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Macedonian President to receive Methodist peace award

NEW YORK – President Boris Trajkovski of the Republic of Macedonia will receive the 2002 World Methodist Peace Award.

The World Methodist Council (WMC), which has presented the award annually since 1977, will honour Mr Trajkovski in Oslo, Norway, when its Executive Committee meets there this month.
In announcing the award, the WMC cited Mr Trajkovski’s efforts to bring economic stability and peace to his European country.

He is a lay preacher and active member of the small United Methodist community in Macedonia, often assisting in services at his church in Skopje, according to the Rev Peter Siegfried, an executive with the United
Methodist Board of Global Ministries.

Mr Trajkovski’s vision of a united country, with both Macedonians and Albanians living in peace, helped him win the Albanian vote in the 1999 elections, the Rev Siegfried noted. Mr Trajkovski also played a crucial role in pushing Macedonia’s Parliament to approve a new constitution that recognises the Albanian minority as well as the main non-Orthodox religious groups. Those groups include Roman Catholics, Jews, Muslims and Methodists.

The 46-year-old President formerly served as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Macedonia. He received a law degree from the University of St Cyril and Methodius in Skopje in 1980 and had specialised in commercial and employment law. He and his wife, Vilma, employed by the National Bank of the Republic of Macedonia, have two children.

During the past 12 years, Mr Trajkovski has participated in international conferences involving conflict resolution, religious tolerance and religious freedom. According to his official biography, he is committed to improving relations and cooperation between Macedonia and other countries.

An example of Mr Trajkovski’s commitment to peace and inter-religious understanding was seen in May, when more than 40 international scholars and nearly 50 local scholars representing the Muslim, Jewish and Christian faiths met in Skopje for a “trialogue”.

Religious leaders in Macedonia also agreed to create a Council on Inter-religious Cooperation, and the heads of the five religious communities pledged to meet on a quarterly basis. – United Methodist News Service.