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E-magazine | Oktober 2018


“We are waiting for the minority’s proposal for guaranteed representation” SLOVENIANS OUTSIDE SLOVENIA

Austria has failed to make any progress in the last 20 years CULTURE

Grand Austrian State Prize goes to Lipuš 1










Moja Slovenija



The Office of the Republic of Slovenia for Slovenians Abroad


+386 1 230 80 00




Erjavčeva 15, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia





Marjan Cukrov




Grand Austrian State Prize goes to Lipuš Florjan Lipuš, a Slovenian minority writer from the Austrian region of Carinthia, received in Vienna on 1 October the Grand Austrian State Prize for achievements in arts and literature. Lipuš is the first Slovenian to receive the accolade. »Aesthetic, autonomous and innovative literature« »Lipuš's work is based on aesthetic autonomy, linguistic experiment and literary innovation,« Austrian Culture Minister Gernot Blümel said as the winner was announced in June. The jury said that Lipuš »topicalizes the resistance against national socialism, the expulsion and slaughter of Carinthian Slovenians, the belittling of the Slovenian minority by the majority population, but also the salvaging of disappearing Slovenian words and phrases as the basis for a new, self-confident identity.« Pioneer of Slovenian literature in Carinthia Lipuš was born on 4 May 1937 in the bilingual village of Lobnig bei Eisenkappel (Slovenian: Lobnik pri Železni Kapli). As a child, Lipuš witnessed the arrest of his mother, who was killed in the Ravensbrück concentration camp. His father served in the German army. Be-

tween 1960 and 1998 he was a primary school teacher and edited a literary magazine called Mladje. He is considered a pioneer of Slovenian literature in Carinthia. He published a number of short stories, novels and essays. His best known work is Zmote Dijaka Tjaža (The Errors of Young Tjaž; 1972), which was translated into German in 1981 by Helga Mračnikar and Peter Handke. His latest Novel Gramoz (Gravel; 2017) was shortlisted for this year's Kresnik Prize, the main Slovenian national award for novels. Lipuš received many accolades Lipuš has received several accolades for his work, including the Prešeren Prize, the main Slovenian prize for the arts, the Petrarca Prize and the Franz-Nabl Prize conferred by the city of Graz. Lipuš was handed the Grand Austrian State Prize in the Conference Hall of the Federal Chancellery. The keynote speech was delivered by the president of the Austrian Art Senate, author Josef Winkler.  / SVSD


Pleteršnik's Day included in the project Od Maksa do Faksa On 13 September, on the 95th anniversary of death of lexicographer Maks Pleteršnik, an event called Pleteršnik's Day was held in front of his house of birth in Pišece. In addition to the rich cultural programme, the event included a presentation of proceedings from last year's symposium on Slovenian language policy (the articles were published by the journal Slavia Centralis). A biographic novel on Pleteršnik by Rudi Mlinar with the title Maks Pleteršnik and the subtitle A Week with a Dictionarist was also presented. The audience from Slovenia and abroad included the guests of the project My House is Your Home and the guests of the Od Maksa do Faksa project for Slovenian students


from abroad who study in Slovenia. The project is implemented by the association Pleteršnik's Homestead Pišece with assistance from the Government Office for Slovenians Abroad. Two students from Belgrade who participated, Aurena and Nemanja, were excited about the event. Aurena said she wanted to eventually earn a PhD from one of the Slovenian universities. It seems that an increasing number of young people with Slovenian roots around the world want to learn the language of their predecessors and return to Slovenia.  Društvo Pleteršnikova domačija Pišece


“We are waiting for the minority's proposal for guaranteed representation” Peter Jožef Česnik is the 18th head of the Government Office for Slovenians Abroad in independent Slovenia. For many years he lived in Australia, where ministers for Slovenians abroad would contact him, while now he is the one who will be based in Ljubljana and take care for an estimated half a million ethnic Slovenians living outside the home country.



