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E -Magazine | May 2017


Minister Žmavc: Young start-up entrepreneurs from neighbouring countries important for national identity, consciousness SLOVENIANS OUTSIDE SLOVENIA

An American recording his ancestry in Bela Krajina CULTURE

NUK: A unique exhibition to mark the Year of Reformation









Moja Slovenija



The Office of the Republic of Slovenia for Slovenians Abroad


+386 1 230 80 00




Erjavčeva 15, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia





Marjan Cukrov




Hugo Wolf memorial room in Vienna

Minister for Slovenians Abroad Gorazd Žmavc opens the exhibition and Hugo Wolf memorial room in the Slovenian centre Korotan in Vienna.

An exhibition and a memorial room dedicated to Slovenian-born Viennese composer Hugo Wolf were launched in Vienna by Minister for Slovenians Abroad Gorazd Žmavc. The opening ceremony took place on 6 April 2017 at the Slovenian culture centre Korotan to mark the 750th anniversary of Slovenj Gradec, the city where Wolf was born. In the special room dedicated to the composer, guests can also stay the night. This is the first in a series of individualised rooms in the cultural centre that will reflect historical links between Slovenia and Vienna.

Science and Sport Tomaž Boh, who addressed the participants on behalf of Minister of Education, Science and Sport Maja Makovec Brenčič, said that it was through projects like this that Slovenia was connecting with Vienna, a key educational capital.

In his address, the minister highlighted the significance of the Slovenian culture centre in Vienna for Slovenia and for the development and promotion of the Slovenian nation, culture and language in the common cultural and economic space of the region. He also stressed the importance of Korotan providing student rooms. He added that the project of thematic rooms was a way to further connect Slovenia with Vienna and Austria through historical characters who had lived and worked on the territories of both countries. The Hugo Wolf room will be followed by a series of other stories of important figures of the cross-border area.

Before the cultural programme started, Minister Žmavc met representatives of the Slovenian Students Club in Vienna and Slovenian students living in Korotan. He emphasised the importance of building on identity and culture, sending them the message that the Office for Slovenians Abroad would love to hear the voice of the minority, especially the youth, to look for opportunities for cooperation. He said that minorities were ambassadors of Slovenian identity.

State Secretary at the Slovenian Ministry of Education,

On behalf of the municipality of Slovenj Gradec, the participants were addressed by Mayor Andrej Čas, while Hugo Wolf Slovenj Gradec Association president Marko Košan presented the exhibition as well as the life and work of the composer.

The musical part of the programme featured young musicians Maja Kastratovik on the piano and soprano Tanja Klančnik, who performed three of Wolf's songs, and the Lesna Octet, which sang Slovenian folk songs.


Play with the biggest heart and the most distinct love for language

Production Poezija igrarija. Photo: Planika

On 9 April 2017, Ljubljana's Festival Hall hosted the closing event of the 15th Children's Theatre Festival of Dreams, where the best theatre groups were honoured and special certificates were handed out to all the participants. The jury, composed of dramaturge Staša Bračič, theatre educator Urša Strehar Benčina and director Rajko Stupar, gave a special award to the production Poezija igrarija (Playing with poetry) by the Planika Slovenian Cultural Association from Zrenjanin. This is how the jury explained their choice: “Poezija igrarija deserves a special jury award for being a production with the biggest heart and the most distinct affinity for language and language games. It also has a special feel for the medium of theatre. In this production, poetry serves as a supreme composition of sound and meaning that is then elevated by the young actors' imagination and incredible energy, and the choice of minimalistic but still effective stage props. All of the props are used intelligently, what is more, they are all brought to life on stage. They knew how to find true profoundness in the playfulness and simple, mostly children's poems, and they uncovered all of the layers and meanings in even the simplest of poetries in a humorous way. The production seduced and inspired us,


and this is why we spent the next couple of days thinking 'if you're happy and you know it, clap your hands'.” The Slovenian language and culture teacher in Serbia's Zrenjanin and Pančevo, Milena Spremo, thanked the production's mentors, Vera Popović and Aleksandar Dragar, for their help with children and youngsters and for their contribution to the preservation of the Slovenian language and the spreading of the creative spirit among youths.

