New name, new luck? The latest debate is held in the city of Skopje, amid the turmoil of the negotiations to change the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) into something shorter (and snappier). It also comes four years after the project Skopje 2014 completely changed the landscape of Macedonia’s capital, filling it with gargantuan and massive statues to signal power and conjure up mirages of supposed past glory. Iskra Geshoska opines the following about Macedonia’s present: “This is a time when freedom, identities, solidarity and equality operate discursively through all constitutions and parliaments, while at the same time, ever so great class, cultural and ethno-national walls are erected. […] This is a time that announces the end of utopia and with it the end of the political in politics. Within the socio-cultural contexts like the Macedonian that exists and lives the paradox of their geo-strategic position as part of the European continent, but outside the economic, fiscal and security formation called the European Union, a very common topic of interest is this very autonomy, not of politics, but of the political.

Will a new name pave the way for a new utopia? Vedran Džihić, Biljana Ginova, Nikola Madžirov, Artan Sadiku, Elizabeta Sheleva, Sreten Ugričić and other eminent scholars, writers, and activists from German-speaking countries as well as Southeast Europe discuss the exemplary as well as the exceptional in today’s Macedonia.

Initiators: German Academy for Language and Literature, S. Fischer Foundation, Allianz Cultural Foundation
Partners: Kontrapunkt, Traduki
Supported by Traduki with German Federal Foreign Office funds


Musician Vlatko Stefanovski

Nenad Šebek, Ivan Dodovski, Ramadan Ramadani and Cyrill Stieger

Audience at the Skopje Debate

Carl Henrik Fredriksson, Robert Alagjozovski, Artan Sadiku and Sreten Ugričić

Questions from the audience

Minister of Culture of Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Asaf Ademi

Nebojša Vilić, Volker Weichsel, Biljana Ginova and Mariglen Demiri

Luan Starova and Ernst Osterkamp

Authors Arian Leka, Rumena Bužarovska and Olivera Kjorvezirovska

Poets Marko Pogačar and Nikola Madžirov

Vedran Džihić, Elizabeta Sheleva, Agron Tufa and Desislava Gavrilova

Marie-Janine Calic, Senada Šelo Šabić, Sašo Ordanoski, Ioannis Armakolas and Besa Arifi