By: Filip Simeski, UMD Generation M Board Secretary and Macedonian Association at Brown University Past President
During the month of October, the Macedonian Association at Brown University, a chapter of UMD’s young leaders program, Generation M organized two events promoting Macedonia and the Macedonian cause. The student organization, which is the first uniting Macedonians on an Ivy League campus, officially started off last Fall when the small but well-connected Macedonian community decided to formalize their activities. As an officially recognized group by the University, now they have access to broader outreach media and other resources for successful event planning and execution.
On Monday, October 17, 2016, they hosted a screening of the Polish documentary The Macedonian by Macedonian-Polish cinematographer Petro Aleksowski. The film screening happened in the historic Wilson Hall centrally located on Brown’s campus, and was attended by audience of students, faculty and other members of Brown and Providence communities.
The documentary was released in 2013 to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the forced fleeing of about 1700 children from Aegean Macedonia to Poland, and many more to other parts of the world during the Greek Civil War of 1946-1949. It explores the director’s family history through the personal narrative of his father, Mito, who was forced to flee from his birth village of Sheshtevo. After the screening, the audience engaged in a fruitful discussion with Professor Keith Brown of the Thomas J. Watson, Jr. Institute for International and Public Affairs.
The following day, UMD’s Pittsburgh Representative and Director of International Student Services at LaRoche College, Dr. Natasha Garrett, gave a lecture on transnationalism and living across cultures. The lecture was titled In Translation: Language, Home and Identity in the Globalized World and saw attendance of about forty members of the Brown community.
Contemporary migration patterns allow for migrants’ closer and sustained ties with their home countries. Modern migration complicates the migrants’ relationship with their country of origin and settlement; the experience changes profoundly the way migrants think about themselves, their family and their country. Living across two or more cultures has transformed our understanding of the concept of home, mother tongue, national and cultural identity and family structure.
Dr. Garrett, who is widely published author on topics of meaning of home and identity in transnational context and a prolific translator of Macedonian poetry, shared her views on this topic affecting many diaspora members and pulled examples from her work and personal experience as an emigrant from Macedonia.
The UMD President Metodija A. Koloski and UMD New Jersey Representative Ana Dukoska traveled to Rhode Island to attend both events and participated in dinner gatherings with Brown University students of Macedonian heritage.
The Macedonian Association at Brown University is excited to continue reaffirming the Macedonian values and spreading the word about Macedonia on Brown’s campus and in the Rhode Island broader community.