Worldwide PanMacedonian Associations Letter to Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders)




Nina Gatzoulis

President of the Committee of World Pan-Macedonian Associations


Τel: 603-742-0466

Fax: 603- 617-2977

Médecins Sans Frontières
Rue de Lausanne 78
CP 116 -1211
Geneva 21
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Dear Sir/Madam,

We, the Worldwide Pan-Macedonian Associations, one of the largest Greek community organizations representing millions of Macedonians (Greeks from the Greek administrative region of Macedonia, who are ethnologically and linguistically Greek and are proud of their Macedonian cultural identity for millennia), and whose membership includes a significant number of physicians, are writing to you to bring to your attention our concern over the use of the term “Macedonia” to describe the country north of Greece on the maps of your esteemed organization. These maps have been found in booklets and donation material used by your organization for fund-raising even in Greece. We are fully aware that Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is one of the most altruistic organizations in the world and highlights the true nature of medicine. Your venerable organization is a Nobel laureate and our physician members are proud to call you their colleagues. However, your organization should respect its dogma that it is impartial, neutral, and that it operates independently of political agendas. Calling the country north of Greece “Macedonia” on maps is not an impartial act by MSF and is insulting to us, the Macedonians. Your Charter established in 1971 clearly states:
“Médecins Sans Frontières observes neutrality and impartiality in the name of universal medical ethics [and]…Members undertake to respect their professional code of ethics and to maintain complete independence from all political, economic, or religious powers.”
As you may be aware, Greece and its northern neighbour, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (the FYROM), have been at odds over the name of this fledgling state that gained its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Greece objects to the terms “Macedonia/Macedonian” to describe the country and its people because Greeks feel that the use of these terms by a non-Greek country/culture is an assault on our Macedonian cultural identity and name that have been part of the Greek world and history for over 2500 years. As a result, and under the auspices of the UN, Athens and Skopje are negotiating a way out of this imbroglio for 20 years now. In 1995 they both signed a UN-brokered Interim Accord that allowed the former Yugoslav republic to enter the UN under the internationally-recognized name “the FYROM”. Until an agreement is reached, and a mutually-accepted solution is achieved, the name of the new country should be “the FYROM”.

Additionally, each country should abstain from negative actions and language that may hinder the course towards a mutually accepted conclusion of this political conflict.
By mistakenly or carelessly using the name “Macedonia” or “Republika Makedonija (Republic of Macedonia)” on MSF maps (especially maps used for fund-raising), your organization seems to be taking sides in a political conflict that is insulting to Greece and is in defiance of the UN’s decision on the matter. We would remind you again of your charter and we ask that you correct the maps that your organization uses so that they reflect the internationally-accepted and UN-endorsed name of “the FYROM” for Skopje’s state. As it currently stands, alienating Greeks worldwide when asking for donations using such maps, is disrespectful.
We thank you for your cooperation. We look forward to a correspondence from your organization on this affair, and should you have any questions or concerns, we would ask that you contact us without reservation.

President of the Committee of World Pan-Macedonian Associations –Nina Gatzoulis

Pan-Macedonian Association USA- Dr. Antonios Papadopoulos-President

Pan-Macedonian Association of Australia – Dimitris Minas – President

Pan-Macedonian Association of Canada-Haralmpos Moutousidis- President

Pan-Macedonian Association of Europe-Archimandrite Dr. Panteleimon Tsormpatzoglou-President

Macedonian Chapters of Africa-Amyntas Papathanasiou-President

cc: Parliament of the Hellenic Republic

cc: Media

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