Lecture by prof. Rubin Zemon, PhD, ANCSEE/Institute for Advanced Studies, Skopje

Topic: Challenges, practices and experiences of managing diversity societies in Northern Macedonia



The Republic of North Macedonia, after the great challenge related with a name dispute with the Republic of Greece, as well as the misunderstandings that the Republic of Bulgaria imposes on history, is facing an internal social problem, too. Will it develop as it has so far in ethnic democracy which has led to great divisions in society at all levels and on all grounds, or as one integrated and cohesive society. In order to find a way out of multiethnic puzzles, all forces in society must begin to seek what connects them. Intermediate mergers must be sought, which will need to be seen and reflected in the public sphere. The “battle” is for a fairer distribution of resources, for the development of a democratic society, for the building of a society as opposed to a “divided” one, and for investment in intercultural dialogue and tolerance, not on “differences.” The absolutization of ethnic differences leads citizens to an unequal position in the state. Multiculturalism must not be equated with ethnic democracy, nor with a model of selective justice. Ethnic democracy is exclusive, discriminatory by definition, celebrating ethnic power and the privileges of ethnic elites.

Successfuly management of the diversity at all levels is necessary for lasting peace, stability, prosperity and successful functioning of democracy in plural societies. Successfuly management of diversity requires formal and up-to-date recognition and acceptance of all socially relevant diversity, including culture, ethnicity, language, and religion. Effective regulation is also needed, including inclusion, integration, multicultural and intercultural strategies and policies, as well as effective mechanisms to identify and address potential problems, crises and conflicts.

The attempt of the Republic of North Macedonia through the national strategy for development of the concept of One Society and interculturalism, is a pioneering systematic attempt of the state to direct the processes in the society towards integration and cohesion. Implementation of this strategy should begin to eliminate all ethnic divisions. The success of a society will be seen in the success of integration.