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.