Zoran Jolevski

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His Excellency
Zoran Jolevski
Зоран Јолевски
Bush MKAmb Joleski.jpg
Jolevski with George W. Bush exchanging letters of credence.
Minister of Defense
Assumed office
19 June 2014
President Gjorgje Ivanov
Premier Nikola Gruevski
Preceded by Talat Xhaferi
Macedonian Negotiator of the Macedonia name dispute
Assumed office
30 November 2008
President Branko Crvenkovski
Gjorgje Ivanov
Premier Nikola Gruevski
Preceded by Nikola Dimitrov
Macedonian Ambassador to the United States
In office
22 March 2007 – 19 June 2014
President Branko Crvenkovski
Gjorgje Ivanov
Premier Nikola Gruevski
Preceded by Ljupčo Jordanovski
Succeeded by Vasko Naumovski (designate)
1st Macedonian Ambassador to the United Mexican States
In office
21 January 2011 – 19 June 2014
President Gjorgje Ivanov
Premier Nikola Gruevski
1st Permanent Representative at the Organization of American States
In office
18 May 2011 – 19 June 2014
President Gjorgje Ivanov
Premier Nikola Gruevski
Secretary General of the President (Chief of Staff)
In office
19 November 1999 – 26 February 2004
President Boris Trajkovski
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Natasa Savova
Personal details
Born (1959-07-16) July 16, 1959 (age 57)
Skopje, SFR Yugoslavia, (today Republic of Macedonia)
Political party VMRO-DPMNE
Spouse(s) Suzana Jolevska
Alma mater Ss. Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje, BA, PhD
Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam, MA
Religion Macedonian Orthodox Church – Ohrid Archbishopric

Zoran Jolevski (Macedonian: Зоран Јолевски) (born July 16, 1959) is a Macedonian diplomat and the current Minister of Defense of the Republic of Macedonia. Prior to his appointment as Minister of Defense, he served as Macedonia's Ambassador to the United States of America.[1] In November 2008, he was appointed chief negotiator to the Macedonia naming dispute, and beginning 2011 he was appointed Ambassador to the United Mexican States and as Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States. He holds a Ph.D. in International Economy from Ss. Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje.[2] He served as Secretary General of the late Macedonian president Boris Trajkovski from 2000–2004.[1] He is married with Suzana Jolevska, and they have two sons Pero (1988), and Filip Jolevski (1992).

Early life, education, and family[edit]

Jolevski was born in Skopje, Yugoslavia. He attended the Orce Nikolov High School in Skopje, Macedonia, along with his best friends - opera singer Boris Trajanov and movie director Milcho Manchevski and he graduated in 1978. While in High School, he was the captain on the swimming team. He was champion of the junior category in swimming in the Macedonia. He finished his undergraduate studies at the Faculty on Economics at Ss. Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje, Macedonian as summa cum laude and he earned bachelor's degree in economics. While in high school and university, he was giving mathematics lessons. In 1990, Zoran Jolevski received a Master of Science in Law from the Faculty of Law Justinian I at Ss. Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje, Macedonia on the thesis "Business Strategies of the Multinational Companies". After that he continued his studies at the International Institute of Social Studies which is part of Erasmus University Rotterdam in den Hague, the Netherlands from where he received his postgraduate diploma. After that he attended Trade Policy Course of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1994. Zoran Jolevski holds a Ph.D. in International Economy from the Faculty of Economy at the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje, Macedonia on the thesis "Foreign Trade Regime of the Macedonia and the WTO Agreements". He speaks English, French, Serbo-Croatian, Bulgarian and his native language Macedonian.

Zoran Jolevski married Suzana Jolevska and they have two sons: Pero (1988) a Director at Blue Star Strategies, and Filip Jolevski (1992) an economist at the World Bank Group.

Early career[edit]

From 1983 to 1988, Jolevski begun business by opening a travel agency. He was a Freelance Tour Director. While he was preparing his Masters, he was Member of the Presidency of Tourist Association of Skopje and Member of the Presidency of Swimming Club "Vardar". He began his professional career in 1988 by joining the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Macedonia.