// INTERVIEW You are familiar with active politics. You are one of the founders of the Zares party, and you ran for the party in the European elections. Do you think this experience will help you in the new political job? »Politics is a living mechanism. For me, the post of MP or minister does not represent political power, at least not at my age of 73. For me, politics is a tool which I can use to make the lives of citizens, Slovenians in the neighbouring countries and expatriates better by actively contributing to the creation of good policies. As I said at the maiden session of the National Assembly, politics must serve the people and the country. Serving means working for the good of the people and the country.« How come that you switched to the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB)? »I see myself as a political being. Ancient Greek literature and, after all, modern political science, defines an individual as a political animal (zoon politikon). For me, active participation in the creation of social and political life is not only a necessity but also a need. Membership in a political party is therefore a natural consequence of this active participation. Let me emphasise right at the beginning that the only quality of the Zares party worth mentioning is its programme, which was really good and worth the effort, but obviously only on paper.« And then you took a different political path. How come? »Well, after the fiasco of the political engineering called Zares, I have to admit that I also flirted with the Social Democrats, but as I was getting to know the programme of the Alenka Bratušek Party, I realised that Alenka Bratušek is the only one who understands the modern structure of political action.« You lived in Australia for many years as an immigrant, and you are familiar with the topics concerning Slovenian ethnic minorities in the neighbouring countries and the diaspora across the world. Do you think that this experience will be useful in your work as minister? »The minister's duties are one thing, and Slovenians in the neighbouring countries and immigration are another. I'm still getting used to being a minister, but I have an excellent team and I can say that, generally, I like change and I'm easily adjustable. This is how it is when it comes to my duties as minister. It should be emphasised that, as a long-time immigrant, I am not only understanding of this topic, but also sentimental.

I understand very well the problems and needs of the diaspora.« Your party has stated that your life motto is »Kindness is contagious«. What does this mean for you? »It is true. Kindness is contagious. At least this was true on the fifth continent. I notice personally that there is an acute lack of kindness in everyday life. Traffic and behaviour in traffic is a field where this is confirmed. The tempo of the modern times has resulted in technology replacing genuine human contact and, consequently, humanness and kindness have been sidetracked.« How familiar are you with the situation of Slovenians in Italy? »The Slovenian ethnic community in Italy is not only the largest, but also the best organised Slovenian community in the neighbouring countries. Its members are exceptionally active and as such recognised in the wid-


er community, in business, culture, sports, education, science and politics. This is why my goal is to support this community in all its joint efforts. My experience tells me that a lot can be achieved if you join forces and have clear goals.« How do you plan to achieve this? »What is required is straight talk and transparent action. In such circumstances it is easier for young people to recognise their role in the community. You know, the young shall inherit the world, which is why we need to listen to them and give them an opportunity to actively participate in shaping the future. Of course, the first tasks of my term include meetings with all representatives of the umbrella organisations of Slovenians in the neighbouring countries. We will certainly also speak about the role and importance of the Coordination of Slovenian Minorities (SLOMAK).«


At the hearing in parliament you emphasised that a shift was needed when it comes to representation of the Slovenian ethnic community in the Italian parliament. What did you mean by that? »You know how uncertain the elections to the Italian parliament are, and how much effort is invested every time in election law. This is why I will make an effort for guaranteed representation of the Slovenian ethnic minority not only to be an article of the election law, but that Slovenians in Friuli-Venezia Giulia manage to make a unified and adequate proposal which would be supported in Slovenia at all political levels. What should also be considered is how to secure Slovenian representation in the regional government. Very intensive talks should already be taking place right now.« Do you agree with the proposal that Slovenians in neighbouring countries and overseas get their

