Friday, December 10, 2010

ExchangesConnect 2010 Photo Contest: “Postcards from Home”

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs is organizing a photo contest!
Please read more about the contest below:

Postcards from Home: Show us Where You're From

What does home mean to you? A special spot in your neighborhood? A community festival? A family gathering? Grab your camera, get creative and share a photo that represents your unique cultural backyard!

  • Two Grand Prize winners will receive a Netbook computer (Asus Eee PC Seashell 1201n) and their entries will be displayed at the U.S. Department of State.
  • Runners-up will receive ExchangesConnect T-shirts and real postcards featuring the top 20 submissions.

Important Notes
  • You must be at least 14 years old to enter the contest.
  • If you are under 18, you need permission from a parent or guardian to participate.
  • Each member may submit a maximum of two (2) entries for consideration in the contest.
  • Entries will be judged by a panel from the U.S. Department of State on originality, creativity, effectiveness, and photo quality. What are these?
  1. Submissions will be accepted from November 9 until December 17, 2010.

Follow These Steps to Enter
1. First, you must sign up for ExchangesConnect.
2. Take an original digital photo that addresses our theme and represents a unique aspect of your home.
3. Click the "Enter Photo Contest" button below for further instructions on adding a descriptive title, caption, and tagging your photo

Monday, December 6, 2010

The fifth American Corner in Macedonia opens in Struga

The U.S. Embassy opened a new American Corner in Struga on Tuesday, November 30.

This brings the number of American Corners in Macedonia to five, including the already successful Corners in Bitola, Skopje, Tetovo and Stip. The Corners host American speakers and bring cultural and educational events to student audiences and the larger community. The Corners are a great place to learn more about study opportunities at universities in the United States. The Ambassador also visited Niko Nestor and Ibraim Temo high schools to meet with students and Directors, Vasil Maksimovski and Urim Kreka.

"This is our fifth Corner in Macedonia – part of our American Corner program worldwide. The Corners bring cultural and educational events to audiences – but more importantly, they become part of the fabric of their community and a home to students and speakers of English and our guests from the United States." - said Ambassador Reeker in his remarks. (click to read the whole speech)

Ambassador Reeker is joined by Mayor Ramiz Merko of Struga in opening the new
American Corner, as well as Kastriot Dauti (far left) and Xhemi Hajredini (far
right) from the Municipality, the new Corner staff Olgica Totoska (second from left) and Ardita Emush (second from right) and
Public Affairs Officer Angela
Aggeler (center).

VIDEO: see the photos from the event:

Stay up to date! Visit the American Corner Struga facebook page !

December 2010 montlhy programs

American Corner Skopje

American Corner Bitola

American Corner Stip

American Corner Tetovo

Friday, November 26, 2010

Photo Exhibition "Macedonia: Cultural Diversity" by Ana Kotevska

AC Skopje intern Ana Kotevska would describe herself as a “photography aficionado” – an epithet she rightfully deserves after the great success of her first independent photo exhibition “Macedonia” Cultural Diversity”, hosted by the American Corner Skopje.

The U.S. Ambassador Reeker inaugurated the opening of the photo exhibit. Ambassador Reeker greeted the initiative, and complimented each of the photographs during the personal tour he received from Ana.
Having personally known the late President Boris Trajkovski, Ambassador Reeker said he is sure that the President
would have been pleased that indeed Ana is one of the recipients of the “Boris Trajkovski Foundation Scholarship”

To see all the photos from the opening, please CLICK HERE.
To see the photo gallery exhibited at the American Corner please CLICK HERE.

American Corners Regional Retreat!

American Corners Regional Retreat
November 19&20, 2010
hosted by American Corner Skopje

The fruits of a year-long planning process came to existence on November 19 and 20, as 13 AC employees from Romania, Bulgaria, Kosovo and Albania traveled to Skopje to meet with 10 AC employees from Macedonia, during the first American Corners Regional Retreat.
The retreat was an informal networking event for colleagues working in the same filed and an opportunity for exchange of best practices and success stories. This event was greatly supported by the US Embassy in Skopje. Cultural Attaché John Surface and IRC Officer from Rome, Laura Kaspari Hohmann were the ones to officially open this meeting and ACS Coordinator Olivera Trajkova wished everyone a fruitful first retreat.
The first day agenda covered the topics “Using Social Media for AC Outreach”, “Intern Programs for American Corners” and “Best Practices from the Region”. The topic “Working with Embassy Public Affairs Staff” was continued at the U.S. Embassy with PAO Angela Aggeler, Program Assistants Renata Trajkovska-Bubevska and Mustafa Ferati, as well as IRC Director Albion Abdullai. A special treat for everyone was H.E. Ambassador Reeker joining the last 30 minutes of the session.
The second day of the retreat was reserved for the topics “Education Advising”, “Fundraising for ACs” and “Working with PCVs and USG students and alumni”. English Language Fellow Mary Bromwell closed the agenda with tips on “Working with EL Fellows”.
After the official part ended, participants were given a walking tour of the Skopje city center, the square, the old bazaar and the Kale fortress by the AC staff and Interns.