Professional career[edit]

Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1988–94)[edit]

Joining the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Macedonia, from 1988 to 1992, Zoran Jolevski was the Responsible officer for preparing all necessary documents for observer status of Macedonia in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, but he was also the Desk Officer for the United Kingdom and Germany. From 1992 to 1994, Jolevski was the Secretary to the delegation of Macedonia to the International Conference on Succession of the Former Yugoslavia where he played an important role in the negotiations. While working at the Ministry, Jolevski became a Member of the Presidency of Macedonia-Japanese Friendship Association.

Early diplomatic career (1994–98)[edit]

In October 1994, Jolevski became the First Secretary at the Permanent Mission of the Macedonia to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations office at Geneva, Switzerland. While there he was the Vice-chairman of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Expert Meeting on Existing Regional and Multilateral Investment Treaties and their Development Dimensions. He was there until 1998 and after that he returned at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1998–99)[edit]

After returning from Switzerland, Jolevski was secretary for WTO accession and other international trade and financial affairs. When the Kosovo War broke out he became the Deputy National Coordinator on Humanitarian Issues for the Kosovo refugee crises where he worked with then-Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Boris Trajkovski and they established a friendly and professional relationship. While in the Ministry, he continued his International involvement as a Member of Bureau of the Commission of UNCTAD on Investment, Technology and Related Financial Issues.

Secretary General of the President of Macedonia (1999–2004)[edit]

Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski, Finnish President Tarja Halonen, and then-Secretary General of the President, Zoran Jolevski

After the Kosovo refugee crisis was over, Jolevski became the adviser to the candidate on the Macedonian Presidential elections in 1999 Boris Trajkovski which whom they worked together at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Jolevski was preparing of the Presidential Program, the preparations of his speeches etc. After the victory, President Trajkovski ask Jolevski to be his Secretary General, which replaced the former position Chief of Staff. While being Secretary General of the President, Jolevski from 1999 to 2004 was also the Deputy negotiator and Chief Consultant to the Minister of Economy for accession to the WTO. In 2000, Jolevski was the Chief negotiator in the successful negotiations on the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Macedonia and the People's Republic of China. Jolevski was also a member of the Committee "E-Macedonia for All" under the auspices of Macedonia.

When Macedonia faced insurgency in 2001, while Zoran Jolevski was Secretary General of the President, Macedonia faced number of casualties. During this period, there were several attempts to assassinate the President and his closest team which was led by Jolevski. In order peace to be found, The Macedonian Government worked with the government of the United States and the EU on the Ohrid Framework Agreement which brought peace in the Balkans. Zoran Jolevski was member of the negotiation team and he was the representative of President Trajkovski to the session of the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia for the constitutional changes required by the Ohrid Framework Agreement.

After peace was established, Jolevski became high involved in the International society especially at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, while remaining Secretary General of the President. Jolevski was Member of Team of Specialists on Internet Enterprise Development, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe in Geneva, after that he became the Chairman of the Workshop: IPR and Trade Facilitation: "Identifying Opportunities and Roadblocks", "Second International Forum on Trade Facilitation : 14–15 May 2003 in Geneva, organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. From 2005 until present days, Jolevski is the Vice Chairman of the Committee on Trade of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe in Geneva.

From 2000 to 2001 Jolevski was member of the Management Board of "Skopje Fair", Skopje, Macedonia and from 2001 to 2002 he was also member of the Management Board of "Alumina", Skopje, Macedonia.

Zoran Jolevski was supposed to be on board of the airplane that carried President Boris Trajkovski which crashed near Mostar on February 26, 2004. Jolevski was asked by Boris Trajkovski the night before the flight, to stay in Skopje and work on accession of Macedonia into the NATO and the EU.

Consulting (2004–07)[edit]

After the death of President Trajkovski, Jolevski was nominated to be the Macedonian Ambassador to the Permanent Mission of Macedonia to the WTO and the United Nations office at Geneva, Switzerland, but Jolevski rejected and today he remains the only one in Macedonian history to reject an Ambassador position. Jolevski became Professor at the European University-Republic of Macedonia teaching International Economic Relations and Foreign Trade. Besides being a Professor, he began a Consulting career working as Chief of Party of a project by Booz Allen Hamilton funded by USAID called WTO Compliance Activity and he worked there until 2006. From 2006 until 2007 he was Chief of Party of another project by Booz Allen Hamilton funded by USAID called Macedonian Business Environment Activity.

