

Brief video from the Opening Ceremony at Hotel Solun

On June 30, 2023, the United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) and its local partner the Macedonian Center for International Cooperation (MCIC) officially launched the seventh "Birthright Macedonia" at Hotel Solun, Skopje, Macedonia.

Eleven students (Anamaria Popovska, Elena Pasharikovski, Joseph Rajcevski, Kristijan Stojanovski, Samuil Angelkoski, Sofia Ouslis, Terry Venderis, Viktoria Popovska, Daniel Solomos, Katerina Petrovski, and Ena Nalbantic) from Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, and the United States are partaking in a three-week educational cultural study tour in Macedonia.
From Monday to Friday, they are interning at an institution related to their field of study or career interests. Internships are taking place at Olive Jobs, the Macedonian Information Agency - MIA, Advocacy Association DDK, BtoBet, Limitless Solutions, Four Twenty Two, M6 Educational Center, the State Archive of the Republic of Macedonia, and Chamber of Commerce of Macedonia.

During their stay, the students will be accommodated in the boarding school of the private college "Yahya Kemal". In addition to regular practical work, a "thematic Wednesday" is scheduled for students every week, where they will visit cultural institutions and the Parliament and hold meetings with businesses and the international community. Participants will visit Ohrid, and Bitola on weekends, and attend the traditional Galichnik wedding festival.

At the opening ceremony at Hotel Solun attended by the participants, parents, and internship mentors, guests heard from Jasmina Chaushoska from MCIC, UMD Macedonia Director Gordan Jordanov, and past Birthright Macedonia participant and current UMD Board Secretary Stefani Taskova Miteva. Birthright Macedonia Founder and UMD Advisory Council Member Peter Dallas spoke via Zoom link about what inspired him to start this program. UMD Co-Founder Meto Koloski also spoke via Zoom welcoming the participants to Macedonia. Past Birthright Macedonia participant and Generation M Global Co-Chair Emilija Dimitrievski attended and was available for questions from the participants about her experience.

The keynote speaker of the opening was Dr. Jovan Laskovski, one of the most renowned orthopedic surgeons in the United States, and a UMD Board Member. Laskovski, joined by his wife and children in the audience, gave remarks about the importance his Macedonian heritage played in family, career, and throughout life.

"Material things will never make you happy, they are short-lived. True happiness comes from connections with family, friends, and memories, and you can create unforgettable memories in the next three weeks," said Dr Laskovski to the students. "Make this experience unforgettable, don't forget your history, and most importantly stick together in this story" – was his key message.

Dr. Jovan Laskovski is originally from Macedonia. He graduated from the University of Akron and Northeast Ohio University of Medicine. He is a member of numerous professional associations. Dr. Laskovski is a member of the International Society for Hip Arthroscopy, one of only two surgeons from Ohio and 26 from the United States. He has taught several surgical courses in arthroscopic surgery throughout the United States and the United Kingdom.

Birthright Macedonia started in 2015 and was held annually until 2019. The program was paused for two years due to COVID-19 and continued in 2022 with its largest class of twelve. Past participants have described their stay in Macedonia as an incredible experience that every young person of Macedonian origin should have. Some participants have been third and fourth-generation born outside of Macedonia and for some, the first in their family to return to Macedonia since their family left Macedonia from the wars in the early 1900s.

The primary goal of "Birthright Macedonia" is for young Macedonians who are born and live outside Macedonia to reconnect with their cultural heritage and establish contacts and friendships among themselves and their peers in Macedonia. In addition, such activities can strengthen trust and contribute to more intensive cooperation with the diaspora and benefit Macedonia and Macedonians at large.

Special thank you to Peter Dallas, Jasmina Chaushoska, and Gordan Jordanov for their incredible work, to our long-standing partnership with the Macedonian Center for International Cooperation, headed up by Aleksandar Krzalovski, internships, and mentors, and to the Macedonian Business Club of Akron, Ohio for their support of Birthright Macedonia.

A Birthright Macedonia Closing Ceremony will be held on July 20th during the UMD Macedonia Symposium and Experience at Limak Hotel.

Photos can be found on the Facebook Pages of United Macedonian Diaspora and Birthright Macedonia.

We’ve put together some videos of their tours since coming to Macedonia, which we are including below:

A brief video of their tour of Skopje

A brief video of their tour of Canyon Matka

A brief video of their tour of three Museums in Skopje

Would you like to participate in the Summer 2024 Class of Birthright Macedonia?
Have a college-aged or young professional-aged child or grandchild that would benefit from this once-in-a-lifetime experience?
Would you like to get involved in the success of Birthright Macedonia for future years?
Please e-mail Peter Dallas at birthright@umdiaspora.org and Gordan Jordanov at gjordanov@umdiaspora.org.