// INTERVIEW representative in the National Assembly? »I would endorse such a proposal, which is not new, but there is still no solution which would bring such a representative to the Slovenian parliament. There are a lot of questions that remain to be answered.« And what are these questions? »For me, the most important one is how the half a million Slovenians who don't live in Slovenia elect such a representative. I heard some ideas from representatives of countries with large diaspora communities at the Bled Strategic Forum. But nevertheless, I'm convinced that if there were a simple solution for Slovenia, it would have already been found.« It has obviously not been found (yet) ... »It would certainly require changes to the Slovenian Constitution, which requires a majority in the National Assembly. Here I have to say something else. In the National Assembly, there is the Commission for Slovenians Abroad, and the government has advisory bodies for Slovenians in the neighbouring countries and for Slovenians in the world. After all, the Government Office for Slovenians Abroad, which is headed by a minister, is the central body of the state administration for relations between Slovenia and the Slovenian ethnic communities in the neighbouring countries and Slovenians around the world. Greater participation of Slovenians from the neighbouring countries is a must and I advocate and support the idea of representation of ethnic communities in any democratically formed parliament. What is more, I find it a natural consequence and its implementation is a must.« One often hears minority representatives criticising the home country for not being too familiar with the situation of Slovenians in the neighbouring countries. Do you agree with this criticism? »It is true to a certain extent, but it is also understandable that citizens are interested the most in what is happening in their local environment and not so much in the events on the other side of the country. It is similar when it comes to the interest of people in the home country for diaspora. I have the feeling that many Slovenians still perceive emigrants as 'rich uncles from America'.« This is not really encouraging ... »But at the same time I see that the trend is changing and that an increasing number of individuals notice and live the so-called borderlessness. What has certainly contributed to this is the Schengen policy and in-

frastructure which allows this, and after all, technology and its lightning-fast progress and development. Life is certainly faster today than it was just a decade ago and I'm looking forward to the future, which I hope will be favourable to all, especially to those who live outside the territorial borders of the fatherland.«  Primorski dnevnik



»The toughest blow for the minority« came 60 years ago It has been 60 years since the abolition of mandatory bilingual education in the Austrian province of Carinthia, which was introduced in the 1945/46 school year. It was 1957 when Kärntner Heimatdienst (Carinthian Homeland Service), a German nationalist advisory group, was established and started organising protests which resulted in the abolition of this form of education, which had been praised even by representatives of the majority population as exemplary. The still existing system of applications for bilingual education was introduced instead, initially bringing severe consequences for the Slovenian minority. The anniversary is an opportunity to take a look back at the development of bilingual education and, in particular, to examine the current situation and what the future holds. The new school year has begun. It is usually the time when the data on admissions for bilingual education are published. We are aware of the increasing number of applications for bilingual education in Carinthia and we know that the knowledge of Slovenian among the youngest ones is regressing. This has its history, in which the abolition of mandatory bilingual education was a tragic milestone for the Slovenian ethnic community in Carinthia, which it felt at almost all levels. It particularly affected the knowledge of the Slovenian language, the backbone of the community. “The abolition of mandatory bilingual education after the war, exactly 60 years ago, was the toughest blow for Carinthian Slovenians”, says the president of the National Council of Carinthian Slovenians (NSKS) Valentin Inzko. While in 1957 more than 13,000 children attended


bilingual education in southern Carinthia, only 1,300 enrolled at the beginning of the next school year after the abolition. “The Slovenian ethnic community has never fully recovered from such a tough blow,” says Inzko. While the other children played football, Inzko had to attend Slovenian classes in the afternoon, after the regular classes ended. “Other school children looked at us as if we were being punished.” Irreparable spiritual damage was done to coexistence and knowledge about the language and culture of neighbours, and the most precious legacy of the British allied soldiers was destroyed, he adds. The encouraging number of current applications is another proof that the decision of the then governor was a huge mistake. Of course, we will never reach 13,000, not least because families are now smaller. Mandatory bilingual education was abolished by the social demo-

