Macedonia

Indiana University and
South East European University

David Zaret
Vice President for International Affairs
Professor of Sociology and History
Bryan Hall 104, Bloomington, IN

zaret@iu.edu

Bears in Macedonian Restaurant
Bar scene in restaurant in countryside outside Skopje.
Zaret Visiting the President of Macedonia
Visiting the President of Macedonia, accompanied by amused IU colleague.

On this page are a few pictures relating to IU's connection to South East European University (SEEU). As noted below in more detail, IU was the principal institution that worked with the EU Commission
and USAID in founding SEEU in a project intended not only to create a high-quality university
but also to quell ethnic violence that erupted in northwestern Macedonia-- a region that borders on
Albania and Kosovo-- after the disintegration of Yugoslavia.

The pictures, below, come from a 2011 trip to attend the 10th anniversary celebration of SEEU, hosted by the President of Macedonia, to which IU was invited as a special quest. At a subsequent event for the anniversary celebration, IU President Michael McRobbie received an honorary doctorate from SEEU and gave a special address to SEEU faculty and students.

The Republic of Macedonia (as opposed to the larger Macedonian region) occupies a landlocked area with a remarkably rugged terrain. Nearly 2/3 of its population are Orthodox Christians and 1/3 are Muslim. At various points the area was ruled by the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, though not continuously. One legacy is a rich heritage of religious art, especially with regard to Byzantine Orthodox traditions, such as the Icon Gallery in Skopje's National Museum, with painted icons dating back to the 11th century. In the Ottoman era, an unusual development was the influence of Italian baroque styles of painting on a mosques in Tetovo, Šarena D┼żamija (a/k/a The Painted Mosque).
For images of this Byzantine and Islamic art, see Other Scenes from Macedonia. Part 1.

As in other newly independent nations, the Macedonian government promotes a vibrant nationalism-- but this one literally animates the local political culture with immense statuary (e.g., an 8-story tall statue of Alexander the Great, exceded only by one of his father, Philip of Macedon) crammed into the capital's public spaces with a remarkable message: Macedonianism, and not Hellenism, is the font of Western Civilization. Greece is not amused. For for an anecdote and few images of this interesting development, see  Happy, Sad, Silly, Odd Images

In November 2011, South East European University (SEEU) celebrated its 10th anniversary, in a ceremony presided over by the President of the Republic of Macedonia, at the Presidential Palace of the Republic in Skopje.. Indiana University was a special guest of honor at that event because it played a major role in establishing SEEU in partnerhsip with the EU Commission and USAID.

SEEU is located in Tetovo, in the northwest region of the country that borders on Albania and Kosovo. It was founded amidst warfare between ethnic Albanian forces and the Macedonian government, with the explicit goal of integrating Albanian and Macedonian students in a university that provided instruction in both languages and English. (Up to that point, ethnic-Albanians were largely excluded from the country's two public universities because of a national language policy that required study in Macedonian.) The historical context for the ethnic conflict was the disintegration of Yugoslavia, with the Kosovo War in Serbia as a proximate cause. Tetovo, with a majority Albanian population, was the center of the conflict. It is an ancient city, originally Illyrian, situated on the foothills of the Šar Mountain. (For a map, see Other Scenes from Macedonia.)

Since 2001, SEEU has exceeded expectations, both as a strong promoter of tolerance and respect for multilingual and cultural diversity and as a high-quality university that offers instruction and research opportunities in three languages with increasing concentration on subjects taught in English at both first (BA/BSc) and second (MA/MSc/LLM) levels. It currently has over 5,500 students. And in the first national ranking of universities in the Republic of Macedonia, in February 2012, SEEU was ranked second out of nineteen higher education institutions according to the study conducted by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University (a well-known international ranking system for universities).

SEEU University in Tetovo Macedonia
South East European University, Tetovo Macedonia.
SEEU seal IU and SEEU
Official seal of SEEU and Plaque noting aid from IU and USAID

November 18, 2011, the President of Macedonia, Gjorge Ivanov, presents a special award to SEEU Rector Prof. Dr. Zamir Dika. The ceremony was held at Macedonia's presidential palace in Skopje.

IU Vice President David Zaret, Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov, and SEEU Rector Zamir Dika.

November 19, 2011. A new agreement of support and cooperation between IU and SEEU is signed by IU President Michael McRobbie, Vice President David Zaret and the SEEU Rector, Prof. Dr. Zamir Dika. This ceremony was held on the main SEEU campus in Tetovo.

IU support for SEEU began when it received an initial three-year award from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to help establish SEEU and help promote economic development of the Tetovo region through, among other activities, the introduction of academic programs in such fields as business, communications, education and public administration. In fall 2004, IU's Center for International Education and Development Assistance was awarded a second USAID grant to continue its work at SEEU.

Support for SEEU has included various partnership activities that have brought many members of SEEU staff to Indiana University's Bloomington and Indianapolis campuses. Currently, David Zaret is a member of SEEU's Board of Trustees.

IU President Michael McRobbie, IU Vice President David Zaret, and SEEU Rector Zamir Dika signing agreement.
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