Europe House Buzz - February - Europe House

20 Мар


Europe House Buzz – February

Europe House Buzz – February
Professor at the Blazhe Koneski Faculty of Philology


Director of the International Seminar on Macedonian language, literature, and culture at Ss Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje

When asked which language we most easily express our thoughts in and if there was anything dearer and lovelier to a person than their mother tongue, Krume Kepeski responded as follows in the first Macedonian grammar, which was published in liberated Macedonia in 1946: “Our mother tongue is the first language we picked up from our mothers when we were young. The mother tongue is the most precious and loveliest thing there is. Only when we hear someone speaking our language in a strange land can we experience this type of excitement. How naturally we communicate with one another in our native language!”

We also acknowledge that the mother tongue predates all standardised, literary languages and survives independently of grammars, textbooks, and books. Therefore, every child’s mother tongue is the language he or she first hears while still in the womb, the language that gently caresses them as they calmly feed and develop in the womb, as well as in their mother’s arms, the language with which they fall asleep, and the language that they are shown how much they are loved. The masculinity of the language embraces the femininity of the mother since the word mother in Macedonian is feminine while the noun language is masculine. As a result, the syntagm “mother tongue” develops into the synonym for the original language, the first spoken language.

Our greatest writers were inspired by this idea while they penned their works. At the time, they never even considered that their plays, poems, and other works produced in the language of their people, the Macedonians, would one day be recognised as national treasures at a time when their vernacular was not yet standardised.

Because of this, Konstantin Miladinov began to write verses in his mother tongue based on Struga dialects in the mid-nineteenth century. For this reason, Gjorgija Pulevski wrote the famous dictionary Trijazichnik [Trilingual Dictionary] (1875) in his native speech, the Macedonian people’s national language, comparing the language his mother taught him with two other languages, Turkish and Albanian.

And Vojdan Chernodrinski never imagined that with his rich dramatic works written in his mother tongue, he would become the father of Macedonian drama, theatre, and opera. None of the three authors, Vasil Iljoski with “Begalka” [Eloper], Anton Panov with “Pechalbari” [Migrant Workers] or even Risto Krle with “Parite se otepuvachka” [Money is a Murderer],” although written in the language they were most comfortable with and performed on the stage of the Skopje Theatre, never imagined they would become so successful. They did not anticipate that these plays would capture the attention of theatregoers with such ease. The reason for this was that these plays were performed in the language of the local people.

Aco Shopov’s “Poems” (1944) and Kocho Racin’s “Beli mugri” [White Dawns] (1939) were both written and published in the vernacular, in their mother tongue, in the language that was not entirely codified.

Moreover, the Macedonian vernacular was used for the education in the first liberated area in what was then Macedonia during the World War II in September 1943, nearly a year before ASNOM, when the foundations of the independent state and the future standard Macedonian language were laid. Then, exactly 80 years ago, Vasilko Risteski instructed his class to study Macedonian by utilising phrases from our own language in the local school in the village of Podvis (Kichevo).

Hence, as Kepeski explains, it makes perfect sense why our emotions spring with excitement when we hear someone speaking to us in our mother tongue while we are abroad, when we learn that it is also their native language, or when we hear a song from our regions sung in our local dialect. Kepeski’s observation that speaking our native language is the simplest way to express ourselves is thus entirely justified. As is the case with this speech of mine, which would otherwise be a minor contribution to the International Mother Language Day and which was written in Macedonian, my mother tongue, which has evolved into the standard form of Macedonian.

And what a joy it is when someone who speaks another language wants to learn our mother tongue, as is the case with foreign researchers of the Macedonian language (students, professors, translators) who examine our language, literature, and culture in a variety of university-level courses and at the Summer School in Ohrid and the online Winter School organised by an International seminar on Macedonian language, literature and culture at the University St. Cyril and Methodius in Skopje.

International Mother Language Day: #CultureTalks: Supporting the preservation of the mother language through literature

The month of February was dedicated to spreading awareness of the value of protecting the mother languages. The #CulturalTalks debate moderated by Ana Zafirova, Protecting and Promoting the Mother Language through Literature, was one of the highlights of this month. The Head of the EU Delegation H.E. David Geer, the Minister of Culture, Bisera Kostadinovska-Stojchevska, the Director of the International Seminar on Macedonian Language, Literature and Culture, Dr Vesna Mojsova-Chepishevska, author and EU Prize for Literature laureate Petar Andonovski, and Dejan Vasilevski, Macedonian language lecturer were also present. The conversation brought up several issues, including how to safeguard cultural identity while conserving mother-tongue languages.

Aco Shopov, Kocho Racin, Blaze Koneski, and the Institute of Macedonian Language all have notable literary anniversaries in 2023. In addition to joining our On The Road Book Group, which meets throughout the year, readers can also enjoy the variety of the library’s collection of 420 novels by European authors translated into Macedonian as part of the Creative Europe Initiative. The BABYLON Award for the Best Young Translator celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, and there are also a number of book launch events.

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Celebrating the International Day of Women and Girls in Science

“Bringing everyone forward for sustainable and equitable development.”

How might plans and programmes for sustainable development place science, technology, and innovation at the forefront? What kind of assistance are young women scientists in need of, and how can they maximise their potential, and continue working and studying after completing their official education? These were just a handful of the inquiries that prompted us to think about holding this event.