// SLOVENIANS OUTSIDE SLOVENIA crat Governor Ferdinand Wedenig, while the warmongering protests against it in southern Carinthia (called “Schulstreiks” or school strikes) were organised by Kärntner Heimatdienst. They waited for the British to leave in 1955 to launch anti-Slovenian campaigns, which later also included destruction of bilingual signs. A year earlier, Heinrich Drimmel, the minister of education from the Austrian People’s Party, proved that things could be done differently, establishing in 1957 a Slovenian secondary school, the backbone of the Slovenian ethnic community. It was again Heimatdienst which staged the fiercest protests against the school. “To remedy the injustices” says Inzko, himself a graduate of the Slovenian secondary school, “it would be fair if the system of applications for classes in Slovenian were changed at the latest when more than 50% children apply. As of then, children who do not want classes in Slovenian would opt out, while bilingual education would be mandatory for the rest. This is how it is done for religious education and

this is how it functions in Burgenland. This would be a system more favourable for the minority than the current one”, said the NSKS president. Lawyer Rudi Vouk, a representative of the association of Slovenian jurists in Carinthia, said the following about the abolition of mandatory bilingual education: “Had the system of mandatory bilingual education continued, I think that the ethnic conflict would have never escalated like it happened in the 1970s, because prejudices and misunderstandings would be gradually eliminated with the knowledge of the language. If we speak today about how to improve the climate between the majority and minority and find that almost half of the children apply for bilingual education, it is high time to remedy this injustice from 60 years ago.  Radio Ognjišče / Narodni svet koroških Slovencev  ARO

No differences between the home country and the neighbouring countries The exhibition Slovenian Women in Trieste opened in the atrium of the Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts in Ljubljana on 17 September, accompanied by a presentation of a collection of women's writing in the region of Primorska. The event also featured an interesting debate on the role of women in Slovenian literature and on Slovenia's relations with Slovenians from the neighbouring countries. Author and literary historian Denis Poniž sees no differences between writing in the home country, the neighbouring countries and in diaspora. He thinks that, for example, Carinthian Slovenian Maja Haderlap fully qualifies as a Slovenian writer even though she mainly writes in German. As an example supporting his opinion that something is still wrong with the recognition of the role of women in Slovenian literature, Poniž pointed to a report in the Slovenian media which first presented the recently deceased Trieste-based author Irena Žerjal as a former wife of political dissident Jože Pučnik, and only then as a poet and writer. Bogomila Kravos presented the late Lelja Rehar Sancin and emphasised her great contribution to the promotion of Slovenian in Trieste and wider, while Vilma Purič described the character of Irena Žerjal.

 Primorski dnevnik


40 years of the bilingual kindergarten in Klagenfurt Naš Otrok (Our Child), a bilingual kindergarten in Klagenfurt, Austria, where around 35 children learn Slovenian and German every year, is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Minister for Slovenians Abroad Peter Jožef Česnik said at a recent presentation of the kindergarten in Ljubljana that bilinguality gave children an opportunity to strengthen their knowledge and expand it through play. The minister said that there were too few multilingual kindergartens and that multicultural bilinguality could be better supported. »Bilinguality enriches every person,« he said. He said he was happy that the kindergarten was successful, and promised enhanced cooperation with other organisations of Slovenians abroad. »You can make a nest anywhere, but there can be only one fortress,« he added. Marija Zdouc, the president of the association Naš Otrok, which operates the kindergarten, spoke about the beginnings of the kindergarten more than 40 years ago, when times were not easy at all for Slovenians in Carinthia. At the time, a group of parents formed an association, as they wanted to see their children educated in both languages of the province. They soon established a kindergarten in the Mohor House in Klagenfurt. Children who attend the kindergarten come from different language environments, even from Pakistan, said the association's secretary Katarina Pajnič. »An increasing number of parents discover the importance of bilinguality even at the earliest age,« added Zdouč. Slovenian and German are used in the kindergarten almost equally, with the languages taking turns every week. Teachers usually do not mix the languages, while children are free to use the language of their liking. The kindergarten hosts various Slovenian groups, and it also cooperates well with some Slovenian schools. Zdouč warned at the presentation about the poor financial situation of the kindergarten. She said that it frequently received private donations, while all mem-


bers of the association worked as volunteers so that the budget could cover the wages of teachers and other necessary costs.  Slovenski generalni konzulat v Celovcu


