MAAA FROM IT’S ESTABLISHMENT UNTILL THE PRESENT DAYS
Macedonian American Alumni Association (MAAA) have been created to function as a “think tank” of creative initiatives and actions, as well as to strengthen the commitment of members to play a significant role in programs, which would contribute to national development and democratic transition of R. Macedonia. In addition, MAAA members was expected to contribute to strengthen intercultural links, exchange and relations, and academic, economic and social cooperation between Macedonia and United States of America as the country with the most respected academic programs, technology and science in the world.
The Constitutional meeting of the Macedonian American Alumni Association took place on March 24, 2000 in the Army Hall, Skopje. The idea was initiated by the three Hubert Humphrey Alumni, who took the initial steps for preparation. Two more members, from Fulbright and Ron Brown Program, enlarged the Initiative Board.
The Constitutional meeting was organized with the support of the Embassy of the United States in the Republic of Macedonia and especially the Public Affairs Office (PAO) within the Embassy. Besides the 18 alumni from the three exchange programs, the constitutional meeting was enriched by the presence of the four patrons of the Association: H.E. the US Ambassador, Mr. Mike Einik, Academic Prof Dr. Gjorgji Efremov, President of the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts and Prof. Dr. Aleksandar Ancevski, Rector of the University “Sts. Cyril and Methodius” in Skopje, as well as the director of the Public Affairs Office, Ms. Yolanda Robinson.
The Inaugural meeting was officially opened and led by Dr. Doncho Donev, who elaborated the idea of establishing an Association that aims to make a network among the ex-participants in the various US exchange programs. In his introductory remarks, H.E. Ambassador Einik, on behalf of the US Government, expressed his satisfaction and full support in officiating the birth of Macedonian-Americam Alumni Association.
In the introductory addresses Mr. Efremov and Mr. Ancevski underscored how pleased they were with the initiative of establishing such an Association that was lacking in this region. They both emphasized the importance of the Association having in mind the necessity of closer relations between Macedonia and the USA. The Alumni will be the best bridge between both countries by enriching mutual understanding and cross-cultural communication, thus contributing to the democratic development of the Republic of Macdonia.
At the beginning of the working session participants individually introduced themselves. The Initiative board was transformed into Executive board with and the following five-members selected: Dr. Doncho Donev, President, Emilija Geleva, Vice President, Lela-Jakovlevska-Josevska, MA, General Secretary,d-r Pande Lazarevski, Organizing Secretary and Antonie Mitrev, MA, Treasurer.
The Statute of MAAA was discussed and afterwards accepted unanimously. The Program of the Association attracted most interest and discussion. It has been agreed that the program has to be operationalized by the Executive Committee. The members set as a priority several activities: registration of the Association in the Basic Court I in Skopje, establishing of a database of the Alumni and creating a Web-site of the Association.
The Office of MAAA was established and started with activities on November 1st, 2000, with full time job person, from 9,00 a.m. to 5,00 p.m. each working day. All members of MAAA were invited to drop into the Office at any time convenient for them, to get informed about ongoing activities, to give ideas and initiatives, to use the computer laboratory and library of MAAA, to feel familiar with the Office of MAAA.
Immediately after the Office establishment, PAO granted 3 PCs and printer, as well as telephone and fax machine beside the financial grant from the Embassy of USA in Skopje for maintaining the office and supporting MAAA activities for the next two years. President and members of the Editorial Board were nominated and activities for issuing and printing the newsletter of MAAA started. We also appointed coordinators for some theme areas and started with development and implementation of the Project “American Studies”. The main purpose of the MAAA Project “American Studies” is systematic and multidimensional introduction and demonstration in Macedonia of the American society: the roots, its past, present and the visions for the future, its culture, policy, economy, as an essential precondition for mutual understanding, exchange of experiences and building them in the development and democratisation of our country. The MAAA web site will serve as a mirror of the structure, membership and activities of MAAA for the broader public in our country and worldwide.
In addition to a wide range of activities at the national level, MAAA supported the organization of the international conference on “Public Health and Peace” in the conflict year in R. Macedonia 2001. The SEE Conference “Public Health and Peace” was held in Skopje, Macedonia, at the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts (MASA), from 6 to 8 December 2001. Organizers of the Conference were The Stability Pact for SEE, The Faculty of Medicine at the University “Sts. Cyril and Methodius” in Skopje and Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts (MASA), as a host of the Conference. The expert-logistical realization was carried-out by the Institute for Social Medicine within the Institutes at the Faculty of Medicine in Skopje and the Macedonian American Alumni Association. Many doctors and other e members of MAAA took active participation in the working sessions of the conference with presentation of their papers, taking part in discussions and making decisions, and in the process of making the Skopje’s Declaration “Public Health and Peace”.
New leadership of MAAA was elected at the Annual meeting of MAAA members on 20.12.2005. Prof. Atanas Kocov from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering was elected as president of MAAA who served that position for the next almost 12 years.
МААА in 2007. organized a Regional SEE Conference of alumni of academic programs in the United States on the topic “Strategies how to bring the Balkans closer to the EU, March 23-25, 2007, Skopje, Republic of Macedonia. Draft Declaration on Alumni Networking and Cooperation in Southeast Europe was presented and discussed by the participants at the last session of the Conference and distributed to the national alumni associations in the Balkan region for further consideration and possible adoption at the following regional alumni conference.
MAAA members actively contributed to the Fulbright Academy Science & Technology Conference “Small Places Can Change the World”, held in Skopje from 24-27 March 2009, organized by the Fulbright Academy Alumni Association.
The last elective Assembly of MAAA was held at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering on July 20, 2017, and the new Executive Board was elected. The Meeting was attended by the representatives from the Embassy of USA in Skopje, Ms. Laura Pyeatt Brown, the Public Affairs Officer, and Mr. Albion Abdullai, IRC Assistant/Alumni Coordinator. Prof. Miso Dokmanovic from the Faculty of Law was elected as the new president of MAAA.
The accepted motto of the MAAA at the constitutional meeting was: “One individual can make a difference”. But, it is much stronger to have a critical mass of individuals who are committed to make a positive difference, to make move forward as the US Ambassador Mr. Einik used to say in his promotional speech during the Constitutional Meeting of MAAA in 2000. Now, MAAA has much bigger critical mass of more than 60 members who are committed to leadership, freedom and human dignity, who as ordinary people have extraordinary possibilities. The members of MAAA are such a prestigious group of professionals who are the members of Governmental Bodies and Commissions, representatives from Macedonia to the EU Bodies and to the Council of Europe, university professors, journalists, experts and directors of the important national institutions and Agencies, members of the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts and other academies in Europe and worldwide. All of the members of MAAA enriched their knowledge and experience during the Fellowship programs stay in USA, greatly changed their views of seeing things and of doing things – how to make an impact with new ideas and initiatives directed to support development, humanity and democratization of our country, who are committed to work on building-up a real and sensitive system of values in all areas of our society, to work on breaking down the barriers between people, to help people to understand, respect and support each other, to strengthen mutual understanding and national cohesion in our pluralistic society, who are ready to labour for creating the future of our country with their optimism and enthusiasm instead of worrying about the future. We believe that each individual effort could make a difference locally, regionally and nationally, in the society and in the world in turn. That is the real way for fostering the development and democratization of our country and for much easier complete recognition and integration of the Republic of Macedonia within the European Union and International Community.