The Australian Macedonian Council was disappointed to discover the content of a survey conducted by the Centre for Strategic Economic Studies. The Centre is a research organization of Victoria University for people of Slav-Macedonian background (www.cfses.com/survey-macedonia-2010.htm). According to their site the survey was conducted in partnership with the Macedonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the United Macedonian Diaspora.
According to an announcement made by AMAC, the UMD is a nationalist, US based lobby group with its head office in Washington, D.C. The UMD is well known for their support of territorial claims by the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia against Greece and Bulgaria.
More specifically the questionnaire includes inappropriate terminology such as Question 1, which asks for the respondent’s country of birth and provides the option “Aegean Macedonia (in Greece)”. AMAC states that: “the term “Aegean Macedonia” is a term coined by the Communist Party of Yugoslavia in order to legitimise its claims on the Greek province of Macedonia and in particular the port of Thessaloniki”. Question 15 then asks the respondent to what extent it agrees with the “Roadmap for Advancing Australia-Macedonia Relations”. According to the announcement the roadmap is a 14 point plan; a lobbyist construction of the UMD which it announced earlier this year. One of the Roadmap’s points which the survey asks is to what state the extent to which they agree is “Australia should recognise Macedonia’s constitutional name without delay”.
The announcement continues: “AMAC fails to see how the nationalistic formulations of a lobby group such as the UMD and offensive, racist terminology could form part of an anthropological research project which purports to examine how people maintain links with a homeland which represents an important part of their family background, identity or cultural heritage.””
AMAC has written to Victoria University and the suvery participants. AMAC is now waiting for a response.