Austria has failed to make any progress in the last 20 years Next year the National Council of Carinthian Slovenians (NSKS) will celebrate 70 years of its work, and it is already planning a number of events to mark the 100th anniversary of the Carinthian plebiscite in 2020. In the light of the upcoming anniversaries, we talked about the challenges faced by the Slovenian ethnic community with Nanti Olip, the newly-elected president of the Assembly of National Representatives (ZNP), the highest decision-making body of the NSKS. What are your expectations from the new Slovenian government? »The very way in which the government was formed, given the general development of this relatively young country, is worrying. It seems to me that Slovenia is facing big challenges, which it can tackle only if all political forces cooperate. Internal political divisions in the country could lead to matters not moving forward instead of being tackled as they should with all constructive forces available. When it comes to Slovenians in the neighbouring countries and around the world, the wish is, of course, that the Office for Slovenians Abroad keeps getting sufficient support. The Office has always been in direct contact with Slovenians in the neighbouring countries and has served as a bulwark of continuity. If such an office is authorised by the state, then firstly it is a proof of the respectful attitude of Slovenia to all Slovenians living outside its borders. Secondly, it is also an operational body which can take quick measures and solve problems which high politics is not able to. Based on the first announcements from the minister-designate Peter Jožef Česnik, I hope that the cooperation with the Office will continue in a good atmosphere and constructive dialogue, and that open issues will be resolved. We are very happy that Ljudmila Novak, the former minister for Slovenians abroad, was elected the chair of the parliamentary Commission for Slovenians Abroad. I greatly appreciate her work as she is exceptionally knowledgeable of the issues Slovenians in the neighbouring countries face, and I am convinced that the committee could have a lot of say in the Slovenian parliament.«


The coalition agreement includes numerous commitments and promises. Do you expect an increase in budget funds intended for activities of Slovenians in the neighbouring countries? »It would certainly be an exceptionally positive signal, both inwards and outwards. It would be a signal that the government is aware that it is responsible for the lives of Slovenian citizens within and outside the country. This awareness in Slovenia is in a decline. At the same time, it would also be a signal for all neighbouring countries, which are chiefly responsible for providing support for ethnic communities.« How the financing of activities of the ethnic community looked like in the recent years? »If you compare the financial support from Slovenia to that from Austria, the ratio in the last few years is two-to-one in favour of Slovenia. You can imagine how much infrastructure and how many cultural and other activities for which the ethnic community is recognised was co-financed by Slovenia in the recent years. On the other hand, there has been no improvement on the Austrian side since 1995, which is a big disgrace for such a rich country. Not to mention the things which it is obliged to do under international treaties, including Article 7 of the Austrian State Treaty. Support for the media of the ethnic communities should not be an issue, but Austria is not supporting our print media as it should under international treaties. The ethnic community badly needs print media, which have been kept alive in the last few years by Slovenia. I have also pointed many times to the issue of the community not being recognised. We would like to have at least a 30-minute show which would shed light on the specifics of the ethnic community. This raises the awareness and knowledge of what is really going on in the neighbouring countries. After all, it is an obligation of the national television and radio to cover the entire spectrum to a sufficient extent.« Is the show you mention just an idea or have steps already been made for its realisation? »Except for the numerous meetings that we had, I haven't noticed any concrete progress. I think that awareness should be raised about the wider area, which should be reflected in the media coverage. If you are present in one of the major Slovenian media, this also changes people's perception. The Slovenian language and cultural space is much larger than the space limited by Slovenia's borders.«


