October 26, I participated in a ribbon cutting at a school in Tetovo, Macedonia, just north of Skopje. The school is part of a joint USAID-EUCOM initiative in Macedonia to encourage schools to conduct ethnic integration through education.
The partnership is coming along well. Through the Office of Defense Cooperation, we replaced the dilapidated floors and windows of a secondary school for 1,600 students (at less than $20 per student), which in turn improved their learning environment immensely.
The $300K in Humanitarian Assistance funds we are contributing this year to the program will upgrade 11 schools in Macedonia. This is a four-year program that not only upgrades facilities but, through USAID's good offices, provides the necessary training and education to teachers and managers on inter-ethnic integration. Schools that commit to this Macedonian government-led approach receive such assistance. This is a great example of a long-term, sustainable, interagency activity that is in alignment with, and prioritized within, our country strategy and the theater campaign plan.
In this PDF, Ribbon cutting at a school in Tetovo, Macedonia (.pdf, 593 KB), you'll see the level of commitment to the program and the resulting joy on the part of the recipients. Ambassador Wohlers; Deputy Prime Minister Džaferi; Minister of Education; Kralev; Mayor of Tetovo, Bexheti; School Director, (first name) Hismani; and I cut the grand opening ribbon. The embassy was well represented by the Ambassador, the Defense Attaché, the Office of Defense Cooperation Chief, and the USAID office. The EUCOM-USAID team hit a home run here!
Michael Ryan Director, ECJ9