Planika association’s children’s theatre group. Photo: Planika



NUK: A unique exhibition to mark the Year of Reformation  Blanka Markovič Kocen  STA The Word of the Lord Endures Forever exhibition has opened at the National and University Library in Ljubljana (NUK) as one of the central events to mark Reformation Year in Slovenia. The exhibition features key texts of the Slovenian Protestant movement.


// CULTURE Slovenian sources exclusively The key works, which were an expression of rebellion against the existing order, were presented before the exhibition opening in NUK's Grand Reading Room. The author of the exhibition, Professor Jonatan Vinkler, said that the show was not only about presenting Luther's life, it was dedicated to the Reformation in a broader sense. The organisers relied exclusively on Slovenian sources. Stična manuscripts and the Bible Priceless books are on display, among them a codex featuring a treatise on the Hussites in Latin, which is written in Gothic script. Vinkler explained the codex was unique, having been written by the author who had also written the older part of the Slovenian Stična Manuscript. The Stična manuscript is extremely important for Slovenian culture because Medieval texts in Slovenian are very rare, Vinkler noted. The exhibition also features the Spiritual Songs and Psalms, a printed songbook that is extremely rare even in Europe and which has been unrecorded in Protestant bibliography until recently. Other outstanding items include copies of Luther's Bible from 1570 and Dalmatin's Bible from 1584, which are positioned at the exhibition facing each other. Vinkler described the two books as »mother and daughter« in text and design, since the artwork for the printed copy of Dalmatin's Bible was taken from Luther's Bible.

“The Reformation can teach us a lot today, it encourages us to be active in the spirit of tolerance and harmony,” Evangelical Bishop Geza Filo said before the opening of the exhibition, which is important for both religious and cultural as well as civilisational reasons. The 500th anniversary of the Reformation will also be marked with events at Ljubljana Castle. The head of the castle's programme Marko Brunskole said that the common theme of the events would be language and books. An exhibition entitled Raz-stavljena (Dis-mantled) was put on in cooperation with the Goethe Institute in Ljubljana. Focusing on Luther's creativity in terms of language, it uses eight of Luther's phrases as starting points for eight installations. Events for families and youth, and a web application In the year marking the 500th anniversary of the start of the religious reform of Martin Luther, NUK is also preparing events for families and for primary and secondary school children, concerts at Ljubljana Castle, a panel on 500 years of Reformation, and a web application that aims to attract in particular the younger generation to explore this period and its main protagonists. The exhibition, running until 10 June, was created in cooperation between NUK and the University of Primorska. It was opened by President Borut Pahor and comes with an extensive catalogue.




Minister Žmavc interviewed by Slovenian secondary school students

Young actors Adam Sukič, Krištof Časar, Kristina Žökš, Regina Labritz, Žofia Šturm and their mentor Irena Fašing.

As part of the project The Famous Five at the Crossroads of the European Parliament (a series of five short educational documentaries), students from the Vörösmarty Mihaly Secondary School in Szentgotthard, Hungary (young actors Adam Sukič, Krištof Časar, Kristina Žökš, Regina Labritz, Žofia Šturm and their mentor Irena Fašing) met Minister for Slovenians Abroad Gorazd Žmavc. The documentaries will be produced by AS Television from Murska Sobota, which has started working with five educational organisations from Slovenia, Croatia and Hungary - the Biotechnological School Rakičan (SI), Murska Sobota Secondary School (SI), Franc Miklošič Secondary School in Ljutomer (SI), Second Secondary School in Varaždin (CRO) and Vörösmarty Mihaly Secondary School in Szentgotthard (HU). With the help of the people they have interviewed, the students will present examples of best practice and their findings on how local residents as EU citizens take part in European Parliament decision-making. To this end, the students are researching five important themes with which the EU deals actively: agriculture, justice, freedom and security, minorities, culture and education, and cross-border cooperation.