In which segment you need the most financial support so that activities of Carinthian Slovenians could fully develop? »Currently our biggest problem is securing permanent financing of our print media. With each print media being closed, Slovenian printed word also gradually vanishes. It is a problem that can be solved, but only with work which produces much more concrete results and with cooperation between the countries. We have to find an adequate model in dialogue with the Austrian side and clearly define responsibilities. We would also like to see more attention from Slovenia, where the life in the neighbouring countries and all fields where ethnic communities are active could be more clearly presented.« The elections to the Assembly of National Representatives (ZNP) were held recently. An increase in women representatives and young people is noticeable. How did you manage to politically activate this segment of the population? »What the election has brought is exceptional diversity in the structure of national representatives and incredible continuity, with as many as four former presidents of the NSKS being re-elected. What is more, every segment of the population is represented if you consider the profession structure - from a legal advisor to a labourer, from a doctor to a head teacher, from the head of a scientific institute to a farmer. We have given the people an opportunity to elect such candidates, and the result is exceptionally encouraging. A high share of young people and a high share of women elected to the highest body of the NSKS show the balance within the organisation. At the same time, it is a good prospect for the ethnic community, because it is necessary to have such political actors. They are more authentic and more legitimised to get in touch with officials at all levels on behalf of the ethnic community.« What was the election turnout this year? »This year's elections were attended by 28% of the eligible voters. Had it been higher, it would confirm even greater diversity. I see a certain standstill in minority politics, and, in this period of dead silence, the result of this year's election is actually exceptionally encouraging, as it confirmed that a lot of people are still interested in active politics. This is an opportunity to reflect on the existing political structure within the ethnic community. We need thorough changes and internal re-

// SLOVENIANS OUTSIDE SLOVENIA forms, which I believe we are capable of realising. If we fail to do so, political stagnation will last for a few more years, with the final result being political representation of the ethnic community simply losing importance and political weight permanently.« What policy the NSKS will pursue in the new term? »In the coming generations, the ethnic community will need a lot of people in leading positions, in culture, economy, education and science sector, which is why the basic education of these people is one of the key tasks of the National Council. We need to purse a clearly targeted educational policy, with which we will gain educated staff, which will be useful to the entire ethnic minority. We will also put a great emphasis on facilitating dialogue between the existing organisations, trying to convince them to make internal reforms towards creating a joint elected representation. We will also try to improve the dialogue with the regional and federal governments of Austria.« Will you dedicate additional funds for such education? »I think that not much additional funds are needed for such education. I concluded from my conversations with young people that they would like to know more about the history of the ethnic community, and there are enough educated people in our ranks who could shed light to the historical background.

three chancellors. In all decisive talks, the other side hears different opinions which at the same time are supposed to represent the Slovenian minority. Meetings with the federal government are few and far between, and if we leave the impression then that we ourselves do not know what we want, it is hard to achieve anything.« At the beginning of July, you left the municipal council of Zell after 33 years. Did you face similar obstacles there? »In local councils, politics is much more direct, while in minority politics there is no direct accountability. Nobody answers to anyone for their acts, because there are no control mechanisms. We have no joint body which would be in charge of supervision and transparency, and in particular for binding decisions related to political requests. This should be the next essential upgrade in the organisation of the ethnic community, because this is the only way to use the funds we receive from Vienna and Ljubljana economically for forward-looking projects. With an elected joint body, we would have the necessary structure for better political representation and a correctional mechanism which acts inwards.«  DELO  NSKS

Without historical awareness and knowing all circumstances which have led to the current situation, the ethnic community cannot go forward. We know that the presidents of various cultural, sport, musical and other associations will soon need successors. If we fail to secure well-educated staff which could assume the responsibility, it will be a terrible mistake.« You mentioned the attempts to establish better dialogue with Vienna and Carinthia. Why is it hard to find common ground with the regional and federal governments? »Mostly because there is no umbrella body. The lack of a joint superstructure is devastating for politics of the ethnic community. The ethnic community has three representative bodies, which is absolutely irritating for all good-willed and serious people with a positive attitude on the other side of the table. This is equal to Carinthia having three regional governments or Vienna


