Zoran Jolevski is the current Minister of Defense for the Republic of Macedonia and a former diplomat. A man well educated in both policy and finance, Jolevski served his government in a variety of posts, including Secretary General, and has worked closely with the United Nations and other world organizations. His main focus as an ambassador has been improving both diplomatic and trade relations, while working on accession of Macedonia into the World Trade Organization and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Jolevski showed his commitment to his country during their most troubled times – organizing humanitarian aid during the Kosovo War and negotiating in the Macedonian Naming Dispute. His management skills saved the tobacco company Prilep from bankruptcy, and were put to use managing the Macedonian Airports. Even when he was not directly working in the government, his knowledge was highly valued by prominent politicians, and he worked as a consultant not only for his own government, but for other nations as well, in regards to international trade and finance. Jolevski continues to focus on modernizing Macedonia and incorporating them into the international trade scene.
Childhood & Early Life
Zoran Jolevski was born in Skopje, Macedonia on July 16, 1959. He received a Bachelor's in Economics and a Master's in Science of Law from Saints Cyril and Methodius University. He continued his education in The Netherlands, attending Erasmus University Rotterdam. He received his postgraduate degree there, and also holds a Ph.D. in International Economy from Cyril and Methodius.
Before his diplomatic career, he worked opened a travel agency and freelance tour director.
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In 1988, Jolevski joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He began his career as the Desk Officer for Germany and the United Kingdom. He then became Secretary for the Macedonian delegation to the International Conference on Succession of the Former Yugoslavia.
In 1994, he was appointed First Secretary to the Permanent Mission of Macedonia to the United Nations and the World Trade Organization. He also acted as Vice-Chairmain for a committee on Regional and Multilateral Investment Treaties during a United Nations conference on trade and development. He remained in Geneva for four years.
From 1998-1999, he worked as the secretary for WTO accession. During the Kosovo War, he became the Deputy National Coordinator on Humanitarian Issues for the Kosovo refugees.
Jolevski served as Secretary General to the President of Macedonia from 1999-2004. He was responsible for the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Macedonia and The People’s Republic of China - served as a member of the negotiation team that brought peace to the Balkans with the Ohrid Framework Agreement, and represented President Trajkovski at the session of the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia which made the necessary constitutional changes.
After the death of President Trajkovski in 2004, Jolevski refused an ambassador position to become a professor at the European University – Republic of Macedonia. He remained a government consultant and began working as Chief of Party for the WTO Compliance Activity and the Macedonian Business Environment Activity.
During this time, he also maintained his government involvement by becoming the Economic and Foreign Policy advisor to Nikola Gruevski, the leader of the VMRO-DPMNE, and the current Prime Minister of the Republic of Macedonia. In addition, he served as a consultant on WTO accession to the governments of Serbia, Ethiopia, and Montenegro.
In 2007, Jolevski was appointed as the Macedonian Ambassador to the United States. His main focuses were strengthening US-Macedonian relations, increasing US investments in Macedonian companies, and Macedonian accession in NATO. The next year he signed an agreement of Strategic Partnership and Cooperation with the then Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice.
In 2011, he became the first Macedonian Ambassador to the United Mexican States. He performed his duties from his office in Washington, D.C. Later that same year, he became the first permanent ambassador to the Organization of American States, when Macedonia was accepted as a Permanent Observer of the Organization of American States.
Jolevski’s term as an ambassador came to an end when he was appointed Minister of Defense by Prime Minister Gruevski in 2014. His main focus is increasing their cyber security, reforming their military academy, and creating partnerships of armed forces with other members of NATO.
One of Jolevski’s main achievements is considered to be his work in the Macedonian Naming Dispute with Greece. In 2008, he was asked by Prime Minister Gruevski to take over after President Crvenkovski withdrew Nikola Dimitrov from negotiations. In 2009, he attended the naming talks with Greece, where his words are credited with Greece’s openness to accept the proposal for the international use of "Republic of Northern Macedonia”.
Personal Life & Legacy
Jolevski is married to Suzana Jolevska, with whom he has two children, Pero (1988) and Filip (1992). Both sons work in the field of economics.
In addition to his native Macedonian, Jolevski speaks English, French, Serbo-Croatian, and Bulgarian. He has spoken at various political assemblies and institutions of learning all over the world.
In 2004, Jolevski was supposed to be on the plane that killed President Trajkovski. He was asked by the president to stay home the night before.