Dear Art Lovers,

As patron of the Ohrid Summer Festival, it is my pleasure to be with you in the city of UNESCO.

In the next 40 days, we will be citizens of just another common homeland, which exists from the beginning of humanity. Its boundaries are delineated by human creativity. It speaks a universal language and respects shared values. In this homeland, there is room for everyone – for the vulnerable, excluded, disadvantaged. That homeland is built by people who believe in the power of beauty to connect instead of divide. The homeland I am talking about is Art.

This year’s Ohrid Summer Festival will be opened exactly by such a world-famous artist. Violinist Vanessa Mae took the risk and discovered a new musical style that goes beyond conventional frames. She creates joyful music, deeply rooted in tradition, yet relevant to the present and facing the future. A rhythm that connects nature and humanity can be recognized. Vanessa’s music is a loud testimony that, instead of being excluded, various cultural influences can be complemented, thus creating greater value. And, because of that, her music reconciles and connects millions of people from different nations and generations.

As we start our journey, we shall let the art inspire us to brave endeavors. To develop a culture that reflects the richness of our various traditions, here, in North Macedonia. To nurture deep respect and responsibility for the nature entrusted to us for protection. This especially refers to the indispensable natural and cultural heritage of the Lake Ohrid region. We must do everything in our capacity to preserve the status of Ohrid as a city of UNESCO. May we leave room for others in ourselves and strive for real civil reconciliation through justice and forgiveness! Building one society for all, let us remember that we belong to each other, and that together we belong to the wider European cultural and civilization space.

Not be satisfied with mediocrity in everything you do but be inspired by artists like Vanessa Mae and give the best of you! This is the only way to conquer new peaks and achieve new successes in every field of life.

With that thought, at the very end, it is my pleasure to declare the Ohrid Summer Festival open.

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