Hopscotch Under Construction

During the last three months the Youth Council of the US Embassy in Macedonia implemented a project for promotion of American youth-led theater, the production of the play Hopscotch by Israel Horowitz. The play tells a story of two young people and their evolving relationship – from strangers to lovers and enemies. The project emphasis was on cultural, educational and artistic merit providing entertainment while educating the audience with the though-provoking content and dialogue.

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The production of Hopscotch was a unique theatrical experience for the director and the actors as well. The whole process of staging the play was intended as a theatrical workshop through which the actors were educated about the American theater and then the audience through the performance. The approach was based on Uta Hagen’s acting method, influenced by the great Konstantin Stanislavski.

12391901_10153295562842157_1576510279000005735_nThrough this method, the actors were taught to become the character. In the beginning, the actors visited “psychotherapy” speaking as they were the characters themselves. The task was to understand what the characters want and how to deliver their needs. From this point on, the actors had the job to understand the hidden messages in the plot and convey this to the audience.

Staged in 16 rehearsals, the play was performed in English. The audience had the opportunity to watch a modern American piece in an alternative environment and witness a different type of acting not as present in Macedonia. The idea was to introduce an alternative play production by choosing an old theater as an unconventional place for art and drama which proved to be more challenging in staging the play. Both, the producer and director had additional roles as stage designers and marketing agents. Besides the free entrance, the interest for the play was not as high as expected. Around 100 people saw the play which was performed 4 times total. This led to the conclusion that the Macedonian audience is used to attending cultural events at conventional places and that the alternative stage needs more opportunities for development. The most visited performance was at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Skopje, Macedonia.

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The play was produced by the Youth Council of the U.S. Embassy in Macedonia and directed by Filip Petkovski. The director graduated from the Duquesne University’s Theatre Department in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

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Panel Discussion “Youth Vacuum in Elections and Policy Making”

The Youth Council of the US Embassy presents: Panel Discussion “Youth Vacuum in Elections and Policy Making”

The panel discussion will take place at the LH4 Hall at South East European University in Tetovo on December 16th 2015 (Wednesday) from 13 to 14 o’clock.

GUEST PANELISTS:
– His Excellency Ambassador Jess L. Baily, U.S. Ambassador to Republic of Macedonia.
– Representative of OSCE Mission to Republic of Macedonia.
– Prof. Dr. Veton Latifi, Professor of Law and Politics at South East European University and President of the Institute for Development and Democracy at SEEU.
– Prof. Dr. Ylber Sela, Professor of Law and Politics at State University of Tetovo and President of the Institute for Political and International Studies in Skopje.

After the short remarks from the guest speakers, we encourage all of you to ask the panelists any question you’ll have related to the topic of the panel discussion.

Check out the event on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1050248738353065/

Hope to see you all there!delhi-youth

“Orange Action”- 16 days of Activism

On 10th of December the world marks the International Human Rights Day[1]. This is the day when the United Nations, together with many different organizations and institutions remind the world about the importance of respecting the human rights which lead to one equal society based on democratic values.

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This year’s Human Rights Day is devoted to the launch of a year-long campaign for the 50thanniversary of the two International Covenants on Human Rights: the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 16 December 1966. “Our Rights. Our Freedoms. Always.” aims to promote and raise awareness of the two Covenants on their 50th anniversary. The year-long campaign revolves around the theme of rights and freedoms — freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear — which underpin the International Bill of Human Rights are as relevant today as they were when the Covenants were adopted 50 years ago.[2]

Orange the world poster 2015

 

The date is also important from one another aspect. It marks the end of the “16 days activism against gender based violence” [3]. This campaigning around the World starts at 25th of November- the International  Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. This day is also known as “Orange Day”. The orange color symbolizes the fight for equality between the genders and the fight for combating violence.  The Orange day puts the women in focus because 1 in 3 women worldwide experienced physical or sexual violence-mostly by an intimate partner. [4]This year, the UN invited the counties around the world to “Orange the world” by on lightening in orange one of their most important national landmarks. This campaign was supported by more than 70 countries[5], including Macedonia.

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On 25th of November the Stone Bridge in Skopje was colored in orange. [6] Beside this campaign and initiative of the mission of the United Nations in Skopje, other organization and networks got involved in these actions. Zonta Club Skopje [7] organized round trip around the country with the orange bus that included panel discussions and many other activities for awareness raising among the general population.  The National Network to End Violence against women and Domestic Violence in their campaign stress the fact we must fight against this problem 365 days in the year. [8]

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And that’s true- we must speak up about this issue every day, everywhere!

Together we can build one better world. Join us!

