Your Excellencies, Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen, Women Leaders,
At the outset, I would like to welcome all of you present female panelists participating in the first Global Summit of Women Leaders in the Republic of Macedonia. I extend gratitude to the Chambers of Commerce and its President, Mrs. Daniela Arsovska, for the honor to be the patron of this important event and for inviting me to address the first women's leadership forum in the Republic of Macedonia.
Congratulations to the successful organization and implementation of the initiative which involves women leaders from our country and from abroad. Women leaders with a high and prominent profile and pronounced professional and personal integrity, who are proven especially in their profession and who deserve to be put on a pedestal and thus be a role model, especially for the young generations.
I welcome the inclusion of women leaders from the Republic of Macedonia in the Global Platform of Women Leaders from the public and private sectors, aimed at overall improvement of women's leadership, emphasizing the inspirational role of women leaders.
I am honored to be with you today and to present my role in the Macedonian society as the wife of the President of the Republic of Macedonia, namely the activities arising from that role.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I take this opportunity to convey cordial greetings from my husband, the President of the Republic of Macedonia, Dr. Gjorge Ivanov, who always supports initiatives that emphasize the woman, and welcomes the inclusion of women leaders from the Republic of Macedonia in the Global Platform for Women Leaders.
One of the dearest projects to my husband is the School for Young Leaders. He founded the School to provide the young ambitious and successful citizens of the Republic of Macedonia with the opportunity to develop their leadership skills and capacities and to contribute to the future positive development of the society and the environment in which they live and work. The mission of the School is to promote positive values among young leaders and future political, cultural and economic leaders of our country, but also to develop their capacity to address the challenges of today. What is particularly interesting is the fact that in the School for Young Leaders of President Ivanov, which is organized for 7 years so far, out of the total number of participants, approximately 280, 57% are young women leaders. I am convinced that some of the female participants in the School for Young Leaders will join the Global Platform of Women Leaders you promote today.
The image of women in the Macedonian society and the treatment she receives is combined expression of centuries-old traditions, culture and mentality of the Macedonian people on the one hand, and the political will and commitment of women in the past years of Macedonia's independence on the other. Women throughout history have created a combination of manners, appearance, values and culture that characterize the contemporary Macedonian woman. We, all the participants from the Republic of Macedonia, are representatives of many generations of women who have created this image that we live today. Therefore, we must be worthy representatives and serve as an example for the generations that come after us.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today, I would like to share with you that in my life I am lead by the reason, but love ennobles me. Since the early age, I realized that whatever I do in life, if I do not do it with love, understanding and commitment and if it does not leave a mark or make at least the slightest change has no meaning! I realized that if someone knows how to sympathize and allows support to elevate his activities, then each step leads to a brighter joint future. The experience once again showed me that on the way to improve our overall living, women are the most common, most persistent and most successful leader! She is present both in business and arts, in culture and social issues, in health and diplomacy, in journalism and administration ... Indeed, women are present everywhere, but what makes her presence special is her approach, sensitivity, refinement, intuition, determination and initiative.
The woman, as many times before, proved to be a real fighter, a pillar on which we can rely, who manages to elevate the deepest emotions and is ready to tame the deepest pain, and thus keep the smile on her face and sweetness of her words. The woman, a symbol of all family values and foundation of unity, generously shares her love, labor and gives herself in every role - as a wife, mother, friend, worker, professional, leader ...
When my husband became President of the Republic of Macedonia, I wondered where to invest my efforts and capacity, in what area to get involved in terms of my new role in order to encourage and patronize as much as possible socially beneficial initiatives. Wondering and identifying the most appropriate areas, I realized that nothing is more or less significant. However, I had to decide in a few areas that I recognize as closer and more acceptable for my position. I would like to emphasize that all the activities undertaken as the wife of the President are being implemented by me as a woman and as a mother.
Therefore, dearest to me are the activities dedicated to children. I am particularly committed to activities for children with special needs, including my huge commitment for children with autism. I try and I think that thus far I have managed to strengthen their voice, but also to encourage the Macedonian public and the Macedonian institutions and to attract and directed their attention to this important issue. The last major project in this area was the opening under my auspices of the Special Center for sensory therapy for people with autism. In 2009, when I got involved in this field, there was not much information in the public about autism, it was not a topic that was frequently mentioned. So, I tried to be a mouthpiece for their rights, their needs and requirements, to convey to the public and to all relevant institutions a strong and clear message. When people call me their advocate, representative and defender, I proudly confirm that I enjoy that role!
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I see the role of a woman leader and even more of a woman who has the role of first lady in a society, as a position that can run many initiatives, organize many activities and campaigns and defend the disadvantaged and less numerous, those whose appearance is often invisible, unobtrusive, quiet and rare. Therefore, some of my activities are dedicated to the persons with rare diseases in the Republic of Macedonia.
