Institut für Friedenspädagogik Tübingen e.V.

Home / English / Peace Counts on... / Station: Macedonia, October 2007

Station: Macedonia, October 2007

Exhibition and Workshops in the National Gallery Skopje

After the successful implementation of the pilot project in Sri Lanka (February 2007), "Peace Counts on Tour" continued in Macedonia in October 2007. The on-site partner was the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Their "Spillover Monitor Mission to Skopje" was initiated in 1992 and is the longest lasting mission of the OSCE.

Macedonia is considered to be an example of successful conflict prevention, and particularly because of international organizations like the OSCE. At the same time, Macedonia still carries with it a high potential for conflict and the peace groups and networks (both inside and outside of Macedonia) need continued support and encouragement. The violent riots between Albanian rebels and Macedonian police and the army escalated in 2001. However, because of intervention on the part of NATO, the EU, and the OSCE, the violence could be dampened. With international pressure, the conflict parties were able to agree on the "Ohrid Framework Agreement," in which improved rights for minorities were the focal point. This was achieved through changes in the constitution.

However, the constitutional changes from the Ohrid Framework Agreement were questioned. The Macedonian minorty viewed them as harmful to their national rights because the reforms called for "positive discrimination" in favor of the Albanian minority. This led to a large divide between the two groups, which still characterizes Macedonian society today. The Macedonian educational system can be analyzed as an indicator (and also a cause) of the persisting ethnic tension. Previously ethnically mixed schools were separated, and the teachers are highly politicized. The number of people who know the national language of Macedonian within the Albanian minority is decreasing. Those schools which are ethnically mixed are lacking teachers. Such a deep divide often has the effect of creating prejudices in young children and negative social models of behavior.

Furthermore, the Ohrid Framework Agreement ignores the Roma minority. As in most eastern and southeastern European countries, the Roma also belong to a greatly discriminated minority in Macedonia. Despite the Ohrid Framework Agreement and its implementation, the situation in Macedonia is still very tense. An additional strain on the country is the high unemployment rate, which is over 30 percent.

What's New


Peace Counts School