common ground

Macedonia Meets West Liberty/Spinning the Globe

Program 0206 February 5, 2002

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(This text has been professionally transcribed, however, for timely distribution, it has not been edited or proofread against the tape.)

VIOLETA ALAROVA: [via a translator] This is my dream: to better the quality of life for my citizens; to have better streets, better places where we can get together, and a better looking city.

KRISTIN MCHUGH: This week on Common Ground, managing Macedonia. And taking a spin around the globe.

george Glazer:They are decorative arts and so they are decorative objects. They are also partly map. And then they are also scientific instruments because you could do scientific calculations with them.

KEITH PORTER: Common Ground is a program on world affairs and the people who shape events. It's produced by the Stanley Foundation. I'm Keith Porter.

MCHUGH: And I'm Kristin McHugh. Macedonia remains one of the world’s hot spots as ethnic Albanians living there seek improved minority rights. However, more basic concerns are on the agendas of six newly elected Macedonia mayors. The group recently toured the United States under the auspices of the State Department’s International Visitor Program. Their visit included stops in Washington, Portland, and Phoenix, and ended in two small towns amid the cornfields of eastern Iowa.

PORTER: Macedonia is working to decentralize its government, giving local elected officials a great deal more control over their cities. As Common Ground’s Cliff Brockman reports, the mayors are anxious for the reforms.

[sound of applause at a small meeting]

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: These visitors I understand represent at least six cities and they are the mayors of these cities.

CLIFF BROCKMAN: These Macedonian mayors are touring a junior high in Coralville, Iowa. It’s the first time any of the six have visited a school in the United States. Their tour takes them to a geography class where they are obviously enjoying themselves.

UNIDENTIFIED MACEDONIAN MAYOR: [via a translator, and speaking to the students] Well, you should feel a little bit lucky that you have only seven or eight subjects, yeah, in your curriculum. Well, in Macedonia they have 12 or 13.

[students groan and gasp]

UNIDENTIFIED MACEDONIAN MAYOR: [via a translator, and speaking to the students] And we have one question. We have a question for you. Where is Macedonia and what time is it there now?

[students laugh and talk]

BROCKMAN: Macedonia was once part of the Roman Empire. It’s now a landlocked state in the heart of the Balkans. Its two million citizens live in an area roughly the size of Vermont. Macedonia declared its independence from Yugoslavia in 1992. Ethnic tensions remained high as the conflict raged in neighboring Kosovo. Then last winter violence flared between ethnic Albanians and Macedonians. In August, after weeks of negotiating, both sides signed a peace agreement. But the pact remains tenuous as violence continues.

The visiting mayors politely answered questions about the conflict in their country. They also agree Slobodan Milosovic’s departure from neighboring Yugoslavia is good for the region. But it’s clear their main agenda is local politics. They’re learning as much as they can about what it takes to be a leader in a United States city. Violeta Alarova is the mayor of the Center municipality in Skopje, and the former director of a Macedonian radio station.

VIOLETA ALAROVA: [via a translator] It is a challenge, since I was born in the municipality that I am running. This is my dream: to better the quality of life for my citizens; to have better streets, better places where we can get together, and a better looking city.

BROCKMAN: Alarova may soon have the tools she needs to improve her home town. The national government is expected to soon approve four new laws.

IMIR SELMANI: [via a translator] See, the first law is a law that has to do with the local, what we call “self-government,” which gives us, or gives the local governments, much more authority.

BROCKMAN: This is Mayor Imir Selmani of Saraj Municipality in Skopia.

SELMANI: [via a translator] The second law will be the law of the financing. The new law that will be passed, it will be for financing the local government. And this law provides for the local government to collect itself the means from its citizens. If you follow the logic, then the more money we collect from our citizens the more we’ll have to spend. The third law has to do with the number of municipalities which we have in Macedonia or the way Macedonia has been divided into these municipalities. We have 123 of them at this point. But with the new law they’ll only be 80-something. Which means we’ll make bigger municipalities or districts, so the region will take—one municipality will take a bigger area of the country. And the last law has to do specifically with the capital of Macedonia, Skopje, will regulate the relationship between the city of Skopia and then the various municipalities which are within the city limits.

BROCKMAN: Selmani says the goal is to implement the reforms by the end of this year. Sulmani, an ethnic Albanian, was elected a little over a year ago.

SELMANI: [via a translator] Unemployment is the biggest problem, problem that we’re facing, but also the development of the infrastructure such as waste water treatment, and supply of water, and maintenance of roads as well.

BROCKMAN: Sounds very similar to some of the problems here?

