E-magazine Moja Slovenija March 2018

Page 1

E-magazine | March 2018


Celebration of Culture Day around the world SLOVENCI PO SVETU

Prime minister at first session of the Government Council for Slovenians Abroad SLOVENCI PO SVETU

Faces of the future: Brain drain should turn into brain circulation 1









Moja Slovenija www.slovenci.si



The Office of the Republic of Slovenia for Slovenians Abroad


+386 1 230 80 00 info@slovenci.si



Erjavčeva 15, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia




Marjan Cukrov


The Office of the Republic of Slovenia for Slovenians Abroad




Louis Adamič, »From Many Lands« On the 120th anniversary of the birth of Louis Adamič, the National and University Library (NUK) put up an exhibition to revive the memory of the most successful Slovenian emigrant author, who was also a civil servant, journalist, literary critic and political advisor. The exhibition highlights his major contribution to raising awareness about fundamental values such as social fairness, social inclusion, equality, democracy, free thinking and independence.

opportunities for all. In addition to Adamič's life story, it presents his political activism and him as a visionary; his criticism of society's fundamental problems and of social systems remains topical to this day.

The exhibition, curated by Aljoša Pelhan, will be on display from 15 March to 31 May, with the official opening on 22 March. Louis Adamič emigrated to America from Blato, a village near Grosuplje, as a 14-year-old boy. The immense size of his new homeland fascinated him despite very hard first years. Adamič's aptitude for critical observation of the world shaped him into an acclaimed writer, a public servant dealing with immigration issues, and a political advisor. His work was appreciated both in the US and in the home country. In the decade when Adamič emigrated to America, between 1910 and 1919, almost seven million people moved to the country. The entire population of the US at the time was 100 million. Realising that America was growing at a fast pace, Adamič placed emphasis on diversity and creative potential brought to America by immigrants and their descendants. Adamič's personal experience, him having to perform hard manual labour in the first years in America, and his personal contact with many immigrants, inspired a lot of his works, in which he describes the issues of immigrants and development of cultural pluralism. This year the publisher Sophia will issue a translation of his 1939 book »From Many Lands«. It is for this book that he received in 1940 the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for works on ethnic relations in the modern world. The exhibition focuses on the author's contribution to the profound understanding of immigration and the importance of social inclusion, economic equality and recognition of cultural and ethnic differences for the formation and development of modern democratic societies, which must be based on equality and equal


Life of »Gandhi from Alta val Torre« chronicled in a book

»Černo was the first person to organise public meetings on Slovenian culture and language, and on the protection law; the times were not very easy back then,« Jole Namor, the president of the Ivan Trinko Cultural Association, said upon the death of Viljem Černo last year.

Alta val Torre (Terska dolina in Slovenian), he organised Slovenian language classes, and in Cividade del Friuli he was among the founders of the Slovenian cultural association Ivan Trinko, which has become the centre of cultural development of Slovenians in Slavia Friulana.

The Novi Matajur Cooperative recently published the book »In the Spotlight« (Na izpostavljenem mestu), about the life and work of this »Gandhi from the Alta val Torre«, who fought for decades for the rights and survival of the Slovenian community in Slavia Friulana.

Černo was also among the founders of the Slovenian research institute in Trieste and a long-time president of the National and Study Library. He established an ethnographic museum in his native Lusevera. He wrote scientific discussions and poems in the local dialect. He made a major contribution to Slovenians in the Province of Udine being recognised in the protection law in 2001.