Based on the feedback forms, the first American Corners Regional Retreat was a great success! The participants got to know their colleagues and exchange ides, they found the presentations useful (though they wished some were longer) and especially liked the visit to the new Embassy building and meeting PA Staff and the Ambassador.

To sum it up with one of the comments on the evaluation forms:
“It was a great opportunity to meet people who do the same thing, but in a different way”.

ClICK HERE to see more photos of the visit to the U.S. Embassy.

Click HERE to see photos from the Retreat.

Monday, November 8, 2010

November 2010 monthly programs

American Corner Bitola

American Corner Stip

American Corner Tetovo

American Corner Skopje

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween Parties everywhere! oh, my!

Do you know the story behind Halloween?

The pagans who lived in Britain two thousand years ago celebrated their New Year on 1 November. Then the Christians came and people celebrated Hallowmas, a three-day festival between 31 October and 2 November.

31 October was called All Hallow's Eve and slowly the name changed to Halloween.

In November, winter is near, and hundreds of years ago people thought that bad spirits, like ghosts, came in the winter. They wanted the bad spirits to go away, so they made fires outside and made jack-o-lanterns. To do this they took a big autumn vegetable - usually a pumpkin- and cut off the top. They made a big whole inside the pumpkin and cut a face in the side. Then they put a light inside the pumpkin and put the top on again. People still enjoy this today! (from "Seasons and celebrations" by Jackie Maguire)

Don't miss the Halloween party at an American Corner near you!

American Corner Skopje - Super Scary Halloween (more info)

American Corner Stip - Trick or Treat Halloween Party (more info)

American Corner Tetovo - Halloween Party (more info)

American Corner Bitola - Halloween Party (more info)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Manaki Festival Highlights American Contributions to Cinema

The US Embassy Skopje played a large role in this year’s Manaki Brothers Film Festival. The Ambassador awarded Cultural Diplomacy Awards to actress and director Daryl Hannah and cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond.

We also hosted a Reception at the Hotel Millennium for the American Corner Bitola’s 7th Anniversary and for the closing of the Festival, bringing together cultural contacts, fans of cinema, American artists, local media and the honorary consuls of Bitola.

H.E. Ambassador Phillip Reeker and Mrs. Solveig Reeker with the AC Bitola Staff

Happy 7th Anniversary American Corner Bitola!

President Obama: It Gets Better

President Barack Obama for the "It Gets Better Project" .

Watch the video message on The White House Blog:

JAZZ Workshop with Kahil El’Zabar @ AC Skopje

October 23, 2010

The American Corner Skopje had the honor to host Kahil El’Zabar a legendary Jazz musician from Chicago and performer at the Skopje Jazz festival. El’Zabar is referred to as “one of the most prolific jazz innovators of his generation”.

The charismatic musician easily kept the audience’s attention as he talked about his background and artistic family, growing up surrounded by band players and understanding music as a social experience. He introduced some of the projects he has been working on, which include the ACM School of Music – Chicago, “OOH” with Stanford and MIT, founder of the “National Freedom of Expression” as well as a title that even the youngest ones in the audience understood: “The Lion King”. Kahil described his creative process as something that comes in his dreams. When writing ethno however, it includes waiting for midnight to come then throwing fabric on the floor: “..and I actually make clothes. As I am making clothes, I start thinking about melody. In the morning, I am writing these melodies.” he explained.

When asked why he chose Jazz, he laughs that although he was very exposed to music growing up, he actually wanted to be a basketball player. Luckily, he was asked to join a band as a replacement player, and received a lot of “loving and caring” in addition to discovering his true call.
El’Zabar treated the audience with several impromptu performances during the workshop, even without his instruments - using only the power of his voice.

His opinion on the contemporary musicians is that there were so many extraordinary people in the 20th century, and their legacy are the creative people today.

There is however one thing about Skopje that Kahil El’Zabar is jealous of, and that is the full 24 hour Jazz radio station!

see the full album on our facebook page.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Time to donate blood!

Join Us for a Day of Community Service: Community Blood and Food Drive

The Embassy of the United States will join the City Red Cross of Skopje to host a blood donation and food charity event on Thursday, October 14, 2010. This is the second year that the Embassy and the Red Cross are partnering to host this event. Public donations will be accepted from 10.30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and the event will take place at the visitor parking lot in front of the U.S. Embassy.

Tents will be set up in the Embassy visitor parking lot for those who would like to donate blood. There will also be collection points for non-perishable food items and financial donations. The process of blood donation should take less than one-half hour from start to finish, including registration, a brief medical check/questionnaire from the medical staff of Red Cross, donation of blood, and snack and drink to follow.

We hope to see you there!!

Red Cross list of recommended food products for donation.
  • Rice
  • Bean
  • Lentils
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Flour
  • Corn flour
  • Pasta
  • Oil
  • Canned peas, string beans and mixed vegetable
  • Canned fish
  • Biscuits
  • Soups
  • Canned fruits
  • Ketchup

Monday, October 4, 2010

the October 2010 Monthly Programs are here!!

