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Migration in Macedonia: history, demography, and inter-ethnic relations

The Mother Teresa University is organizing a two-day conference on Migration in Macedonia: history, demography, and inter-ethnic relations. The conference aims to investigate the causes and effects of migration in Macedonia from socialist times to recent developments.

The movement of people from, in and to Macedonia has had important and far-reaching consequences for the country. Socialist modernization was accompanied by extensive migration processes from the countryside to the towns and urban centers, but not all communities were equally affected. At the same time, Macedonia was characterized by strong migration waves to Turkey (from 1953 to 1968), to Australia (in the 1960) and to European countries and USA (from the late 1960s on). Beside that there was an influx of people from neighboring Greece during and after the end of the Greek civil war and from Kosovo and Serbia during socialism and with the outbreak of the Kosovo crisis. All these migration processes triggered far reaching consequences on various levels. Migration led to changes in demography and settlement patterns, it had an impact on the social integration and marginalization of people, on economic up- and downward mobility, on transnational politics and ‘Diasporization’ as well as on cultural transformations. Above all, these turbulent migration processes had far-reaching effects on inter-ethnic relations.

In addition, the role of migrants and migration in the political economy of the country has caused a dependency on migration that is still noticeable today. Indeed, migration has continued to be a problem in Macedonia as hundreds of citizens attempted to leave the country as soon as visa liberalization was in place. These recent events show a further need for debate and research into the causes of large mobilizations of people to leave the country. In order to understand migration in the contemporary context, scholars must also examine the historical context, and this conference aims to represent both these dimensions.

The conference will bring together local and international historians and social scientists in order to establish new avenues of research and academic debate. It will be held in the premises of the newly founded Mother Teresa University in Skopje, Macedonia from 16 to 17 October 2017.