Murska Sobota hosting Slovenian diaspora
Murska Sobota, 7 July - Slovenians living abroad will this year meet at the Rakičan Mansion near the city of Murska Sobota. The seventh annual meeting, taking place this weekend, will be an opportunity for the Slovenian diaspora to explore opportunities for cooperation for the north-eastern Pomursko region to be promoted as a tourist destination.
The Welcome Home event will take place under the patronage of the Murska Sobota municipality and the Government Office for Slovenians Abroad between Friday and Sunday.
There are at least 500,000 Slovenians living abroad, which Slovenia tends to forget, said Andrejka Majhen from the Office for Slovenians Abroad.
The meeting is hosted by a different municipality each year, so the Slovenians from abroad can get to know different Slovenian towns.
The event always presents the Slovenian cultural heritage that is nurtured outside the country, from Slovenian dances and songs to theatre productions.
Over 310 performers from around the world have confirmed attendance, with the youngest, a five-year old boy, coming from Canada, Majhen said, adding that many non-Slovenian members of their families were also expected.
To promote the Pomurje region, local tourist associations and organisations will present their offering. "The goal is to get these people to come back as tourists and help develop this very important part of our economy," Murska Sobota Mayor Aleksander Jevšek said.
The get-together will include trips around Pomurje and guided tours of Murska Sobota, as well as exhibitions, round table debates, business and sport events. Local cuisine will also be presented.
The meeting will conclude on Sunday with the ecumenical religious service for Slovenians at home and abroad, led by Catholic Bishop Peter Štumpf and Evangelical Bishop Geza Filo.