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Speeches, Remarks and Statements in 2009

Fulbright Expansion Signing on February 25, 2009

Remarks by Ambassador Philip T. Reeker,

It is a pleasure to be here on this historic occasion.  Thank you, Prime Minister Gruevski and Deputy Prime Minister Bocevski.  Today we deepen the bilateral cooperation between the US and the Republic of Macedonia when we sign this agreement to expand the Fulbright Program here.  This is an exciting moment in our partnership.

Macedonia now joins other countries in the region, such as Croatia and Slovenia, in contributing directly to the Fulbright program, the flagship exchange program of the US government. Fulbright alumni worldwide are the recipients of at least 38 Nobel Prizes, 65 Pulitzer Prizes, 23 MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Awards, and 15 U.S. Presidential Medals of Freedom.

Since Macedonia declared independence, the United States government has sent 77 Macedonian students and scholars to the US.  They have studied or done research on everything from how to make more healthy sausages to “Gender and Subjectivity” to methods for resolving deep disagreement, at universities such as MIT, Duke, and Columbia.
Macedonian Fulbrighters include Trajko Slaveski, Minister of Finance, and Pande Lazarevski, Director of the Crisis Management Center, Alajdin Abazi, Rector of SEEU, Mirjana Maleska, Professor of Political Science, and many more.

I am also very proud to announce that for this coming year, the first Roma student from Macedonia will attend the program:  Eneida Alimanova will work on a master’s degree in public policy.

With this agreement, a greater number of citizens of Macedonia will have a chance to go to the United States to study and do research, not only because of the generous donation of the Government of Macedonia but also because the United States will now further expand the program as well, with an emphasis on providing a two-year Master’s Degree option for Macedonia’s Fulbright students.

As we have seen with so many members of the Macedonian American Alumni Association (MAAA), educational exchange programs have a lasting impact far beyond the time spent by one person abroad.  I am pleased that Atanas Kocov, President of the Association, is with us today. Among other projects, MAAA launched a ground-breaking internship program, and organized an event in which the former US Ambassador to NATO, Victoria Nuland, spoke to a group of 200 students and NGO leaders.  With a further increase in their numbers, I am sure their accomplishments will only grow.

And now let’s put pen to paper and sign!  Thanks very much.