SELMANI: [via a translator] Well, comparing the two, I believe that the place where we are at today here in the United States is much further down the road in resolving those problems. So we’ll have to work much more to catch up with you.

BROCKMAN: How do you think that you will be able to resolve some of those?

SELMANI: [via a translator] The resolution of these problems depends to a great degree in the passing of the new legislature that we expect will happen and the authorities that we will get through it. And this legislature is to be passed in the next few weeks or months. It will have the opportunity to have greater creativity in defining solutions to resolve these problems that the citizens are facing.

BROCKMAN: We hear a lot of, about violence in your country. Does that affect you in your city?

SELMANI: [via a translator] I am the mayor of a municipality which has a majority which is actually a minority at national level. There are 90 percent—my municipality consists of 90 percent Albanian population, which is only 25 percent of the nation at national level. And as you know in the past several months there has been an ethnic conflict between the Albanians and the Macedonians. And, but fortunately for my municipality and for myself as a mayor, there have been no ethnic conflicts in my municipality. The main impression I’ve head from this visit in the United States and what we can use as an experience in transferring to Macedonia is the way that the United States have regulated that interethnic relations here and how they’ve worked them out.

BROCKMAN: Ljubomiiz Janev is the mayor of Kocani. He’s a 39-year-old civil engineer. Like the others he’s fairly new at being mayor. He definitely likes the variety of municipal models the US has to offer.

LJUBOMIIZ JANEV: [via a translator] The first thing that impressed me was the various cities around the United States we visited; all have the option of choosing the form of government that best suits their needs and problems. In our country the regulations that determine how a local government is formed are very strict over what type of government a municipality may have. There are certain problems that a certain municipality may have that another doesn’t that can’t be resolved by that form of government.

BROCKMAN: Do you have enough resources for your city?

JANEV: [via a translator] There are great potentials to build and develop a strong and wealthy municipality where I live. But the current law and current form of local government doesn’t allow it because we have a strong centralized national government. At this moment there’s legislation in procedure at the National Parliament and we expect the new laws, when they are passed, will enable us to build such a strong and wealthy municipality and utilize those resources. With the new law we expect the municipality will become the foundation of the government and the country.

[sound of a vehicle driving along a road, then a honk]

BROCKMAN: This small Iowa town is home to a large turkey processing plant. At first the town might appear to have little in common with any of the cities the Macedonian mayors represent, but over coffee and cookies with West Liberty Mayor William Phelps they quickly find common ground.

WILLIAM PHELPS: It’s 54 percent diverse population. It’s mainly Hispanic and Laotian. The city has been diversely populated for many years. In fact, some of the Hispanic families are now in their third and fourth generation. We interrelate with each with common community goals. That brings us together as a city and we do not actually realize the strains of racism or ethnic backgrounds. We started to preserve our brick street heritage with volunteers that actually built two blocks of street this past summer. We had 43 organizations from town volunteer. All the churches and Latino volunteer groups and some of our organizations that exist for public service. Each organization laid in place 2,400 bricks. These are the kind of projects that make your community strong and that helped take down the barriers of ethnic and diverse groups. We encourage community events, local festivals, both in separate cultures and in one common culture.

PHELPS: OK, enough about our city. Now, back to the diverse populations. Do several of you face a concern or challenge in your cities with diverse population?

UNIDENTIFIED MACEDONIAN MAYOR: [via a translator] All of Macedonia found itself in such a situation. In the last five or six months we have been in this situation. And I believe that finding forms of uniting people are very important. Very important among the multiethnic, of multiethnic backgrounds.

BROCKMAN: For the most part the visiting mayors ask Phelps questions about how he runs the city. They discuss everything from the city’s budget to the local police force to a list of property the city owns. But it’s this question from one of the mayors that cuts to the heart of local government in a democracy.

UNIDENTIFIED MACEDONIAN MAYOR: [via a translator] Since the United States is considered to be one of the most democratic countries in the world, the question is how do your citizens participate in the decision-making process?

PHELPS: All of our council meetings are open meetings to all the public. We also televise on a local cable access channel, every council meeting. We advertise and hold community meetings for major projects in the works.

BROCKMAN: After six cities and numerous stops along the way, the Macedonian mayors say they are anxious to return home. They want to use the wealth of ideas they found in the US.

UNIDENTIFIED MACEDONIAN MAYOR: [via a translator] Your country is a very good friend and it helps a lot our small country. And your country has enabled us to have this visit. And we are certain that, that what you talked about, which is one of the most important issues, which is the interethnic relations, is something we’re certain that, it is something we will know how to preserve and build from.