While working for Booz Allen Hamilton, Jolevski maintained his political involvement in the Macedonian government by being Economic and Foreign Policy Adviser to Nikola Gruevski, leader of the political party VMRO-DPMNE, which is the current Prime Minister of the Republic of Macedonia and Jolevski was responsible for advising Prime Minister Gruevski on economic and foreign policy issues, including preparation of the Election Program of the Party in the areas of foreign and economic policy. Zoran Jolevski was also a Special Adviser to Antonio Milososki, the current Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Macedonia. Jolevski became the consultant to the Government of the Republic of Macedonia for the preparation of the Answers to the Questionnaire for the preparation of the European Commission's Opinion on the application of the Macedonian for membership to the European Union and Consultant to the Government of Macedonia and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) for preparation of the Report for UN Millennium Development Goals for goal No 8 Partnership for Development.

Besides the domestic contusing services, Jolevski was consultant to the Serbian government for the accession to WTO in 2006. Later on he became the consultant to the Ethiopian government for the WTO accession. In August 2006, Jolevski was consultant to the President of Montenegro Filip Vujanovic on the same issue, the accession of Montenegro in WTO. In 2005, he was hired as a consultant to the Prime Minister of Lebanon for the WTO accession, however because of the assassination of Rafic Hariri, Jolevski never worked for the government of Lebanon.

Private sector and NGOs (2004–07)[edit]

With his involvement in the Macedonian Government, and his International success, Jolevski became involved in several institutes and associations. In 2006 Jolevski formed the Institute for Economic Strategies and International Affairs – "Ohrid". After the death of Trajkovski, Jolevski became the President of the International Foundation Boris Trajkovski until 2005.

Macedonian accession to NATO became a top issue of the Macedonian Government, that's why Jolevski was elected to be a member of the Presidency of Macedonian Euro-Atlantic Club from 2006 until present day. He became involved in several other institutions such as becoming member of the Board of the Center for Strategic Research at the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts and becoming member of Lions Centar, Skopje, Macedonia.

His managements skills brought him into the business area of Macedonia. In 2006 Jolevski was elected President of the Management Board of Tobacco Company "Prilep" in Prilep, Macedonia which was on the edge of bankruptcy. Jolevski with his team managed to bring it back and to put an end to the corruption that was going on in the Tobacco Company "Prilep". From 2005 he became Member of the Management Board of Seavus Group and he still remains Member of the Management Board and President of the Management Board of Tobacco Company "Prilep". From 2006, Jolevski was member of the Management Board of Airports Macedonia. His membership at Management the Board of Airports Macedonia, became very controversial, because of the accusations that Jolevski is the Godfather of the Greek name of "Alexander the Great Airport" in Skopje, and that triggered problems with Greece. Jolevski denied that he gave the name of the airport. Jolevski remained member of Management Board of Airports Macedonia until 2009 when a Turkish private company bought the Airports.

Ambassador to the U.S., Mexico, OAS, negotiator in Macedonia's naming dispute (2007–14)[edit]

Zoran Jolevski was appointed Macedonian Ambassador to the United States in March 2007 after Ljupčo Jordanovski was recalled by the Macedonian Government. He presented his accreditation to President George W. Bush on July 25, 2007 with his family. Jolevski was focused on strengthening the Macedonia – United States relations and accession of Macedonia in NATO. In 2008, Jolevski signed an agreement on Strategic Partnership and Cooperation with United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. His other focuses were bringing American companies to invest in Macedonia, and working with the Diaspora. The United States remain supporters of Macedonia to their accession in NATO and EU. His offices are based at the Moses House in Washington, D.C.. During his tenure, Jolevski guest-lectured at many universities including University of Georgia, University of Vermont, American University, Ohio State University, Utah Valley University, George Washington University, University of Ohio, Norwich University and others.

Ambassador Zoran Jolevski with Greek Negotiator Ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis and UN Mediator Ambassador Matthew Nimetz at a Press Conference after the round of negotiations

After the President of Macedonia Branko Crvenkovski decided to withdraw from the negotiations by recalling Nikola Dimitrov, the Prime Minister of Macedonia Nikola Gruevski asked Ambassador Jolevski to take over the negotiations of the Macedonia naming dispute with Greece that had been in progress for 17 years. Jolevski became the Chief negotiator in November 2008.

