Jan 29 2013
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Georgetown Hosts President of Macedonia on 'Balkans and the Gulf'
"It is always a deep honor and unique opportunity to host a world leader at SFS-Q. But in President Ivanov's visit we have the added privilege of also welcoming him as a thinker, a researcher, and a renowned visiting scholar in his own right." said Dean Gerd Nonneman.
Long before becoming Macedonia's fourth elected president on 12 May 2009, Dr.Ivanov was actively involved in civil society and youth organizations as a university student. His interest in understanding the complexities of multi-ethnic societies culminated in a doctoral thesis entitled "Democracy and Divided Societies:the Case of Macedonia."
Rejecting entrenched definitions of the geopolitical term "Balkanization" as an "oversimplified and shallow interpretation", Dr. Ivanov instead pressed the need for self-reflection in redefining conceptual frameworks about both the Balkans and the Gulf. "With only one book, Orientalism, Edward Said changed the perception about the Orient, about the East." he said.
In more recent history, Dr. Ivanov cites modern examples of Macedonia's policy of coexistence and cooperation through an examination of the Macedonian Constitution, as well as through the peace-building contributions of the "Forum of the Dialogue among Civilizations" initiative launched in 2003 under the leadership of Macedonia and with the cooperation of UNESCO.
In the journey through a rich historical and cultural mosaic, Dr. Ivanov identified both the Balkans and the Gulf as "crossroads of civilizations ... paved by empires, commerce, culture and religion." But instead of presenting a fractured picture of competing interests, these nexus of history are "places where civilizations don't clash, but communicate, interact, and merge, producing fertile ground for dialogue."
© Press Release 2013
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