Address at the awarding of the “Boris Trajkovski” scholarships for the academic 2018/2019
Friday, 14 September 2018 14:10   

stipendi_shefild_24Respected Minister Ademi,
Dear Mr. Efstathiadis,
Distinguished "Boris Trajkovski" scholarship winners,
Ladies and gentlemen,

As President of the Republic of Macedonia and university professor, I am honored to be the patron of the awarding of the "Boris Trajkovski" scholarships once again. In the past nine years, at almost every meeting where the Macedonian-Greek relations were discussed, I pointed out to the joint scholarship project as an example of the good relations between the two societies.

Behind this project of trust stand people with open minds who are willing to build bridges of communication between the two societies in good faith. And they do this by investing in young people from the Republic of Macedonia.

Since the beginning of the project, a lot has been achieved. More than 200 students from 12 generations had the opportunity to study at the prestigious City College of Thessaloniki at the University of Sheffield. These are over 200 Macedonian scholarship holders who have acquired multiple acquaintances and friendships in Greece. Studying, they build personal relationships with their Greek peers with whom they communicate without the mediation of political elites and distorted media perceptions. Such projects create a new generation of young people, not burdened with prejudices from the past. Generations that will gain mutual trust through mutual respect and acceptance.

stipendi_shefild_5When talking about trust, we need to have one thing in mind - trust is not gained overnight, nor can it be enforced. It is created gradually, without pressure. It takes patience, truthfulness and respect for the other's personality. This is how confidence between peoples and nations is build, not by an asymmetrical intergovernmental agreement that denies our human dignity.

If the only way to meet the demands of official Athens is by imposed measures on the Macedonian side, what we get is a relationship without trust and social capital. There is a Macedonian wisdom that can be interpreted as follows: love cannot be imposed.

The Greek and Macedonian society should learn how to live together despite the deepest differences that separate them.

In order to have a genuine, lasting and sustainable agreement, we need a dialogue, rather than a monologue, a conviction with arguments, rather than forceful imposition, trust, rather than doubt. Trust is built precisely with such initiatives as the "Boris Trajkovski" scholarships.

Thank you.