BROCKMAN: Perhaps diplomacy at this grassroots level is a powerful tool for both countries. For Common Ground I’m Cliff Brockman.

GEORGE GLAZER: You have to engrave the paper map. You have to be able to create the sphere. You have to be able to create the stand and the brass and everything else.

MCHUGH: Spinning the globe, next on Common Ground.

PORTER: Printed transcripts and audio cassettes of this program are available. Listen at the end of the broadcast for details, or visit our Web site at Common Ground is a service of the Stanley Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that conducts a wide range of programs designed to provoke thought and encourage dialogue on world affairs.

MCHUGH: The Upper East Side of Manhattan is one of the most elite neighborhoods in America. At the corner of 72nd Street and Madison Avenue, a Ralph Lauren store sells $800 barn jackets and $7,000 fox fur bedspreads. Right next door is the George Glazer Gallery, America’s leading dealer in antique globes and maps.

PORTER: When Kristin and I arrived at the Glazer Gallery I expected oak walls, plush carpets, and soft lighting. What we found instead looks more like the overcrowded attic of an ancient geographer. As we walked up the steps to the small third-floor space, George Glazer himself met us at the top of the stairs.

GEORGE GLAZER: Maybe we should get some stuff out of the way so it doesn’t sound like when I’m doing it, I’m fumbling around.

[sound of Glazer fumbling around his shop]

PORTER: Glazer spent years as an antique furniture dealer in one of Manhattan’s prestigious auction houses. While there he fell in love with globes, particularly American-made globes. Nine years ago he opened this gallery, and despite its cluttered nature the collection is impressive.

GLAZER: Globes have so many things that are interesting about them. They have world geography, of course. They relate to astronomy. They relate to world politics. And they have interesting decorative art stands that are a product of the art period in which they were created.

PORTER: Do you see globes mostly as scientific instruments? Or are they decorative arts?

GLAZER: Well, the interesting thing about globes is that they are part and parcel of a few different things. They are decorative arts, and so they are decorative objects. They are also partly map. ‘Cause, and they have something called globe gores, which is the engraved map that is created in a certain way so it’s laid on the sphere. And then they are also scientific instruments because you could do scientific calculations with them. You could figure out world time, aspects of astronomy, aspects of the zodiac, things like that. So they’re really a combination of all three. Which is one of the reasons why they’re, they’re fairly esoteric. They don’t fit into one definite category. So typically for collectors or dealers they are a side thing. If a map dealer might have a few globes, or a scientific instruments dealer might have a few globes, or a furniture dealer might have a few globes. But because they are a part of all of those different areas none of them specialize in them as such. And that’s one of the things that I decided to do. ‘Cause I thought, that ultimately a globe is the most interesting collectible, the most interesting decorative arts object you could buy because it does combine all of those things.

PORTER: When were globes first produced, in what we would think of today as America?

GLAZER: Well, the first actual production of globes where they were manufactured, as opposed to maybe a one-off thing where somebody just drew a globe, would be by James Wilson, who’s considered America’s first globe maker. Wilson was a Vermont farmer and blacksmith, and he was determined to create a globe in the United States that would be on a par with British globes. The reason being that British globes he thought were—for one thing they were too expensive to buy in the United States. And for another thing they didn’t show the American West and the development of the American West in any sort of accurate detail. Then he learned all of that and he, it was a true American production. He made his own globes. And these globes are still around. They’re rare, but they’re not overly expensive.

PORTER: Do you have a Wilson globe here?

GLAZER: This is a James Wilson globe and you could find something called the “cartouche” on it, which is on a lot of globes, and that is the maker’s name and insignia. Here it’s called a “New American 13-inch Terrestrial Globe,” it says, “Exhibiting the greatest—exhibiting with the greatest possible accuracy the positions of the principle known places of the earth, etc.” He also talks about the fact that in the cartouche that it has the tracks of the various circumnavigators and new discoveries down to the period 1828. And it’s signed by “J. Wilson & Sons, Albany Street, New York.” See, a lot of the globes from the period were showing the new discoveries that were still being made or that had recently been made in the late 18th century. Captain Cook and in the mid-18th century, Admiral Anston were doing explorations. And a lot of times on American globes, still in the 19th century, you’ll see the paths or the tracks of their expeditions.

PORTER: For our radio listeners, can you give us sort of an overall description of this globe we’re looking at right now?

