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Intercultural Dialogue Country Sheets

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Intercultural Dialogue Europe


MACEDONIA (FYRoM)

 

Major Challenges

Fragile peace balance, continuous threats of conflict between the two major ethnic communities, i.e. Macedonians and Albanians. Searching for European and transatlantic integration.

Main Interpretations

Interethnic relations as a continuous issue of priority concern - setting legal frameworks and maintaining peace between the two dominant ethnic groups. Strategic goal: the development of a cohesive, harmonious and functioning multiethnic and multicultural society; affirmation of diversity as best practice, whereas intentional dialogue between the cultures is not perceived as a special instrument for policymaking.

1. General authority

General Secretariat of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia
(http://www.vlada.mk/english/gen_secretariat.htm)

Sector of Implementation of the Framework Agreement

Support to the Government in realization of the strategic priority related to obligations deriving FROM the Ohrid Framework Agreement that ended the conflict between ethnic Albanian insurgents and Macedonian security forces. This is to be achieved especially through an equitable and adequate representation of citizens belonging to all communities in the state administration bodies and other public institutions.

Commission for Religious Affairs (appointed by the Government as an independent body)

Activities related to the legal position of religious communities and groups, as well as to the relations between the state and the religious communities and groups.

EX for Interfaith Dialogue:

In October 2007, the World Conference on Inter-religious and inter-civilization dialogue "The Contribution of religion and culture for peace, mutual respect and life" shall take place in the Macedonian town of Ohrid (organised by the Ministry of Culture in cooperation with the Commission for Religious Affairs and the Religious Communities). Other forums and conferences dealing with international peace dialogue processes have been held in Macedonia previously.

Committee on the Political System and Ethnic Relations

The committee, established in 2003 as part of the Parliament, includes 19 members, including seven seats reserved for ethnic Macedonian legislators and seven for ethnic Albanian deputies. The Serbian, Vlach, Turk, Romany, and Bosnian minorities have one member each. The interests of minorities that are not represented within the parliament will be represented by the national ombudsman. The formation of the committee is part of the implementation of the Ohrid agreement.

POLICIES:

  • Ohrid Framework Agreement (2001)

Peace agreement between the government of the Republic of Macedonia and the Albanian representatives, paving the way for a resolution of the conflict between both groups and setting the groundwork for improving the rights of ethnic Albanians in the Republic. The Agreement also includes provisions for recognition of any language spoken by over 20% of the population as a co-official language of the country, together with Macedonian. ð See web page of the Sector for implementation of the Framework Agreement (http://www.siofa.gov.mk/default-en.asp)

  • Programme of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia 2006-2010
    Aiming at the improvement of inter-ethnic relationship as one of its basic principles.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Policy
(http://www.mtsp.gov.mk/)

National Coordination of the Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005-2015 initiative of nine Central and South Eastern European countries.

2. Culture

Ministry of Culture
(http://www.kultura.gov.mk/)

Bureau for Advancement and Promotion of the Communities' Culture

Provides balanced financial support to cultural projects of all ethnic groups and since 2005 has started a gradual implementation of the employment policies stipulated in the Law on Culture (see below).

POLICIES:

  • Law on Culture (1998) with several amendments resulting FROM the Ohrid Framework Agreement (see above): Following the principles of accessibility and diversity, it stipulates an adequate and equitable representation of the members of the communities in the state administrative bodies and in the culture institutions.
  • National Cultural Programme 2004-2008: proclaiming decentralization of cultural policies and transfer of competencies to the local self-governments; cultural diversity as a wealth (with balanced support to cultural heritage and contemporary works). Cooperation with non governmental organisations is given special attention.

EX:

  • Based on a joint agreement between the Ministry and the Open Society Fund, 14 projects of citizen associations were selected in a competition and received support; among the project goals were the development of cultural pluralism, interpersonal dialogue and overcoming prejudices between different cultures.
  • Music Festival Multi-kulti (supported by the Ministry); multiethnic film projects.

3. Education

Ministry of Education and Science (http://www.mon.gov.mk/) with

  • Department for development and improvement of education in the languages of ethnic minorities;
  • Department for Peace and Tolerance and Children's Rights

POLICIES:

  • National Strategy for Educational Development until 2015;
  • National Strategy for Incorporating the Roma People in the Educational Action Plans

EX:

  • Let's learn together 2006, project to inform high-school students about democracy and multiculturalism;
  • Multicultural Clubs Project (MCC), developed in 2004 as a result of mutual efforts of the Min. of Education and Science, Council of Europe and OSCE, contributing to the improvement of inter-ethnic relations in several high schools (by joint activities of sports, visiting museums and theatres etc.);
  • Smile Project (Seeding for multiethnic and intercultural learning experiences), with teachers responsible for teaching adults in South-East European countries, establishing a communication network and offering ideas and instruments for supporting intercultural learning in the region through seminars and workshops (participation of Skopje high school).

4. Youth

Agency of Youth and Sport
(http://www.ams.gov.mk/)

EX:

  • Social inclusion of young people in the town of Bitola, intercultural multiethnic Bon-ton for young people. Private initiative, being financed by the Agency and organised by "Synergy"-Stip, an association aiming at developing and improving the relations among the social groups, realizing humanitarian activities, encouraging intercultural cooperation and democracy and promotion of the culture of living.
  • Voice - magazine for young people FROM different ethnic origins, published by Voluntary Centre, Youth Council of Gazi Baba - Skopje

5. Sports

Agency of Youth and Sport
(http://www.ams.gov.mk/)

EX: 3rd Winter National Games for People with Special Needs.

6. Other domestic responsibilities of importance for ICD

In general, ICD-related programmes and action happens on the regional and municipal level. Civil society and NGOs also play an important role in this type of activities.

POLICIES:

  • Strategy for cooperation of the Government and citizens sector (2007-2011), with Action Plan for realization. Goal of improved cooperation between both sides, thus highlighting the significance of the civic sector for a democratic culture and social cohesion.
  • Programme for Implementation of the Decentralization Process 2004-2007.

7. Trans-border / International ICD programmes

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(http://www.mfa.gov.mk/)

Promoting national values and interests in view of the country's further European and transatlantic integration. Macedonia participates in the permanent initiatives for regional cooperation in the entire Southeast European region.

Macedonian Cultural Centres in New York and Sofia

Besides promoting high artistic and cultural values, the Centres are also highlighting the multicultural and multiethnic aspects of Macedonian culture.




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