Through the themes addressed and presented as an investigative youth play, the young researchers help the audience realize how a seemingly small decision by the European Parliament is beneficial for the local environment and improves quality of life through national and local policy. Young actors from Szentgotthard asked Minister Žmavc about the number of Slovenians living abroad, how Slovenians in neighbouring countries are organised and where he sees opportunities for further cooperation between the Slovenian and Hungarian border regions of Prekmurje and Porabje - the area around the river Raba. Employment, a theme pertinent to youths, was not avoided either. The students wanted to know whether an employment programme could be launched in Slovenia for Porabje Slovenians to improve not only their economic prospects but also social ties. They believe too many Porabje Slovenians now work in Austria. The documentaries will be made by director Lucija Šiftar, screenwriter Miki Roš, cameraman and editor Alen Hoheger, audio technician Sandra Mohorič and producer Simon Balažic. All five documentaries will be completed by the end of June 2017.


Slovenian parliamentary speaker visits Styria in Austria (MPA) On 4 April, the Speaker of the Slovenian National Assembly Milan Brglez visited representatives of the Slovenian ethnic minority in Styria at the invitation of the Pavelhaus - the Article VII cultural association in Styria. Before that, he met the president of the Styrian Parliament Bettina Vollath in Graz. He also visited the BORG Secondary School in Austrian Bad Radkersburg, where he discussed with Slovenian students the challenges faced by the youth and the ever expanding and inevitable brain circulation.

MORE For more photographs visit the Radio Agora website Radio report by Jasmina Godec

Prime Minister Cerar visits Slovenians in BosniaHerzegovina As part of a very successful official visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar met on 10 April 2017 representatives of the Slovenian community in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The meeting, at the new premises of the Slovenian Embassy in Sarajevo, featured representatives of all Slovenian associations in the country


and Darko Mijatović, the president of Europe Now, the union of Slovenian associations in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The long and cordial

social meeting was an opportunity for everyone to talk to the prime minister and acquaint him with the life of the Slovenian community.


An American recording his ancestry in Bela Krajina

A scene from Bela Krajina in 1920: Barrel makers (Juri Horvat, Mate Dragoš) and blacksmiths (Avgust Jakše, Pavle Rauch) at Pobrežje Castle by the Kolpa river in Adlešiči. Photo: Fran Vesel. Source: Slovenian Ethnographic Museum

Over 25 years ago I started creating my family tree for a school project. I initially included only my immediate family, but years later I continued and gradually added more and more relatives - old aunts and uncles, great grandparents and others, all with the help of information that I got from my mom's relatives who were born in the early 20th century and emigrated to the US. They had started the research many years before me, an effort that I truly appreciate. It was not until several years later that I found out my cousin was also investigating the family history. Eventually we joined forces and our

interest only deepened. We also got in touch with the Diocese Archives in Ljubljana, which gave us answers that we could support with documents. In 2011, we collected all possible information in the village where our parents came from. We added 3,000 names to the family tree, growing it to 4,000 people. But the number of unexplored connections continued to grow so we pushed on, adding additional generations of relatives. Six years on, we have collected information on almost 25,000 people, creating not just a family tree, but the genealogy of an entire part of Bela Krajina. In doing that, we have

helped people in Canada and the US reconnect with their roots. We hope that others will join our work, financially or just by sharing information or old notes. Our goal is to put together a complete genealogical profile of Slovenia starting in Bela Krajina, to learn as much as possible about the country we originate from and the country in which we live - and we want to share that knowledge with you. Visit our web page and support our work.  Alex Grašič, ZDA  Slovenski etnografski muzej