Sources:

[1] http://www.un.org/en/events/humanrightsday/

[2] http://www.un.org/en/events/humanrightsday/

[3] http://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/ending-violence-against-women/take-action/16-days-of-activism

[4] http://www.unwomen.org/en/digital-library/multimedia/2015/11/infographic-violence-against-women

[5] http://www.un.org/en/women/endviolence/orangeday.shtml

[6] http://makfax.com.mk/makedonija/opstestvo/stavi-tocka-kameniot-most-zasveti-vo-portokalovo-vo-poddrska-na-kampanjata-protiv-nasilstvoto-vrz-zenite

[7] https://www.facebook.com/zontaclubskopje/?fref=ts

[8] http://www.radiomof.mk/semejno-nasilstvo/

World AIDS Days

Kissing and hugging don’t spread HIV – IGNORANCE does !

AIDS-Day-1st             What is HIV and where did it come from?

The human immunodeficiency syndrome is a virus that gradually attacks the human immune system which leads to the inability of the body to naturally defend itself from illness and infections. It is believed that the HIV virus is a mutation from SIV (simian immunodeficiency virus) originating from chimpanzees.

What is AIDS?

AIDS or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is the last stage of the HIV virus where the human immune system is too weak to fight off any infection.

What is World AIDS Day?

World AIDS Day is held on the 1st December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day, held for the first time in 1988.

How can HIV be spread?

                There are only three ways to spread HIV:

  1. Through unprotected sex.
  2. Sharing needles.
  3. Mother to child transmission.

 

Fast facts about the HIV Virus:

  • Kissing and hugging don’t spread HIV
  • 9 million people are living with HIV worldwide
  • There is a combination of antiretroviral therapy that slows down the progression of the disease
  • People with HIV who are taking medication have almost the same life expectancy as those who are not infected
  • The fastest growing group of people living with HIV in 2012 was the people in their 50s
  • If you have HIV, you would need to take just 1-2 pills a day
  • 5% of children born from mothers who have HIV, do not have the virus themselves

What should we be doing on World AIDS Day?

                World AIDS Day is an opportunity to show support to and solidarity with the millions of people living with HIV. Wearing a red ribbon is one simple way to do this. Another very important way is to seek a charity or organization that helps in the research for HIV/AIDS therapy and make a donation.

Marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Other Forms of Hate

On November 25, 2015, the Youth Council of the U.S. Embassy in Macedonia marked and observed the International Day Against Racism and the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women with an awareness booth at the South East European University in Skopje.

Flyers, posters, cards, stickers and booklets were handed out to students with strong messages to overcome violence against women, nationalism, fascism as well as online hate.

From 12:00 p.m.-1 p.m. more than 50 students visited the booth to learn more about this day and shared their experience with hate. They expressed current pressures in combating violence against women and explained that more laws should be passed rather than implementing the laws that are currently in place.

Students also addressed that the media only strives to spread the most extreme forms of violence against women, such as rape, trafficking of young girls, acid attacks and more forms; while forgetting the most common type of violence against women which is domestic violence.

The Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, and their work around the world is extensive.  They have made today, November 25th, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

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The Youth Council Presents: Hopscotch!

After the long pause, The Youth Council of the US Embassy in Macedonia presents to you the premiere of HOPSCTOCH by Israel Horovitz and directed by Filip Petkovski.

Cast: Stefan Vujisic and Dolores Popovic

Tuesday, 24.11.2015, 9:00 pm, Vlado Tasevski Auditorium (see photo for location)

reservations at hopscotch.macedonia@yahoo.com
or 071 968 957.

THE PLAY WILL BE PERFORMED IN ENGLISH. THE TICKETS ARE FREE OF CHARGE BUT A RESERVATION IS NEEDED.

See you there!

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Why I Became a Member of the Youth Council

When I was selected to be part of the first Youth Council of the US Embassy in Macedonia, I felt both honored and overwhelmed with emotions. I was nervous and felt great responsibility, but moreover privileged to be part of a group making changes and influencing the youth of Macedonia.

Upon reflection, today I would say I am part of the Youth Council because of my inspiration, my motivation, my urge, and my belief in the change and in the youth. I trust that the youth have the power to make changes, to be active, and to greatly influence their future and present. I thank the US Embassy in Skopje for giving me this opportunity, for recognizing my passion, and for encouraging me to further inspire the youth in Macedonia. I am thankful to all my peers and friends of the Youth Council that during these years proved that the passion and the motivation are worthwhile.

Have we created change? Yes, I believe so. I am proud of all projects we have implemented the people who were inspired by our effort and work. Here I will mention the young people from the three Career Expos in Skopje and Tetovo. More than 1,000 young people visited the fairs, made contacts, received training, and became more active in their community. Many started volunteering or interning and the luckiest among them have found gainful employment.

Then there was “The Hardest Job is to Find a Job” workshops, where we trained 30 motivated young people from Berovo, in preparing for their first interview, for finding their dream job, and for creating their personal and professional portfolios. There is also our volunteering initiative, YANA (You Are Not Alone) which we developed with our friends at Summer Work Travel Alumni. YANA seeks to empower young people to volunteer and give back to their communities.

I would say we made a change by spreading our mission and vision for more proactive youth, sharing

our experience from the Council, empowering the youth giving them support and showing that there are

like-minded people who believe in change.

I became member of the Youth Council because of these people and many others I met along the way.

Ruzica Stojanovska