GLAZER: Well, it’s a 13-inch sphere. It’s got paper gores, which are—a gore is just a technical name for the engraved paper that is placed on the sphere and it has to be cut in a certain way. Then it’s set within a brass ring called the meridian and it’s on a nice turned wooden stand. And the varnish has yellowed so it has that old world parchment look to it. And then some of the tones of the greens on the globe have oxidized—that’s what happens to green over time. So, it has an antique look to it. Here in the United States you see that most of the West is just called “internal provinces,” really relating to Mexico. And in the Northwest, up where Washington state and Oregon would be now, it’s just called “Missouri Territory,” the Missouri, named after the Missouri River. It goes all the way out there.

PORTER: Just roughly, what would you expect to pay for a globe in this shape, from this era?

GLAZER: This Wilson globe is about $8,000. So they’re fairly expensive. On the other hand, if you think of it in terms of the importance of the globe, that it’s America’s first globe maker and that it’s relatively rare, I think that it’s actually a fair price for it. But globes can—if somebody is interesting in collecting globes they can have globes from the 1920s or pre-World War II period for far less money, for $100 or $200; and then globes after World War II are really inexpensive. It has a lot to do with how common they are.

PORTER: If we were to look at a British globe from the same time period what would be, what would we see differently out here in the western part of the United States at least?

GLAZER: Well, the British globes were much slower to follow on the American West, especially in the early period. Although really in later, in the mid-to-late 19th century the British did catch up. Indeed, a lot of American globes in the mid-to-late 19th century were made by W. & A.K. Johnston, which was a British maker. But there are some funny things that you can see sometimes. I’ve seen an early 19th-century globe that calls the American, the east coast, the colonies, the British colonies, even though we had won our independence long before that in the 18th century. The British globes also might tend more to show the British, the British Empire. And here’s a globe from—this is jumping up a hundred years now—but a globe that I’m pointing to now is from the 1930s. This globe has in its cartouche, it says “The Commonwealth of nations in red.” And this was a time when they were showing the extent of the British Empire. And subsequently in the 1960s and ‘70s, even actually in the post-World War II, right around the time of, of divisions that were being made after World War II as part of the various treaties, a lot of these nations received independence, or achieved independence. And so now the British Empire as such would look a lot different.

PORTER: The old saying about “the sun never sets on the British Empire,” this globe would prove that point?

GLAZER: Well, at this time that was so. But now with, you know, even to recently with Hong Kong receiving independence from Britain, this is, this is a concept that was really more of a mid-19th to, I would say World War I, pre-World War II concept. And it’s not one that seems applicable in the world today.

PORTER: George, let’s turn around this way and look at some of these other examples you’ve set out for us here.

GLAZER: Well, this globe is called “News of the World,” which is applicable to your program. I’m told that “News of the World” was a, was and is a newspaper in Britain. This is a British globe. It’s called the “News of the World Business Globe,” from the 1930s. It’s showing steamship routes around the world. So as you get into the 20th century there’s an attention paid on globes to aspects of transportation, travel, international communications. Frequently you’ll see famous airplane flights like Lindbergh’s cross-Atlantic flight in 1927. Or the flights of the Graf Zeppelin, things like that. You’ll see steamship routes, which were important for international commerce. And you’ll also see airplane routes as international—national and international—air travel developed starting in the ‘40s.

PORTER: I think that we hear so much here at the start of the 21st century about globalization. But you see a globe like this and you, you recognize it as a concept that really has deep roots.

GLAZER: Yes. I think people thought of a lot of these things earlier. The concepts of internationalization of the world, globalization. And they were excited in the 1920s and the ‘30s with the idea of the shrinking world and how it all would become accessible. Because that was a new concept at the time. It has different aspects today with Internet and mass communication that have taken on different types of meaning or are advanced concepts of that. But these globes relate to, as I said, to transportation and also to communications. You’ll see the Atlantic cable. And these were exciting—which was in the 19th century, they built the, they put a cable between Europe and the Northeast for communications. And these were very exciting concepts at the time—that you could communicate with Europe relatively quickly. And they were new concepts. Now we take a lot of these for granted.

PORTER: George, one of the things I really like here is this little globe. At the bottom it says, “World Bank.” Now we know what the World Bank is today, but I don’t think that’s what they meant at the time.

GLAZER: Right. This is just a world bank, not the World Bank. And globes could be objects, because they are a sphere and a lot of things—utilitarian objects—are in the form of sphere. You can make them serve two purposes. This is an American globe from about 1880 by the Shedler’s, who were German immigrants to the United States. And the globe gores are on a hollow iron sphere with a little slot and you put money in it. It’s a little coin bank. And they called it the—it says right on it—they called it the “World Bank.” Again, there are early concepts of international commerce involved there. It’s not pure coincidence that they selected that idea.