Awards given out to best theses about Slovenian diaspora

A ceremony was held on Monday, 8 May 2017, in Villa PodroŞnik to declare the winners and confer the awards of the Office for Slovenians Abroad as part of the 15th competition for bachelor's, master's and doctoral theses from the field of Slovenian diaspora and ethnic minorities in neighbouring countries. The competition encourages research in the field of Slovenian diaspora and ethnic minorities in neighbouring countries and, consequently, raises the awareness about their importance for the preservation of the Slovenian identity in the home country and outside its borders. This year's competition has attracted the biggest number of participants so far. The expert commission has reviewed as many as 39 bachelor's, master's and doctoral theses. A total of 281 theses have been entered so far, of which 92 have received awards. Based on the opinion of the expert commission, Minister for Slovenians Abroad Gorazd Žmavc handed out seven awards. The minister stressed in his speech that since the com-


petition was launched 15 years ago, the competition had achieved its goal, which was proved by the number of theses that entered the competition every year. This also means that the awareness and knowledge about these topics among researchers, scholars and students is increasing, which in turn boosts their awareness about the importance to preserve the Slovenian identity in the home country and outside its borders, he said. Minister Žmavc added that every citizen in the home country should know about their own people living outside the national borders. It is about the feeling of belonging to the same nation, overcoming borders and establishing a continuous cross-border flow of people, capital, entrepreneurship and knowledge.

MORE Video from the award ceremony The names of the award winners


Upgraded Stičišče portal for learning Slovenian around the world The National Education Institute of Slovenia has upgraded Stičišče, the portal which provides Slovenian communities around the world with clear and useful information on the possibilities of learning and teaching the Slovenian language in Slovenia and abroad. In addition to links, the portal has four segments entitled: Slovenian language classes in Europe; Slovenian language classes overseas; European schools; and Summer school of Slovenian language. Stičišče aims at

supporting teachers of Slovenian language and culture in their coursework, extracurricular activities and integration within the Slovenian communities abroad. In editing Stičišče, the National Education Institute of Slovenia co-

operates with the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport and the Office for Slovenians Abroad.

MORE Stičišče website

Primož Trubar in Trieste The Slovenian Book Agency and the Trieste Book Centre organised a panel on Primož Trubar in Trieste on 20 April as part of celebrations marking Reformation Year. The debate revolved around the influence of Bishop Bonomo on the young Trubar, Trubar's »Saul who would become Paul«, Bishop of Koper Peter Pavel Vergeri Jr., and early 16th century music. The European dimension of Trubar's stay in Trieste, where he arrived as a youth from Salzburg, was highlighted. The Slovenian refor-

A debate on Primož Trubar at the Trieste Book Centre. Source: Slovenian Book Agency

mist left Trieste, the City of St. Justus, for Vienna, but returned to the city that had left an indelible mark on him and which he fondly remembered for the rest of his life. The debate with Ivan Florjanc, a

professor at the Academy of Music at the University of Ljubljana, and Matjaž Črnivec, the secretary general of the Slovenian Bible Society, was moderated by Jonatan Vinkler, an associate professor at the Koper Faculty of Humanities.


Easter exhibition in Zagreb On 12 April, the Slovenian House in Zagreb hosted an exhibition of creations made by members of the Šopek creative workshop. In addition to the indispensable Easter eggs, the exhibition also featured useful objects such as bowls, little boxes and bottles, which creative hands reworked into completely new objects. The visitors were thrilled with the exhibition and left it full of new ideas on how to make Easter even more colourful and fun.

Creations by members of the Šopek creative workshop, one of the sections of the Slovenian House in Zagreb.

Easter Mass in Novi Sad On Easter Monday, 17 April, the Name of Mary Church in Novi Sad, Serbia, hosted Easter Mass in the Slovenian language. It was organised by the Kredarica Association of Slovenians and the Archdiocese of Belgrade and celebrated by Archbishop of Belgrade Stanislav Hočevar. The songs were sung by the Kredarica mixed choir under conductor Dunja Huzjan, and accompanied by Jožef Ritter on the organs. After mass the members gathered at the association to enjoy home-made holiday treats with church dignitaries. They also reminisced about the beginnings of this custom, when they started meeting at Christmas and Easter 16 years ago. Mass in the Slovenian language so far away from home is important


After the Slovenian Easter Mass in Novi Sad.

to all of the association members. They are very proud and grateful that it was celebrated by Monsignor Hočevar, who is known for his conciliatory and wise public speaking and enjoys a lot of respect among

church dignitaries and in the general public.

