Village's Taneff strives for Macedonia-Columbus link
By MERYL WILLIAMSThe Macedonian ambassador to the United States made his second trip to Columbus in a year on Thursday, June 19 very a special reason.
"The main event for our visit here is to open the Honorary Consulate office here in Ohio," said Ambassador Zoran Jolevski, who visited the area with a delegation of five others.
New Albany's own Thomas Taneff was named to the honorary consulate to the ambassador. Taneff served as a village councilman for 10 years and is a prominent adoption attorney. The appointment is the first in the Midwest. There are only two other Honorary Consuls in the U.S.
Taneff, a first-generation immigrant from Macedonia, said he is honored to be the honorary consul for the ambassador, and he has a personal tie to the country.
"The love of the country was instilled in us the day we were born," said Taneff. "Also the love of the culture, music, art, and food."
Taneff said he hoped the office would lead to stronger ties between the Macedonian population in Ohio and their native country.
Ohio has a population of at least 100,000 Macedonians, and a large portion of them live in Columbus, said Andia Sangale, an advisor in Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman's office.
She spoke at the opening ceremony which was held at 5:30 p.m. June 19 evening at the office in Taneff's downtown Columbus law office.
"We're so thrilled to have this office here," said Sangale. "We hope this brings more Macedonians to Columbus."
The ambassador shared some of his favorite moments in his career, which began last July when he presented his credentials to President George W. Bush upon starting his post.
"We had a good discussion with President Bush, who was a good friend to my president," he said.
His proudest moment came this past May, when the Declaration of Strategic Partnership between the U.S. and Macedonia was signed. The creation of the Honorary Consulate Office in Ohio was as a direct result of the signing, which was done out of recognition of the common goals between the two nations.
As consulate, Taneff will work to promote good relations between the countries, and strive to stoke culture exchanges, trade and tourism.
"It is emotionally very rewarding," he said. "I want to know that I might help improve the lives of people in Macedonia and help people here with local business opportunities."
The delegation and Taneff met with the Chamber of Commerce of Central Ohio to discuss benefits of investing in Macedonia, and they hope to see a return on their efforts.
"We've had two good meetings with local corporations that might invest over time," said Gligor Tashkovich, minister of foreign investments, who accompanied Jolevski as a representative to the government of Macedonia.
The ambassador said his second trip to the city was en enjoyable one.
"I hope to make two trips a year," he said. "We now have a strong tie with Columbus."
A reception was held at Taneff's New Albany home after the ceremony.
"It is emotionally very rewarding. I want to know that I might help improve the lives of people in Macedonia and help people here with local business opportunities."