Interview by: Ana Alibegova
Edited by: Stefan Alievikj
Picture Credits: Forum Oratores
Nobody could ever imagine what kind of energy and positive atmosphere is evoked in an approximately 9 m2 room at the Faculty of Law “Iustinianus Primus” in Skopje, Macedonia. The colorful office makes a home to few young rhetoricians, who gather here to exchange opinions, share ideas and improve their public speaking skills. However, they do not keep their knowledge and experience for themselves only, but organize trainings in public speaking to spread the love for the rhetoric to their peers and high school students. At the annual oratory competition organized at the Faculty of Law in Skopje, they present their speeches to the wider audience, together with other students from Ss. Cyril and Methodius University. In March this year, the young enthusiasts set a special humanitarian event “A Night of Oration“, where they made a retrospective of the speeches by their members who marked the last 15 years in Macedonia and furthermore announced a Balkan competition in public speaking in very near future. For the magic of the public speaking and his experience as a young leader of a non-profit organization, we talked with Borjan Topukovski, president of Forum Oratores.
M!: Can you tell us something more about the beginnings of Forum Oratores? Who initiated the organization and how did it develop?
Borjan: The Club for Rhetoricians, Forum Oratores, is the only certified organization in the country that works on public speaking and rhetoric skills. The club was founded in 2001 by a group of young enthusiasts, participants of so-called “Night of Rhetors – Ivo Puhan” at the Faculty of Law “Iustinianus Primus” in Skopje. From its foundation until today, Forum Oratores has over 400 members, mostly university or high school students. In all these years, in the public speaking trainings and in our organizational activities, we have had numerous participants, who later have become leaders, media personalities and important people in the public life of the country!
M!: What is the main focus of Forum Oratores today? What are the activities and projects you are most proud of?
Borjan: We detect, stimulate, animate, promote and provide a training of future potential rhetoricians. Also we encourage our members to develop themselves further and boost their skills in public speaking, as well as we promote ethics in public speaking. Forum Oratores is a pioneer in developing individual speech styles. And with all of that, we affirm the young individuals within the social life. I am very proud of every single thing I have done for this organization. However, if I have to choose some of the projects I am particularly attached to, I would mention the public speaking training conducted for the Museum of Macedonian Struggle employees, the training in the Chamber of Commerce of Macedonia, as well as the International Forum, where we participate in the last three years and it is attended by students from the former Yugoslav countries. Nevertheless, in near future, I imagine Forum Oratores as a respectable international organization that connects young people throughout the Balkans and Europe through public speaking and rhetoric skills. The current generation of Forum Oratores is very close to achieving this goal, and I really hope that very soon everyone will be able to see the benefits of such an NGO in Macedonia and beyond.