 Elza Ajduković  Ljubo Popović in Rut Zlobec


Easter World Without Borders in Skopje The biggest shopping centre in Macedonia, the City Mall in Skopje, organised an event named Easter World Without Borders as part of which representatives of seven countries (Russia, Hungary, the US, Ukraine, Sweden, Slovenia and Macedonia) mounted an exhibition of Easter eggs and workshops, presenting Easter customs and food from their countries. Slovenian customs and Easter eggs were presented by the Slovenian France Prešeren Association. The Easter egg exhibition was on display from 7 to 17 April. In a workshop that took place on Good Fri-

day, Iva Serafimova and Glorija Ribarski presented Slovenian Easter customs, such as Palm Sunday bundles typical of Ljubljana and Ljubno ob Savinji, several kinds of Easter eggs typical of Bela Krajina, Prekmurje and Vrhnika, Easter egg games and the Bled Castle Easter egg hunt. Angelca Stoiljković spoke about traditional Slovenian Easter food and the blessing of Easter food baskets. To conclude the event, the guests were treated to walnut potica cake and sweet dough fritters.

Aneliza Koneski was in charge of the decoration and the exhibited Easter eggs. A catalogue with descriptions of traditional Slovenian Easter egg dyeing techniques has also been published. This event is another important step towards the recognition of Slovenian culture in Macedonia.  Iva Serafimova  Združenje France Prešeren




Minister Žmavc: Young start-up entrepreneurs from neighbouring countries important for national identity, consciousness  PODIM  STA


Start-up companies set up by members of the Slovenian minority in neighbouring countries are very important as a means of strengthening the national, linguistic and cultural identity of Slovenians living outside the borders of their home country, Minister for Slovenians Abroad Gorazd Žmavc told the organisers of the Podim 2017 conference. The Office for Slovenians Abroad is making it possible, in cooperation with the organisers of the PODIM conference, to participate free of charge in the biggest startup conference in the Alps-Adriatic region, the minister said in the interview. The goal is to connect them with successful young entrepreneurs, experienced mentors and investors in start-up companies from Slovenia, the region and globally, making a long-term contribution to progress of the entire Slovenian society, said Minister Žmavc. With its activities and in cooperation with stakeholders from abroad, the Office strives to boost Slovenia's competitiveness on the markets of neighbouring countries and other countries with Slovenian communities. We want to contribute to the vision of a more homogeneous economic cooperation between them and the home country, with special emphasis being put on cooperation between Slovenia and its neighbouring countries, said the minister.

The Office has decided for cooperation with the PODIM conference in the belief that there are many talented entrepreneurs among Slovenians living abroad whom the government wants to help take first steps and connect them with like-minded people from Slovenia. The PODIM platform is the most suitable platform for efficient and quality support for and promotion of inclusion of start-ups from neighbouring countries in the Slovenian and regional environment, the minister explained. Young start-ups represent a very important step towards economic independence, which in turn boosts the national awareness, the minister said, adding that he expected good feedback from neighbouring countries. His Office pays particular attention to various activities that young people undertake, because it is aware that they include a great number of entrepreneurs, scientists and experts, who can contribute to creating better connections and achieving better business results. Taking advantage of the experience and knowledge of Slovenians abroad is not only the task of the relevant government office, but also of other ministries and institutions, Minister Žmavc said, adding that he would work towards encouraging all ministers to strengthen cooperation with ethic Slovenians outside Slovenia.

“Our task is to connect and warn relevant government and other institutions about possible obstacles to such cooperation and in the creation of better conditions for economic cooperation with neighbouring and other countries.” Working with the young generation is one of the priorities of the Office in the current term, according to Minister Žmavc, who is aware that efforts should be made towards encouraging the young generation to participate in the activities and cooperate with the home country. “An important interest is to preserve identity, culture and language, which is the basis that the older generations transfer to younger generations,” the minister added. Asked what he could do to upgrade this basis, Minister Žmavc said that it was important to develop broader interests, which would mean economic security and stability for the young people in their countries.


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E-magazine Moja Slovenija May 2017  

E-magazine Moja Slovenija May 2017