President Ivanov delivers lecture at Oxford Union


The foundation of reconciliation is respect. It is an obligation of your generation because the generation you belong to lives globally, every day you are contacting with other cultures, other religions. You must understand that the other doesn’t want to be tolerated, they want to be respected, President Gjorge Ivanov said delivering a lecture at the prestigious Oxford Union.

Referring to the challenges of the modern world, President Ivanov presented to the Oxford students the Macedonian model of coexistence and respect of diversity, his cabinet said in a press release on Tuesday.

“The philosophy of respect has always prevailed in my country. I don’t want you to tolerate me, I want you to respect me. Respect me for what I am so that I can respect you. We have been respecting the Muslims for six centuries because they are respecting us, too,” noted Macedonia’s President.

Mentioning global challenges facing the world, Ivanov referred to the so called post-state reflected in post-democracy, post-capitalism and post-national countries all the while speaking about the migration issue calling it ‘modern nomadism’. At the moment, widespread migrations of peoples are taking place, according to Ivanov.

“Million migrants transited through Macedonia in 2015. We helped these people as much as we could. But once the migrant route had started to be abused by terrorists, extremists, when it had been used by people to arrive in Europe and to commit terrorist crimes starting from Paris, we closed the border and said only refugees, not economic migrants, had the right to seek asylum. Refugees are those who flee their homelands. Some 1,000 foreign fighters from our region left for Syria and Iraq. Of those, 60% came back. Close to 6,000 foreign fighters from Europe went to Syria. Now, they are coming back. They went as extremists only to return as terrorists. We were convinced we would deradicalize them. No. It was obvious that they cannot be deracialized, they should be isolated,” stressed President Ivanov.

On the onset of the third millennium, he said, the power of countries migrates towards the communities. As the world is more and more digitally connected, the diversity from the East migrates towards the West, which requires different worlds to learn about each other.

“Back when I was university professor, and now as head of state, I am making attempts to apply all fresh ideas both at regional level and an European level. Whenever I have the chance, at the United Nations, I am naming the challenges of our generation and responsibility of what kind of legacy we will leave behind. Thus, each and everyone of us should play their part in making life on this planet so much better, not making it worse,” concluded President Ivanov.

The lecture was attended by students and professors from the University of Oxford.

Ivanov also met the Chancellor of the University of Oxford, Lord Chris Patten.

Established in 1823 to protect freedom of speech in England, nowadays the Oxford Union is considered one of the most renowned debating society in the world.

As part of his working visit to London, President Ivanov will meet the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, and the Speaker of the House of Lords, Baron Fowler. The Macedonian President will also address the Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, to discuss Macedonia, migrations and security.

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