Černo, a great voice of Slavia Friulana The book was launched recently at the Government Office for Slovenians Abroad in Ljubljana, with Minister Gorazd Žmavc stressing that the assessment that Černo was a Gandhi of sorts is not wrong, as he was a pillar of Slovenian culture in Friuli-Venezia Giulia and the Province of Udine. His work will be a reminder of how one should fight for Slovenian identity and culture. All Slovenians wish that the things move forward, according to the minister. Born in 1937, Viljem Černo contributed to raising awareness among his compatriots and their joint effort to promote the Slovenian ethnic community in Italy. In


»He was our Čedermac,« the head of the Council of Slovenian Organisations Rudi Pavšič says in the book, referring to a character from a France Bevk (1890-1970) novel who fought against Italianization. At the launch, he stressed that Černo was a »good man first and foremost« who never raised his voice, was never insulting or forced his ideas upon others. He tried to convince whoever he talked with that the »care for the Slovenian language and our demands is something universal«.


Predstavitev knjige v Ljubljani. Foto: Novi Matajur

Improved image of Slovenians in neighbouring countries According to Pavšič, the image of Slovenians in Italy has significantly improved in the last 20 years. He mentioned the bilingual school in San Pietro al Natisone, where Slovenians can be educated in their language, but noted that the number of people who would use the institution was decreasing. Because of the worsening demographic situation, Slovenia should »seriously think about the fate of Slavia Friulana,« Pavšič also wrote.

The editor expressed hope that the book would find its way to readers so that they would understand »in what conditions they had to work in order to preserve their culture, language and dignity«. The book was also presented in Černo's native Lusevera and in Trieste, followed by a presentation in Gorizia on 19 February and in Kobarid on 23 February.

 P.G./MMC RTV Slovenija

The four-chapter book presents the life and work of Černo in the first two chapters through his own testimony and documents, as well as a diploma paper in which he analysed the emigration of Slovenians from the seven municipalities of Slavia Friulana. Černo's friends speak about him in the third chapter, while the fourth chapter consists of the arguments for the awards and other recognitions he received. History and development of Slovenians in neighbouring countries The book is more than just a description of the life and work of an individual, it also presents the development and history of Slovenians in the neighbouring countries in a place where they were exposed to huge pressure in the postwar years (from 1945 to 1975), as Italian authorities wanted to secure the eastern border at any cost. According to editor Igor Tuta, the political actions constituted a continuation of the work started by Fascism.


Celebration of Culture Day around the world


// CULTURE Slovenian singers from Macedonia visited Kosovo The Slovenian Choir France Prešeren from Skopje, Macedonia, visited Slovenian soldiers in Kosovo ahead of the 8 February Culture Day. The choir performed for the members of the 36th Slovenian contingent of the KFOR peacekeeping force on 3 February in the military base Villaggio Italia near Peć/Peja.

Celebration of Culture Day in South Banat A ceremony was held on 8 February at the Culture Centre in Kovin, Serbia to mark Slovenian Culture Day. More than 300 visitors attended the event, including high-profile guests from Slovenia and Serbia. After the event, representatives of Slovenian associations from Serbian cities presented the initiative that the next main ceremony marking the Prešeren Day take place in Niš, organised by the France Prešeren Cultural Association.


New York and Washington The Slovenian Culture Day was also celebrated on 8 February in New York, with actress Gaja Višnar reading some of the best known poems by France Prešeren in the residence of Darja Bavdaž Kuret, the Slovenian ambassador to the UN. Bavdaž Kuret presented the importance and symbolism of the holiday to her colleagues from the UN and other guests. The holiday was also marked in Washington, with Slovenian Ambassador to US Stanislav Vidovič presenting it ahead of the opening of an exhibition by American artist John Antone at the Slovenian Embassy. After studying psychology in Slovenia, Gaja Višnar took her love of acting to New York, where she now works in film and theatre. Photo: gaiavisnar.com

Jožef Špringer Association Day and Prešeren Day marked in Kakanj The Jožef Špringer Association of Slovenians from the Bosnian town of Kakanj marked on 16 February two major events: the 26th anniversary of the association and Slovenian Culture Day. The event featured children and adults who are taking Slovenian lessons in Kakanj, the association’s musical group, guests from Novo Mesto, Manca Tori, and mezzo-soprano Amila Ravkić from Sarajevo. Slovenians arrived in Kakanj many years ago, contributing greatly through their hard work and dedication to the development of the town, especially the coal mine, where a majority of them were employed and where many of their children learned the trade and followed in the footsteps of their fathers.



