Prestigious and deserved. The 2011 Max van der Stoel Award was presented to the Nansen Dialogue Centre Skopje (NDC). The award ceremony took place in The Hague, the Netherlands, and was attended by senior Dutch government officials as well as members of Max van der Stoel’s family.
The international jury decided to award the NDC Skopje for their “outstanding work in advocating intercultural education and promoting cooperation between ethnic communities.”
According to the jury, NDC Skopje took on the challenging task of bringing together students, parents and teachers in the area that has been affected by the 2001 conflict and is characterized by great ethnic divisions. The jury also considers that NDC’s integrated bilingual schools are an example of respect for diversity, bilingualism and harmonious relations between teachers, students and their parents from different ethnic backgrounds.
NDC Skopje continued the important legacy left by the late Max van der Stoel in the country, said OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities Knut Vollebaek, who addressed the ceremony. He added that NDC Skopje supports education reforms aimed at eliminating inequalities and guaranteeing the rights of national minorities, while promoting interethnic interaction.
After the award, numerous media in North Macedonia spread the word that the Macedonian non-governmental organization is the winner of the prestigious award that has such great significance.
Previously, an OSCE team visited the Municipality of Jegunovce and made a short documentary about the local community, its life-style, reasons why it was necessary to intervene in the rapprochement of the Macedonian and Albanian ethnic communities, as well as the achievements of NDC Skopje. The film was screened at a ceremony in The Hague.
The Max van der Stoel Award has been awarded since 2001. It was established by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and celebrates the name of the first OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities. The award is presented every second year to an individual, group or institution for outstanding achievement in promoting the position of national minorities in OSCE participating countries.