United Macedonian Diaspora
|Founder||Aleksandar Mitreski, Hristina Bojadzieva, Zak Milenkovski, Marina Veljanovska, Denis Manevski, Boban Jovanovski, Metodija A. Koloski, Steve Gligorov, Tom Vangelovski|
|Type||Human Rights, Advocacy, Cultural|
|Focus||To foster unity among Macedonian people, advance their cause, and to promote the Macedonian historical, spiritual, and cultural heritage while preserving and promoting the Macedonian tradition within the framework of various advocacy, educational, and charitable programs.|
| United States
|Slogan||"United, We Can!"|
Founded in 2004, the United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) (Macedonian: Обединета македонска дијаспора, Obedineta makedonska dijaspora) is non-governmental organization registered in Washington DC, United States as a not-for-profit entity and a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. It address the interests and needs of Macedonian people and communities throughout the world outside of the Republic of Macedonia.
Objectives and Policy Issues
The United Macedonian Diaspora states its main goals are "to foster unity among Macedonian people and to advance their cause". The organization's objectives are safeguarding the rights of Macedonians around the world; strengthening the unity of the Macedonian Diaspora; acting for the benefit of Macedonian communities before governmental and international bodies; cooperating with the world community by promoting universal ideals of peace, freedom, self-determination, and justice; and preserving and promoting Macedonian culture. Policy issues the organization undertakes are as follows: supporting the Republic of Macedonia's constitutional and rightful name; advancing Macedonian issues through educational advocacy, charitable efforts, and social and cultural events; defending the Macedonian ethnic and national identity internationally; supporting the human rights of Macedonians in Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Kosovo, and Serbia; improving bilateral relations between Macedonia and Australia, Canada, China, European Union Member-States, Russia, and the United States, among others; and assisting in Macedonia’s accession into international bodies such as the EU and NATO.
UMD publishes its magazine UMD Voice four times a year. The magazine keeps the UMD members informed on the latest events concerning the Republic of Macedonia and the ethnic Macedonians as well as UMD organized events and initiatives. The newest issue of UMD Voice is available free of charge at this location. The editor of UMD Voice is Mark Branov.
Organization and Structure
With headquarters in Washington, D.C., UMD has representatives serving Macedonian communities around the world, including in Albania, Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Russia, the United Kingdom, and throughout the United States. The current members of the UMD Board of Directors are as follows: Stojan Nikolov (Chairman of the Board), Metodija A. Koloski (President), Aleksandar Mitreski, (Vice President), George Peters (Secretary), Lidija Stojkoska (Treasurer), Ordan Andreevski (Director of Australian Operations), Jim Daikos (Director of Canadian Operations), Dame Krcoski (Board Member), Goran Saveski (Board Member), Trajko Papuckoski (Board Member).
The United Macedonian Diaspora states its main goals are to "foster unity among Macedonian people and to advance their cause", but it also lobbies for the Republic of Macedonia in the Macedonia naming dispute. The UMD is active in a "global cultural war" against Greece in which they "seek to gain recognition for the Republic of Macedonia under its constitutional name" (which Greece objects to), and to "secure full human rights for Macedonian minorities in Greece and other Balkan countries".
The UMD operates as a tax-exempt, international non-profit organization in the U.S under Law 501 C3, which prohibits lobbying within the U.S to those who are authorised to run non-profit organisations. Those who intend to lobby professionally, have to proceed with the establishment of such bodies, under even stricter financial control, such as the IRS. However, Metodija Koloski and the UMD lobby inside and outside the U.S., an action which constitutes a conflict of interest. Metodija A. Koloski, the president of UMD, has been operating as an agent for the Turkish government since 2008 through DLA Piper which is officially lobbying for Turkey. Koloski is a contributor to the Turkish Coalition USA PAC, a project of the Turkish Coalition of America, which provided UMD a challenge matching grant in the sum of $150,000.
According to U.S. Law, foreign agents as well as non-profit organisations are not allowed to lobby within the U.S. in favour of foreign countries/principals without disclosing to the U.S. Congress that they are not representing the interests of U.S citizens. The UMD is not, by its own by-laws, a U.S. organization representing the interests of U.S. citizens. However, Koloski, a registered Foreign Agent and the UMD, an international non-profit organization representing the interests of Macedonians all over the world, created a Macedonian Caucus with the help of a US Congresswoman Rep Candice Miller.
- "Who We Are: Mission". Retrieved 2012-11-17.
- Dijana Manchevska. "Who We Are". umdiaspora.org. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
- Dijana Manchevska. "UMD Voice Magazine". umdiaspora.org. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
- Countryman: Now is the time to solve name issue, Individi, 25 June 2011
- Loring Danforth, in Ethnic Groups of Europe: An Encyclopedia (Ethnic Groups of the World), ABC-CLIO, 2011, p.252
- IRS, Lobbying
- "Koloski's registration at the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) of the U.S. Department of Justice" (PDF). fara.gov.
- Foreign Lobbying, DLA Piper
- ProPublica: Adding it up: The Top Players in Foreign Agent Lobbying
- Ali H. Aslan, How did last-minute hopes turn into disappointment?, Zaman, 10 October 2007.
- "Turkish Coalition USA PAC". opensecrets.org.
- "Join the 10,000 Turks Campaign to honor the Congressional Turkey Caucus Co-Chairs". tenthousandturks.org.
- "New Turkish American PAC Established". tc-america.org.
- UMD and TCA Announce Historic $150,000 Matching Grant Agreement
- "TCA Supports Bosnian American and Macedonian American Community Groups". tc-america.org.
- "FARA Index And Act (22 U.S.C. § 611 et seq.)". fara.gov.
- Exclusive Dnevnik Interview with Congresswoman Candice Miller
- Macedonia Independence Day Message from Congresswoman Candice S. Miller. YouTube. 24 August 2011.
- "First Macedonia caucus in US Congress formed.". thefreelibrary.com.