Prime minister at first session of the Government Council for Slovenians Abroad

Prime Minister Miro Cerar chaired on 16 February 2018 the first session of the newly appointed Government Council for Slovenians Abroad. The prime minister congratulated the new members of the council and thanked them for their contribution in preserving national identity and encouraging links between Slovenian institutions and individuals abroad and in the home country. The new members of the Government Council for Slovenians Abroad are: • • •

Maja ĐUKANOVIĆ, representative of Slovenian emigrants living in Serbia Cveto ŠUŠMELJ, representative of Slovenian emigrants living in Croatia Emil KOS, representative of Slovenians living in


• • • • • • • •


Luxembourg Valerija PERŠA, representative of Slovenians living in Germany Valdeir VIDRIK, representative of Slovenians living in Brazil Mariana POZNIČ, representative of Slovenians living in Argentina Jure KOMAR, representative of Slovenians living in Argentina Joseph VALENČIČ, representative of Slovenians living in the US Marjan KOLARIČ, representative of Slovenians living in Canada Walter SUBER, representative of Slovenians living in Australia Frances URBAS, representative of Slovenians living in Australia

• • • • •

Andrej LOGAR, state secretary at the Foreign Ministry, standing in for Minister Karl Erjavec Maja MAKOVEC BRENČIČ, minister of education, science and sport Anton PERŠAK, minister of culture Boris PLESKOVIČ, the Slovenian World Congress Igor CESAREC, the Association of Slovenians Educated Abroad


Students visiting European Parliament in Strasbourg

Students of Slovenian and bilingual secondary schools in the Austrian province of Carinthia and Italy's Gorizia and Trieste visited the European Parliament in Strasbourg in early February as part of the Slomejci cross-border dialogue project. They visited the debating chamber, where legislation concerning more than 500 million European citizens is being adopted, and met six Slovenian members of the European Parliament. Slovenian MEPs Milan Zver, Tanja Fajon, Alojz Peterle, Romana Tomc, Franc Bogovič and Patricija Šulin talked with them about current European challenges such as Brexit, migrations, the European pillar of social rights and digital agenda. They also presented their work related to young people in the field of education and student exchange (Erasmus+) and the values that connect us, including multilinguality, said the National Council of Carinthian Slovenians (NSKS). The head of the European Parliament's Directorate-General for Translation, the Slovenian Valter Mavrič, who

heads the largest translation service in the world with around 1,300 translators dealing with 552 language combinations, spoke to the students about the importance of languages and the use of the Slovenian language in the European Parliament. The students also visited the seat of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, where they were presented the functioning of the organisation, especially its role in the protection of minorities. The visit was organised as part of the cross-border project involving 80 students from nine secondary schools. They are learning about parliamentary democracy and the functioning of the European Union and their role in the life of European citizens. As part of the Slomejci project, the students will also visit Luxembourg and Brussels, where they will see in person how European institutions function and learn about European integration.


New consulate in Australia opens Minister for Economic Development and Technology Zdravko Počivalšek addressed the opening of the new Slovenian consulate in Geelong, Australia, on 11 February. »I'm greatly honoured to attend the opening of the new consulate of the Republic of Slovenia in Australia. I'm grateful to all members of the sizeable Slovenian community which carefully cherishes Slovenian culture, in particular the Slovenian language,« Minister Počivalšek said. The minister also mentioned economic cooperation, with Slovenia's trade with Australia increasing by 13% last year, and added: »I'm convinced that the opening of the new consulate in Victoria will contribute to even better economic and cultural exchange. The Slovenian economy is distinctly export-oriented, which is why our presence in the Australian market is growing. A successful example is Gorenje, which sells its products in the Australian market through the company ASKO. I have also come here to present to potential Australian investors the opportunities that await them in Slovenia. Harvey Norman already knows the potential offered by Slovenia, and it is time other Australian companies join it.«


On the occasion, the minister also attended a mass in the Slovenian emigrant church and concluded the day with a business meeting, where he presented the potential and achievements of Slovenian tourism and opportunities for foreign investments, and promoted Slovenia as a five-star tourist destination.