This globe here is called “The Magnetic Air Race Globe.” It was made by Replogle, which is an American manufacturer that’s still in business, from the 1950s. And it has, it’s just a tin globe with a very brightly colored blue oceans. And it has these little airplanes that are magnetic so they stick to metal globe.

[sound of metal clinking on metal]

GLAZER: You can hear them sticking. And there’s play money, and there’s little cards, and so this was for children who were interested in world geography and in aviation.

PORTER: You mentioned the way the globe changes after war. You mentioned World War I and World War II. I’m sure many of us and many schools in America still have globes that were created before the end of the Cold War as well.

GLAZER: Well, there are globes—of course a lot of globes were made in the ‘60s and ‘70s, they were mass produced in this period and they are still around and they show divisions in the—of course they show the Soviet Union, which is now divided into different countries. Things like that. Especially with the end of the Cold War. So they would be antiquated in that sense, if they were before the breakup of the Soviet Union. And one of the ways you can tell globes from the early 20th century is you look and see whether it shows St. Petersburg. And if it shows St. Petersburg the globe was before 1914. So that helps to identify it. And then if it shows Petrograd it’s about 1914 to 1924. Thereafter it was Leningrad. And so then back in the 1990s it goes back to St. Petersburg again, as Russia becomes a separate country.

PORTER: All this talk about globes may have gotten our listeners thinking about globes that they have in their house or globes that they have in their attic or their parents’ attic. What are the things that people could look for on a basic globe that would let them know whether or not it was something of value, or just sort of a run-of-the-mill, mass-produced kind of globe?

GLAZER: If you have an idea about the value of antiques in general and you’re familiar with that you could use your general knowledge of antiques and most of that would apply. Mostly globes that were made after World War II are not terribly valuable. Of course there’s going to be exceptions to everything. Mostly globes that were made in the 19th century or earlier do have good value. Collecting depends upon a lot of factors. It depends upon rarity; it depends upon the condition of the globe. In order to begin to get an idea of what the globe might be, you would look for the cartouche on the globe, to see who the maker’s name was and see if it was dated. Unfortunately, in the 20th century they tended not to date globes, for whatever reason. So you might look at a globe and say, “Well, I don’t really know whether this was made in the ‘20s or the ‘40s or the ‘60s.” And so then what you would do is you’d look for certain geographical aspects of the globe that would, would indicate to you when it was made. For example, if you see Israel on it, it’s after World War II. And you could look at the nations in Europe or Africa or whatever part of the world you’re familiar with and see how the place names have changed. And for that you would be able to figure out more or less when the globe was made.

Also, sometimes you might look on a globe and see something, like for example Arizona, which wasn’t a state until around 1911. But it will, it will show on a globe that was made before that date. They just didn’t bother to say that it was a territory. So it can be a little bit confusing. Oklahoma is Indian Territory, would be before 1907. That’s another way to tell. Russian America for Alaska would be before 1869. Also, if you knew who the maker was. Most makers were active in certain periods. Also, the style of the stand would give you an idea of the dating of it. And then once you have identified, then you try to look for similar ones on the market. Sometimes what people can do is there’s a lot of Internet auctions now, including Ebay, and a lot of more common globes, a lot of globes from the 20th century that just happened to be sitting around turn up on there. And you could go on there if you want to collect globes; it’s a place to buy them. But the buyer has to beware because, you know, you have to have knowledge of it if you’re going to be buying it at an auction. But you can also look on there and see what other people are paying for them and get some idea of the current price range, at least in the auction, at least in the online auction market.

PORTER: To learn more about globes and about George Glazer, visit him online at Glazer is spelled “G-l-a-z-e-r.” For Common Ground, I’m Keith Porter.

MCHUGH: And I’m Kristin McHugh. Cassettes and transcripts of this program are available. The transcripts are free; cassettes cost $5.00. To place an order or to share your thoughts about the program, write to us at: The Stanley Foundation, 209 Iowa Avenue, Muscatine, Iowa 52761. Please refer to Program Number 0206. That's Program Number 0206. To order by credit card you can call us at 563-264-1500. That's 563-264-1500.

PORTER: Transcripts are also available on our Web site: Commongroundradio is all one word. Our e-mail address is

MCHUGH: Cliff Brockman is our Associate Producer. B.J. Liederman created our theme music. Common Ground is produced and funded by the Stanley Foundation.

© 2002 by The Stanley Foundation

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