During the name talks in Geneva on June 22, 2009, Ambassador Jolevski stated the position of the Macedonia side of the negotiations which is that:

"We are ready for a compromise name that would not undermine our national identity and dignity"[3]

On January 21, 2011, Jolevski presented his credentials to President Felipe Calderón, becoming the first Macedonian Ambassador to the United Mexican States, acting from his office in Washington, D.C.[4]

On May 18, 2011, the Republic of Macedonia was accepted as Permanent Observer in the Organization of American States, making Jolevski the first Permanent Observer of Macedonia at the Organization of American States.[5]

In June 2014, following the 2014 parliamentary election Ambassador Jolevski was appointed Minister of Defense in the new government of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, ending the 7 and a half term as Macedonia's Ambassador to the United States.[6]

Minister of Defense (2014–current)[edit]

On June 7, 2014, the Macedonian press announced that Ambassador Jolevski is joining the government of Nikola Gruevski as the new defense minister. The new government was confirmed in front of the parliament on June 19.[7] Jolevski is the wealthiest minister in the newest government.[8]

Among the top priorities remain Macedonia's integration into NATO, as well as military modernization. Jolevski has also put lots of emphasis on increasing the cyber security capabilities, reforming the Military Academy in Macedonia, and creating joint partnerships with armed forces of NATO member countries. Given his previous position as Ambassador to the United States, he is perceived as a close friend of the United States of America.

During his term, Minister Jolevski initiated the participation of Macedonian Armed Forces in the Resolute Support Mission that followed the successful completion of the ISAF mission.

Speaker at international conferences, forums and symposiums[edit]

Zoran Jolevski has participated in more than 100 international summits, forums and conferences, including the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2000, 2001 and 2003, as well as the World Economic Forum in New York in 2002. Also he participated in the second and the fourth WTO Ministerial Conference, the World Summit on Sustainable Development 2002 in Johannesburg, and World Food Summit 2002 in Rome. Jolevski represented Macedonia in the conference for the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime in 2000 in Palermo, Italy. During his work in the United States, Jolevski organized multiple conferences for the business environment in Macedonia.

Research and publications[edit]

-Ph.D. thesis at the Faculty of Economy on The WTO Agreements and Foreign Trade Regime of the Macedonia, over 300 pages.
-Master of Science thesis at the Faculty of Law in Skopje, The Business Policy of the Multinational Corporations, 125 pages.
-Succession of states: the case of ex-Yugoslavia, Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, The Netherlands, June 1993
-The World Trading System, 305 pages published by Matica, Skopje, Macedonia 2006
-Multinational Corporations: Challenge of the Contemporary Economy, 226 pages, published by Ecopress, Skopje, 1997
-Foreign Trade of Macedonia 2005, published by the Ministry of Economy, USAID and WTO Compliance Activity, Skopje 2005
-Foreign Trade of Macedonia2006, published by the Ministry of Economy, USAID and Ohird Institute, Skopje 2006
-Mandate for Leadership: Principles for Governing Macedonia 2006–2010, published by the Institute for Economic Strategies and International Affairs – "Ohrid", Skopje 2006

Jolevski also published several articles on economy in newspapers such as Vecer and Utrinski.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Macedonian Embassy
  2. ^ The Washington Diplomat. [1] Archived January 13, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Balkan Insight, No Progress in "Macedonian" Name Row http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/main/news/20432/
  4. ^ President of Mexico, Reception of Credentials from Diplomatic Corps http://www.presidencia.gob.mx/index.php?DNA=85&Contenido=62702&page=1&C=1
  5. ^ OAS Order of Entry http://www.oas.org/en/ser/dia/perm_observers/entry.asp
  6. ^ Ambassador Jolevski New Minister of Defense http://macedoniaonline.eu/content/view/25465/2/
  7. ^ New Macedonian Government to be elected Thursday http://macedoniaonline.eu/content/view/25531/45/
  8. ^ Nikola Todorov Poorest, Zoran Jolevski Richest Minister http://www.mactel.com.au/newsite/index.php?page=news&news=53292&lang=en

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Talat Xhaferi
Minister of Defense