70th anniversary of arrival in Argentina to be marked While January and February are winter months in Slovenia, in Argentina they are summer months reserved for school holidays. Marcelo Brula of the United Slovenia association from Argentina talked with us about the last school year and the plans for the new year. He said that the Slovenian primary school programme in Slovenian homes was concluded on the last Saturday of November, while the concluding events were held on 2 and 3 December. These events are organised by each school individually, while joint events are held at the beginning of March and the end of September. »Each school comes up with their own concluding event and shows at the end of the year what the students have learnt. Last year we staged three plays.« Have you made any plans yet for the new school year? »Heads of Slovenian schools are meeting on a monthly basis and discuss how to continue with the school year. Before the end of last year, we agreed that classes will start on 10 March. We haven't met this year yet, because we are currently on holidays.« How many children attend Slovenian schools, and

what about the teachers? »In 2017 Slovenian schools in Argentina had 224 students, and 20 of them finished the final year. They were taught by a total of 69 teachers.« What will the new school year focus on? You will probably stay true to the values promoted by the pioneers of the Slovenian primary school education in Argentina? »That's right. The values we gained from the first teachers will continue to be passed onto our children. This year we will also mark the 70th anniversary of the arrival of our emigrants in Argentina.« What about assistance from Slovenia? »The Government Office for Slovenians Abroad organises a seminar for teachers every two years. Ten of our teachers attend on average. We get new ideas and some new material. This is all the help that we get for now, but we are keeping in touch in order to boost our cooperation in the future when it comes to teaching our Argentine-Slovenian children.« Matjaž Merljak, Radio Ognjišče



51st Kras Carnival

The winning float at the 51st Kras Carnival (FOTODAMJ@N)

The 51st Kras Carnival was a success, with a total of 13 groups and 5 floats participating. A large number of people gathered in the streets of Villa Opicina, and the weather was quite fine despite low temperatures and a weak bora wind. The winners were declared on 10 February - the Medjevas-Ĺ tivan duo won the float category, while Prosek-Kontovel was the winning group, finally beating Luna Puhna after a number of years.



Faces of the future: Brain drain should turn into brain circulation Emigration is not necessarily a bad thing, because at least a part of emigrants return with new knowledge, ideas, capital or education - and benefit the home country in doing so. Migrations, both permanent and daily, both for work and education, have been a frequent topic of discussion lately. There have been warnings about Slovenia losing highly-qualified labour, with the number of emigrants increasing every year. But is it really such a big problem? Experts' opinions indicate not everything is so bleak. Migrations benefit society Jure Gombač, PhD, a sociologist and researcher at the Ljubljana-based Slovenian Migration Institute, who has recently been dealing with economic migrations, says: »Migrations have always been completely normal and usual. They are one of the ways for an individual to improve their living situation. They can escape poverty, famine, exploitation, climate change, wars, violence or human rights violations, improve their social status or standard of living, find a larger market for their ideas and products, look for new opportunities, or see the world.« According to Gombač, ideas would not circulate without migrations, there would be no progress, and societies would not change and advance. He believes that emigration is not as big a problem as media or politicians make it out to be. »Brain drain has been replaced in migration studies by brain gain. The latter speaks about the fact that people do go abroad, but they may return home with new ideas, knowledge, skills, social networks, social and other capital, and improve the wealth of the country of origin by doing so,« Gombač says. Highly-educated people are emigrating According to the Statistics Office, emigration from Slovenia is on the rise, including among youths. In 2012, a total of 1,231 Slovenian citizens aged between 20 and 29 left the country. By 2016 this number almost doubled to 2,389. What stands out is that as many as 96.5% of the people aged between 20 and 29 who left Slovenia in the last four years have a university degree. As young Slovenians gain new knowledge and skills abroad, efforts are being made both in Slovenia and abroad to encourage them to return to their home country, so that brain drain is turned into brain circulation.

