Life other influential organizations and movements, United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) started off as as nothing more than conversations between Macedonian students and professionals at a Starbucks in Washington D.C. The talks, however, centered on one overarching issue: presenting a voice for Macedonians in the United States’ capital. A landmark for the Macedonian movement, UMD became the first Macedonian non-governmental organization to operate out of Washington D.C. Since expanding to other cities in the U.S Canada, Western Europe, and Australia. Made up of Macedonian professionals from many different fields, UMD is showing the world that success has not made Macedonians turn a blind eye to their roots and to their future.
Whether through providing one of the most comprehensive internships in D.C, granting yearly scholarships, or tirelessly promoting Macedonia’s rich culture, UMD has embraced all sides of the Macedonian struggle for advancement In recent years, because f the strong success of both their scholarship and internship programs, UMD saw the need to expand upon its youth outreach. The result was Generation M, a global youth initiative designed to empower and unite Macedonians.
While I heard of UMD from various articles and news segments before, I didn’t become truly involved until the summer of 2014. With a wish to begin publishing articles on Macedonian culture and history, I turned my attention to the UMD Voice, the official magazine for UMD. With just a few back-and-forth emails, my ambition and fervor for Macedonia was immediately recognized, and the Chairman of the Board told me I displayed “Generation M” qualities. I did not fully understand “Generation M” at the time, but I could only surmise it involved a community of Macedonian youth, It has turned out to be so much more than that.
Having met other Generation M members, my involvement with Generation and the Macedonian community began to skyrocket. I found myself looking at Macedonians in an entirely new light once I started traveling to Promote Generation M. These promotions have taken me to events in Toronto and even White House meetings in D.C, exposing me to Macedonian professionals who are true leaders in their fields. Since then I have created a Generation M campus affiliate at the Ohio State University, while other members have designed a successful Canada branch. Now, our year is filled with exciting new chapters in the Macedonian experience including upcoming leadership conferences, birthright trips, government internships, and even the possible formation of think-tanks. With its events and collaborations, Generation M will foster the development of its members to gear them for success, while also instilling a long-lasting pride for Macedonia. My own experience with simply organizing Generation M has been transformative; I attribute much of my profession success to my work with Generation M and UMD.
Generation M and UMD also offer assistance to Macedonians in Macedonia. Using the charitable successes of UMD as a starting point, Generation M will continue to expand fundraising projects for Macedonia. A notable success for UMD has been their Ajvar-5k Run, a charity run which has been hosted in major cities such as New York, Washington, and Ann Arbor and brought in $15,000 for the Infants and Pediatrics Unit of the Ohrid General Hospital among other humanitarian causes. Now with Macedonian communities being established by Generation M, such fundraisers are coming to more cities in the Midwest. Furthermore, Generation M will also give Macedonians in Macedonia the opportunity to meet and network with members of the diaspora. We hope that this network will in turn be able to assist them with immigration procedures and finding work in countries in which the diaspora has a presence.
It is no surprise that the Macedonian community has had an overwhelmingly positive response to our efforts. Generation M is a program that many Macedonians, such as myself,have been waiting for: an opportunity to channel passion for Macedonia into an exciting and constructive global movement. The timing for such a movement also proves its necessity; this generation of Macedonians are among the first nurtured and cradled by the ideals of liberty, democracy, and ambition–both in the United States and Macedonia. If this generation fell to the forces of apathy and disunity, so too would Macedonia’s future. The beauty in Generation centers upon the youth being the principal organizers of the path they want to take. With the full support and backing of UMD, Macedonia’s youth can finally step up and declare that Macedonians not only exist, but are proud to take on the challenge of working for a better Macedonia. Anyone interested in getting involved with UMD or Generation M should check out their website here.