We invited Hristina Spasevska, Professor at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technologies (FEIT) and National Representative in the Forum of the European Innovation Council, Jelena Djokic, Head of “Fab-Lab” and Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Tamara Dimitrova, PhD candidate at FINKI and founder of the “Scamper” Educational Center, and Emilija Fidanchevski, Professor at the Faculty of Technology and Metallurgy to share their personal experience.

“The representation of women in science is currently a topic of debate on both a national and international level. Research, development, and innovation are centred on talent, including how to recognise it, develop it, maintain it in national economies, and recruit new talent. This is especially true of new policies. This integrated and interdisciplinary approach to collaborative action is becoming more popular, especially in the field of innovation,” –  says Katarina Krecheva of The Fund for Innovation and Technological Development, who also serves as the panel’s moderator.

The least we can do is to keep emphasising how much we support the efforts made by women in science in our society to create a link between scientific education research and real-world applications of science.

We support science and women in the field!

Integration of refugee students into the university and high school systems

“It’s a pleasure getting to know you! I appreciate you taking the time to read this.

I am Luka Pavikjevikj, the current president of the High School Students’ Union, the country’s main organisation that represents students in high school.

It was an honour for me to serve as the moderator of an event on February 24 at Europe House Skopje with the theme “Integration of high school and university student refugees in the education system” to mark the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

It was enlightening to see young people immersed in and devoted to coming up with a set of policies that would improve the lives of their peers who had been affected by tragedy and conflict, especially when the Students’ Union itself had presented the idea. It helped me realize – and I’m hoping Buzzers will too – that there are (young) people who are kind, sensitive, and virtuous enough to take the initiative and help those in need.

On a related issue, a Resolution calling for action and expressing solidarity was presented during the occasion. The Organising Bureau of European School Students Unions (OBESSU), of which the Union is a candidate member, adopted the Resolution. This was yet another example of how Europeans from many nations and identities united in the true spirit of the European Union to work for a common objective and uphold shared ideals.

I hope this occasion will serve as a timely reminder and motivation to everyone that, to be our best selves, we must all be considerate and ethical members of society.” – Luka Pavikjevikj, President of the High School Students’ Union


It’s odd how quickly time passes when you’re having a good time! We started writing our story what seems like only yesterday, and now here we are with a great two-year collection of wonderful experiences!


We celebrated our second birthday by reflecting art via the lens of a film camera, inspired by the majestic art of filmmaking.

Cinema is a reflection of its own society.” – Shohreh Aghdashloo

Following two years of dedication, zeal, and aspiration towards creating a youth-led society, we decided to use European cinematography as a means of telling our story briefly through movies that delve into further detail about the subjects that are most significant to us. The Macedonian full-length film “Sisterhood” (directed by Dina Duma) was screened in front of over 250 guests, including DHoM Julian Vassallo and the EU Delegation, young people, local government officials from the North-east region, and numerous movie enthusiasts, as part of Europe House Kriva Palanka’s celebration of its two years in business. This marked the official beginning of the European Film Week.

“My full-length film, Sisterhood, tackles the issue of cyberbullying; [cyberbullying] is a subject that worries us all. It is a worldwide issue that affects everyone, not just in Macedonia. After I watched the film at several festivals, I came to the realisation that society has to speak up more about these issues.” – Backstage conversation with director Dina Duma during Europe House Kriva Palanka’s Second Birthday Celebration.

Cinema is universal, beyond flags and borders and passports.” – Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

We travelled across the world and through our emotions during the European Film Week. We had films that received high praise from critics, some of the best cinematography now available in Europe, and films that took home prizes straight from the Human Rights Film Festival Berlin. These films all dealt with a variety of topics, including human rights, sexism and discrimination, societal hurdles, acceptance of differences, and living in the digital age. These movies were screened in a variety of locations in Kriva Palanka, Kratovo, and Kumanovo, and following each showing, young people engaged in workshops, discussions, and debates to express their ideas, concerns, and expectations.

Every viewer is going to get a different thing. That’s the thing about painting, photography, cinema.” David Lynch.

We were able to convey the stories from Europe to the Macedonian audience by using cinematography as the universal language between emotion and action. The European Film Week is ended, but unlike the films, which told their stories in around two and a half hours apiece, we are still conveying, developing, and learning our story with the help of our biggest companions, the children. Here’s to many more years spent together as we celebrate our second anniversary!


Europe House Strumica has turned two years old! The weekly programme included a range of activities and workshops in which secondary school students from various institutions, organisations, and corporations participated. The objective is to give young people in the area a forum for the sharing of opinions and new skills, which will enhance their sense of community and belonging in the long run.

In a series of workshops organised the week before our birthday, students had the opportunity to learn about the rich cultural past of this town and showcase their artistic talents by creating masks for the annual Strumica Carnival.

On February 20, we celebrated our birthday with the young European ambassadors. Visitors had the option to post their “Skills of their Dreams” on the “Digital Wall of Wishes” and discuss the talents they wanted to acquire in the future throughout a year of skills.

We concluded the week with an exhibition of the works created by the talented young artist Igor Mitev.

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