Due to my activities at a national level, and because of my efforts in the context of improving the situation, treatment and care of people with rare diseases, for 4 consecutive years I am the European honorary patron of the European Organization for Rare Diseases - EURORDIS in Brussels. The rarity of the disease does not mean that it should be neglected, the rarity does not mean rare engagement and commitment on this issue. Rare diseases are often life-threatening diseases. It should not be perceived from the position of a number, but from the position of a life. My appeal is to try to provide better treatment, early diagnosis, to help for better access to the most effective treatments for patients with rare diseases, to engage and try to provide the best and appropriate medication and to fight for improved, worthy and quality life of each patient with a rare disease. In this regard, I am particularly glad that the Government of the Republic of Macedonia heard our voice and took concrete measures and allocates large amounts of resources to address the problem faced by the patients with rare diseases, most often it concerns their drugs, which are extremely expensive and the patients cannot provide them.
Most of my activities are dedicated to children and their health. I was the patron of the campaign "Healthy Food for Faultless Childhood" which was dedicated to the proper and healthy diet in children from the earliest age, which has grown from an initiative into a project of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia, which meant a systematic approach to the implementation of this campaign.
Yet, one of the dearest activities implemented under my auspices is the opening of the first ever Emergency Room at the Children's Clinic. The project was actually a national campaign involving the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia, but it later received support of the Turkish Agency for Support and Development. We managed to implement the project which is operational since 2013. The motto of the campaign was "Help on Time", but I added thereto: "where seconds mean life". Especially significant was the support of my husband and his words: we need to build a future for the youth and youth for the future, who gave his unreserved support, without hesitation, the moment he heard the concept of the project. It concerns our children, he said, they are the future of our country. Therefore, I am particularly proud of this project and I am glad that our children have far better and modern conditions for treatment.
I would like to announce, for the first time publicly, the opening of another, also very important project at the Children's Clinic. A complete renovation and equipping of the Intensive Care Unit of the Children's Clinic is under way, which is conducted under my auspices, with a primary and only goal to achieve the highest and most modern standards of pediatric services for the youngest patients.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I support many other activities dedicated to children, but here I would mention the continued collaboration with the SOS Children's Village and the patronage of their significant anniversaries, 10th and 15th anniversary, the visits to the Children's Village and socializing with children. Furthermore, the support I provide generally for children with disabilities, children without parental care, Special Olympics, activities with the specialized schools for children with special needs.
Besides the activities with children, as the wife of the President of the Republic of Macedonia, as a second area of strengthen engagement is the woman, her rights, position and health. As the wife of the President, but also as a woman, I regularly support the pink campaigns of my dear friends, the fighters from the Association "Borka - for each new day", also supported by the Alliance against Cancer. Whether it is the Rose Walk, a national campaign, a national conference or any other initiative, action or project, when it comes to the fight against breast cancer, I give my full and unreserved support to raise awareness among women about the need for early detection and early diagnosis of breast cancer. The chances of overcoming the disease are greater if detected at an early stage. My guiding thought in any activity in this area is if we encourage at least one woman to examine herself in time and thus detect the threat before it is too late, we have achieved the goal.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
These are some of my activities initiated or supported as the wife of the President of the Republic of Macedonia. There are indeed activities that include accompanying my husband on events in the country, as well as visits to foreign countries and participation in multilateral events. I am always active during the visits, there are special ladies' programs, where I use every opportunity to exchange views, experiences and positive examples on the areas I am engaged in.
In order not to take much of your time explaining all of my activities, I would take this opportunity to inform you on several other engagements. I am continually involved in the campaign "The Tree Day" which is primarily aimed at raising public environmental awareness. Furthermore, the celebration of the Christian holidays in our home is always respected at the highest level, and since we are in the presidential residence, the doors of our home are open to many groups of children who can feel the festive atmosphere together with my family. As a believer, I support many events of the Macedonian Orthodox Church and advocate for the return of the real and moral values among young people in our country.
Still, there are many more activities that I would like to speak of, in order to inspire and encourage more of you, women leaders, each in your respective field, to get engaged and involved in as many socially responsible initiatives and thus help those who most need support.
Availing myself of this opportunity, I would like to inform you that I am professionally engaged, with full-time employment in the Civil Aviation Authority of the Republic of Macedonia and I always try to balance the best I can between the activities as the wife of the President, the professional engagements, my private life and obligations.
At the end, I would like to mention our fellow citizen, the Holy Mother Teresa, who is a shining example, with her modest life, huge heart and great works, of how much we can achieve with dedication, pure heart and sincere love. The whole world knows her and is fascinated by the blessed mission of Mother Teresa, who dedicated her entire life to serving those in need, who will be remembered by her deeds and words. She is unconventional example of a woman leader, but she will be remembered and appreciated because she succeeded in her earthly mission! Holy Mother Teresa said: "We are not all meant to do great things. Yet, we can do small things with great love". "No matter how much you do, it is important how much love you give in what you do". These are the moral lessons I am guided by in my life. With love, dedication and commitment we can achieve a lot if we are consistent and persistent in our plans and set goals.