INTERVIEW with H.E. Dusanka Divjak – Tomic, the Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia in the Republic of Macedonia and Honorary President of 2014 DMWC International Charity Bazaar
“Dobredojde” Macedonia Welcome Centre
Your Excellency, you have been working in Macedonia as a Serbian ambassador, meeting a lot of people and visiting places. What are the most vivid impressions from Macedonia that you are going to keep in your memory for a long time?
First of all, let me express my satisfaction and honor to be the honorary president of DMWC for several years. It has been a great benefit to me to work within the group of beautiful people and enthusiasts, dedicated to the promotion of both its own country and the friendship between the representatives of many other countries and cultures.
Here lies a great part of the answer to your question about what my most vivid impressions are from Macedonia that will certainly remain in my memories, meaning – the people, before all.
What I also liked very much was travelling and visiting different parts of Macedonia. Macedonia is really very rich in natural beauties, with its lakes, river and mountain gorges, colourful villages, live cities. Such beauty cannot leave anyone untouched.However, it is not everything.
While learning about the rich culture and history of Macedonia, I was also discovering how close our common history has brought our peoples and our cultures together.
Many times you have emphasised that it is your duty and desire to promote the friendship between the two nations. Which events during your stay in Macedonia especially contributed in that direction?Which are the places in Macedonia that remind you the most of your country?
Right. I always emphasise that because I truly believe in that. Whatever I have been working on during my mandate as a diplomat and particularly in my authority as the Serbian ambassador, was exactly with the aim to promote good relations and friendship between our peoples and countries. I hope that I have succeeded to provide some contribution to that aim.
I have already mentioned that Macedonia reminds me very much of my own country in many ways. Both countries are landlocked ones, but with other natural beauties that compensate the lack of the sea that I like very much. Let me mention only some of them, Skopje, as my own city of Belgrade – a very live city, is full of good restaurants, nice parks, valuable historical monuments, including those built by our Serb predecessors. Then, Demir Kapija reminds me of the Grdelica gorge on the Koridor 10 not very far from the Macedonian-Serbian border, as well as a variety of mountains and rivers, etc.Both countries are not big in their territory, but they are great in their richness in nature, culture, historical background and – above all, in their people.
Which towns or sites in Macedonia are the most interesting places to visit for the tourists from Serbia? Which sites and places would you recommend?
After Skopje, first to follow for a visit is Ohrid.A huge number of our people only pass through Macedonia on their way to Greece. Even along this route there are many opportunities to attract them to stop and rest for some time in Macedonia as well. To that aim, the tourist organisations must be more inventive and aggressive in their offers.
It is obvious that the road to reaching the European standards of the Western Balkan goes through greater cooperation, closer ties and better relationships between the countries. How will the ties between Serbia and Macedonia develop in the near future?
Both Serbia and Macedonia have the same strategic priority and work hard to join the EU as soon as possible. To fulfil this aim we have to reach the required EU standards with close cooperation and good relations between the countries in the region being some key factors. We are satisfied with our two countries cooperation as well as with the level of the relations between us in different spheres. However, there are much more opportunities that we have not used so far.There is a lot that remained ahead of us to do together, to the benefit of our own better future and achieving a much higher standard of living that our peoples deserve.
I am confident that good relations between Serbia and Macedonia will develop steadily in all fields of life, particularly in those that our peoples need the most – economy, infrastructure, tourism, culture, etc, and, never to forget, in the direct promotion of friendship between our peoples. In a word, in everything that brings us closer to each other and to the rest of Europe to what we tend to become a respectable member and partner.
Do you expect better cultural exchange in the near future between the two countries? Both countries would enjoy more frequent performances of Serbian theatre here, or bigger art exhibitions.
I could say with great pleasure that cultural exchange between our two countries is already very rich, both in scope and quality. Whatever performance comes from one or another country meets great interest and vast cultural hunger of numbers of people. The vivid proof of that was a very successful opening of the exhibition of archaeological facts of art from the National Museum of Serbia in the Archaeological Museum of Macedonia.
The above said obliges us all who are involved in the promotion of cultural cooperation,to invest even more efforts in times ahead.We have no program yet for the next year, but we are working on one which makes me feel optimistic. Lack of money in culture creates problems on both sides, no doubt, but I am of the opinion that strong dedication and enthusiasm could overcome any burden. We prove it in practice.
What is your vision for this region for the next ten years?
Very hard question! But, I have always been and remain optimistic because I trust in our capabilities to create in our region a much better and prosperous place to live. To reach that goal the prime obligation lays on our generation towards the future of our children. Referring to our two countries, I see Serbia and Macedonia as full members of the European family of developed countries.