American Corner Skopje

American Corner Bitola

American Corner Tetovo

American Corner Stip

American Corners Macedonia at the Regional American Corners workshop.

the Workshop participants

American Corner coordinators from Macedonia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Albania came together from September 28 – 30 to attend a Regional American Corners workshop, organized and hosted by U.S. Embassy Tirana. At the opening ceremony at the American Corner Tirana, Charge D’Affaires Deborah Jones, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Ferdinand Xhaferri and National Library Director Aurel Plasari gave opening remarks and welcomed all the participants. During the three-day workshop, the 11 coordinators exchanged their experience and ideas and focused on various topics, ranging from how to design, organize and run a successful program to how to locate useful resources. Participants praised the workshops, thanking the organizers for the possibility to build a collaborative network, and vowing to return to their Corners to implement the new ideas.

The workshop instructors & speakers were:
Matilda Vangjeli, IRC Director US Embassy Tirana,
Catherine Marsicek, IRO, Vienna
Barbara Conaty, IRO, Washington, DC

Jaroslaw Anders, Policy Officer, IIP/EUR; Washington DC
Elizabeth Hepford, Senior English Language Fellow; Shkoder
Erwin, Peace Corps Volunteer, Kukes
Betsy Lewis, PAO, Tirana

the American Corners Macedonia were represented by:

  • Biljana Kuzmanovska, AC Bitola;
  • Nevenka Stefanovska, AC Skopje
  • Gezim Sulejmani, AC Tetovo
  • Saranda Arifi, AC Tetovo
  • Dushan Stojchev, AC Stip

AC Macedonia Staff with the instructors
(L-R: Dusan Stojcev, Barbara Conaty, Gezim Sulejmani, Catherine Marsicek, Nevenka Stefanovska, Biljana Kuzmanovska, Saranda Arifi)

See the photos from this workshop on the US Embassy Tirana facebook page.

Monday, September 13, 2010




The Study of the United States Institutes (SUSI) is sponsored by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). Scholar Institutes are designed to strengthen curricula and improve the quality of teaching about the United States overseas.

Application deadline: October 31, 2010.

INSTITUTE DESCRIPTION: Study of the United States Institutes (SUSI) are intensive post-graduate level academic programs with integrated study tours whose purpose is to provide foreign university faculty and other scholars with the opportunity to deepen their understanding of American society, culture and institutions. These Institutes host multinational groups of university faculty or secondary school educators. Each Institute is thematically focused on a field or topic of U.S. studies. Participants interact with American scholars, meet with experts in their disciplines, visit civic institutions, and explore the diversity and culture of the United States.

The ultimate goal is to strengthen curricula and to improve the quality of teaching about the United States in academic institutions abroad.

  • The Institute on U.S. Culture and Society
  • The Institute on American Politics and Political Thought
  • The Institute on Contemporary American Literature
  • The Institute on U.S. Foreign Policy
  • The Institute on Journalism and Media
  • The Institute on Religious Pluralism in the United States
  • The Institute for Secondary School Educators

For information about this program and others, please visit the website of the

Monday, September 6, 2010

Holidays and non working Days

The American Corners in Macedonia will be closed on:

Monday, September 6, in Observance of Labor Day.

Labor Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September (September 6 in 2010). Traditionally, Labor Day is celebrated by most Americans as the symbolic end of the summer. The holiday is often regarded as a day of rest. In U.S. sports, Labor Day marks the beginning of the NFL and college football seasons.

Wednesday, September 8, in observance of Macedonian Independence

The Independence Day (Ден на независноста) in the Republic of Macedonia is celebrated on 8 September. It has been a national holiday since 1991, when a Referendum for Independence took place. The Republic of Macedonia gained its independence from Yugoslavia, where it was a federal state, and became a sovereign parliamentary democracy.

Thursday, September 9, in observance of Ramazan Bajram

Ramazan Bajram is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. Fasting in the month of Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. The month is spent by Muslims fasting during the daylight hours from dawn to sunset.Fasting is intended to teach Muslims about patience, humility, and spirituality.

September Monthly Programs!

American Corner Stip

American Corner Tetovo

American Corner Bitola

American Corner Skopje

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

July and August Monthly Programs

AC Tetovo July 2010 monthly program

AC Skopje July/August 2010 monthly program

AC Stip July 2010 monthly program

AC Bitola July 2010 monthly program

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Creative Writing Workshops are coming!

Everyone has a personal story to tell.....

The Creative Writing Workshops with Cultural Envoy Merrilee Cunningham are coming to the American Corners in Skopje, Stip, Tetovo and Bitola!

Merrillee is an experienced poet and a Creative Writing Writing University Professor from Texas.

The Creative Writing Workshop are organized with the support of the US Embassy in Macedonia and Writers in the Schools - WITS form Houston, Texas.

Ask your AC how to apply and mark these dates:

Start End

AC Skopje
6-Jul-10 10-Jul-10
AC Stip
12-Jul-10 17-Jul-10
AC Tetovo
19-Jul-10 24-Jul-10
AC Bitola
26-Jul-10 7-Aug-10