Slovenian Community Tuzla marking 25th anniversary The Slovenian Community Tuzla is marking this year an important anniversary under the slogan »25 Years with You«. On this occasion, a reception was held on 22 September in the Crystal Hall of Hotel Tuzla, attended by Slovenian Ambassador to Bosnia-Herzegovina Zorica Bukinac, representatives of the Tuzla Canton and the city of Tuzla, guests from Slovenia, members of Slovenian associations from Zenica, Kakanj and Breza, and numerous residents and members of the community. The reception started with the national anthems of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Slovenia jointly performed by the women's choir Slovenčice from Tuzla and the women's choir Sanje from Nova Gorica. The short introduction, including a speech on the history of the Slovenian Community Tuzla, was followed by a performance by majorettes from Tuzla. The Slovenian Community Tuzla pays special attention to preserving Slovenian language, culture and customs. It hosts a course of the Slovenian language and culture for children and adults, headed by teacher Slavica Pavlović. The students are third- or fourth-generation Slovenians from Tuzla. They staged a recital, acquainting


the audience with the beautiful Slovenian regions. The women's choir Slovenčice was established as part of the Slovenian Community Tuzla in 2009. Today it has 26 active members, who are conducted by professor Lejla Mulaosmanović. It sang Slovenian songs, supported on the piano by Anica Furla, a guest from Nova Gorica. On the occasion, the long-serving choir members and the conductor received bronze Gallus medals from the Public Fund for Cultural Activities (JSKD). The guests from Nova Gorica, the women's choir Sanje, is a part of the namesake association, which last year celebrated its 20th anniversary. It is conducted by Ingrid Kragelj, and is accompanied in all its performances by pianist Anica Furlan. The choir sang to the audience in Tuzla several Slovenian songs and concluded the performance with a beautiful Bosnian Sevdalinka. At the end of the reception, the president of the Slovenian Community Tuzla Dragica Tešić said that the organisation had done a lot in the two decades and a half in terms of fostering Slovenian language, culture and

// SLOVENIANS OUTSIDE SLOVENIA customs. She added that Slovenčice and the association's fine arts section were the backbone of cultural activities for which it was known in Tuzla, Bosnia-Herzegovina and the region. Tešić said that the numerous cultural events the association organised in all those years were not important only for Slovenians, but for other residents of Tuzla and the Tuzla Canton too. The Slovenian community is looking to contribute to shaping the cultural scene in the city and show the residents of the city and canton that Slovenians are part of the local community, that they cherish their language and culture and have something to show. As an expression of gratitude for the support in all these years, representatives of the Slovenian Embassy in Sarajevo, the Government Office for Slovenians Abroad, the City of Tuzla, the Government of the Tuzla Canton, the Bosnian Cultural Centre Tuzla and Hotel Tuzla were handed paintings made at the fine arts workshops dubbed Slovenians in Tuzla, and the book Amalija, a biography of the social and anti-fascist activist Amalija Lebeničnik (1875-1942). The Ministry of Education and Sport of the Tuzla Canton received a donation of 130 copies of the book for all primary and secondary schools in the canton.  Dragica Tešić, predsednica SS Tuzla  The association’s archive


Members of the Lipa Prijedor association on Mt Blanc Wherever they live, Slovenians carry with them the love of mountains and mountaineering. It could be said that they have it in their genes. This is also true of the Slovenian Association Lipa from Prijedor, Bosnia-Herzegovina. We love mountains in general, we are excited about the Triglav and other mountains in Slovenia and we are proud of them, but only some of us have the courage, strength and energy to climb them. Our member Tanja Timarac has been a mountaineer for years, and she has climbed Triglav, Mangart and other Slovenian peaks many times. A few years ago, she was joined by Bojana and Radenko Derkuća Bevandić. Like all mountaineers and mountain lovers, they have their own dreams and plans about what peaks to climb. Their joint wish and goal was to climb the highest peak in Italy, Gran Paradiso (4,061 m), and the highest peak in France and west Europe, Mt Blanc (4,810 m). Intensive preparations for the climb started two years ago, with the climbers conquering numerous peaks in


Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Italy and Austria in the process. The most important peaks they climbed were Triglav, Jalovec, Prisojnik, Mangart and Mojstrovka (Slovenia), Maglić (Bosnia-Herzegovina), the Dolomites (Italy) and Schneeberg (Austria). Finally there came the day when everything was ready and booked. They started the trip in Prijedor and arrived in the Aosta Valley on 18 July. They first climbed Gran Paradiso to acclimatise. Bojana Derkuća Bevandić said: »It was difficult and we were almost completely exhausted in certain moments, but we did not want to give up on our dream. In the worst moments, we looked around us and the beauty of the mountains behind and before us was breathtaking. This instantly gave us new energy to go forward. We thus reached the peak of Gran Paradiso happy and satisfied that we have achieved our goal. What I and other members of the team felt cannot be described with words, it can be only felt.«

// SLOVENIANS OUTSIDE SLOVENIA After conquering the highest peak in Italy, the mountaineers from Prijedor left for Mont Blanc. On the first day, they reached the Tete Rousse Hut (3,167 m), and on the second day they reached the Gouter Hut (3,835 m), crossing the Grand Couloir or the »Death Gully«. The final ascent started at 1:30 a.m., with the first signs of the new day showing at 4:30 a.m., a scene that cannot be described with pictures or words. They moved forward across the Grand Boss and Petite Boss ridges and after six hours of walking they reached the peak of Mont Blanc. They were lucky with the weather the whole time. After making their dream come true, they took photos and now we have pictures of our members with a flag of our association with the logo and the slogan »No Matter When, No Matter Where - We are Always Slovenians«. They say they are thankful to the mountains for being kind to them and for taking care of good weather to allow them to realise their dreams. Our sincere congratulations to these courageous people, who love nature, mountains and whose courage, strength and energy does not show in their everyday lives, and to people who make their dreams come true. We wish you good luck in the future, perhaps on even higher peaks, as no-one knows what heights they will eventually reach.  Alenka Uduč, Društvo Lipa  Arhiv društva



Office organises first event at Bled Strategic Forum The Government Office for Slovenians Abroad hosted on 10 September a panel called »Diaspora's Role of a Bridge in Contemporary International Relations« as part of the Bled Strategic Forum. The debate, hosted by Minister Gorazd Žmavc, featured Aleksandra Pivec, Secretary of State at the Office for Slovenians Abroad, who delivered the keynote address, and Terence Spenser Nicholas Quick, deputy minister for foreign affairs of Greece, Raymond Xerri, director of the Directorate for Maltese in the World at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and trade of Malta, John Doma, honorary consul of Slovenia in Canada, Blaž Tomc Zidar, board member of the Association of Slovenians Educated Abroad (VTIS) and Zvone Žigon, an advisor at the Office. It was moderated by journalist Igor E. Bergant. The event featured a number of distinguished guests, including the chair of the parliamentary Commission for Slovenians Abroad Ljudmila Novak, Culture Minister


Anton Peršak, candidate for the minister for Slovenians abroad Jožef P. Česnik, High Representative of the EU in Bosnia-Herzegovina Valentin Inzko, Slovenian Ambassador to Portugal Matjaž Longar, consuls general Vojko Volk and Milan Predan, as well as representatives of non-governmental organisations from Slovenia, neighbouring countries and the world, and many others. The goal of the first such panel was to discuss the cooperation with the communities living outside the home country. The participants expressed the wish for these links to be strengthened further. Minister Žmavc and State Secretary Pivec also attended the opening ceremony of the 13th Bled Strategic Forum, and held bilateral meetings with representatives of Greece, Malta and Portugal in charge for relations between the home country and diaspora.


Seminar for teachers of Slovenian language and other courses in Slovenian from overseas

In cooperation with the National Institute of Education, the Government Office for Slovenians Abroad and the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport will once again organise and finance a professional training seminar for teachers from Saturday schools of the Slovenian language and other courses in Slovenian from the overseas countries. The seminar will take place between 23 January and 1 February 2019. It is expected to be attended by 15 to 20 teachers.


Profile for Moja slovenija

E-magazine Moja Slovenija Oktober 2018  

E-magazine Moja Slovenija Oktober 2018