IRI established a new policy think tank in Macedonia in June 2006.  The October ceremony officially launching the Ohrid Institute for Economic Strategies and International Affairs was attended by more than 100 people including newly-elected Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski.

The Ohrid Institute is an independent, nonpartisan policy institute that will promote universal values of democracy, individual responsibility, freedom of markets and entrepreneurship.  The institute will conduct and publish research materials relevant to its work, organize round tables and lectures and lobby for free-market policies, lower taxes and more effective and efficient government in Macedonia.

In his keynote address at the October launch, Prime Minister Gruevski applauded the institute’s launch, indicating that it would have his government’s support.  He commented that there was a great need for independent sources of sound policy research, and indicated that his government would rely upon the Ohrid Institute as it implements its ambitious program of reform and economic development for the country.

Following the event, the institute held a roundtable discussion with prominent experts and political leaders.  Participants discussed the mandate voters gave the government in the July 2006 elections and tried to identify policy priorities for the new government.  The priorities identified will serve as the basis for the Ohrid Institute’s policy research in the coming months.

In addition to the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Finance, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, and a number of members of the Macedonian parliament attended the event.  Also present were the British Ambassador, the Ambassador of Slovenia and the Acting Head of Mission of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe.

The Ohrid Institute was made possible through funding from the National Endowment for Democracy. 

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