A border stone at the Škofije international border crossing. Photo: Jaka Gasar

One of the organisations which help link Slovenians abroad with education and employment opportunities in Slovenia is the Association of Slovenians Educated Abroad (VTIS). Its president Igor Cesarec says: »The association encourages Slovenians educated abroad to return to their home country. Every year we organise a career day, connecting Slovenian companies which provide employment opportunities to people with international experience with members of the association who want to or think about returning to Slovenia.« One in five will return Dejan Valentinčič of the School of Advanced Social Studies has assessed that one in five Slovenians who emigrate from Slovenia will return after a few years. In addition to his teaching and research work, Valentinčič is also an advisory board member of the American Slovenian Education Foundation (ASEF). He studies contemporary migration flows and brain circulation, and connects Slovenian researchers and students with academics of Slovenian descent who work abroad. He is critical of the authorities. »It needs to be stressed that many things could be improved in Slovenia so that people would want to return home,« he says. Dnevnik


BaliĹĄ and Mladirod-rock workshop 2018 Five established rock musicians from the band BaliĹĄ, in cooperation with the umbrella organisations of Slovenians in Austria, will hold a workshop for young people from Carinthia in St. Johann im Rosenthal between 11 and 14 August. The band was formed in 2000 as a counterweight to the traditional cultural customs of Carinthian Slovenians, and with the purpose of connecting the minority and majority population in the province. It has since been the only professional rock group featuring Slovenians from the neighbouring countries. BaliĹĄ also organises events for other musicians, including Rock the Meadows, a competition started six years ago which features young groups from the Alpe-Adria region performing and recording original songs. In 2012 the band launched the Mladirod-rock initiative to encourage young Carinthian musicians to create and perform music. The idea is to create a network of groups, venues, technical staff and others. The core of the network is the website mladirod-rock.jimdo.com. The initiative also includes the summer event Mladirod-rock workshop 2018. You can learn more about it on the website and here.



»My house is your home« - an invitation to Pišece The Maks Pleteršnik Association for the Protection of Mother Tongue and Natural and Cultural Heritage from Pišece is organising a visit by Slovenian groups or families living outside the home country to the Pleteršnik Homestead. The project is a collaboration with the local primary school and is financially supported by the Government Office for Slovenians Abroad. Pišece is a village in the protected part of the Kozjansko Regional Park in eastern Slovenia, on the road between Čatež and Podčetrtek. The organisers wish that the rich legacy of Slovenian linguist and lexicographer Maks

Pleteršnik (1840-1923) and the local natural heritage could be experienced by as many compatriots as possible as a way of preserving the memory of the valuable work by Pleteršnik, who »gave his people a treasure, discovering the richness of the Slovenian language,« as his gravestone in Pišece says. More information and application for registration can be found here.

Minority SafePack - signatures to be collected until 3 April Minority SafePack is a European civic initiative for the protection of ethnic and language minorities at the level of the European Union. The initiative aims to encourage the EU to adopt better measures for the protection of minorities and the promotion of the linguistic and cultural diversity of the EU.

Both umbrella organisations of the Slovenian minority in Italy, the Slovenian Cultural and Economic Organisation (SKGZ) and the Council of Slovenian Organisations (SSO), have joined the initiative. Signatures are being collected at their headquarters as well as the Trieste Book Centre and the Catholic Library in Gorizia.

Petitioners have until 3 April to collect the required million signatures of EU citizens.

The petition can also be signed via the following link.


Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.