Minister meets Slovenian communities in Bosnia-Herzegovina
Banja Luka, 12 March - Minister for Slovenians Abroad Helena Jaklitsch learned about the different ways in which Slovenian communities in Bosnia-Herzegovina foster their heritage and traditions as she visited Prijedor, Slatina and Banja Luka as part of her three-day tour of the country.
In Prijedor, the minister met Alenka Uduč, the head of the Lipa Association of Slovenians, to be told about the projects planned this year.
"The compatriots there foster their Slovenian heritage through a singing group, a folk dance group, this year they are making TV shows on gastronomy, and they are very active in beekeeping," the Office for Slovenians Abroad said a press release.
The association also has a 30-minute Slovenian show in the local radio twice a month, and is getting ready to celebrate its 25th anniversary in December.
The association will soon need to move out of its current premises but Minister Jaklitsch and Slovenian Ambassador in Sarajevo Damijan Sedar promised to support them in the efforts to get new ones.
The meeting in Prijedor was also attended by Barbara Goršič, who teaches Slovenian as optional classes in Slatina, Banja Luka and Prijedor.
The Lipa association will this year host a meeting of schools with Slovenian classes throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina, given by three teachers.
In Slatina, Jaklitsch was given a welcome by the Slovenians living there. They are preparing to mark the centenary since several families from the Slovenian Primorska region first moved to Slatina. The minister also visited the Lunić farm, which boasts the traditional Slovenian hayrack.
The minister wrapped up the first day of her visit to the country in Banja Luka, where she met representatives of what is one of the biggest Slovenian associations in the region. The Triglav Banja Luka Association numbers more than a thousand members.
The association's head Marija Grbić presented their activities, including those aimed at preserving the Slovenian language, culture and customs. They have their own library, two choirs and a large folk dance ensemble. They organise many events throughout the year, including the annual Slovenian Days festival.
The minister congratulated the association on their successful work in preserving the Slovenian language and culture and encouraged them to stay connected with the homeland in the future. She also gave an interview for a programme on national TV that is intended for minorities in the country.
On Saturday, the minister is visiting Kakanj in central Bosnia and then then travel on to the capital Sarajevo, where she is due to meet a Slovenian lector at the Sarajevo Faculty of Philosophy, a Slovenian teacher and members of the Slovenian association Cankar.
On the last day of her stay, on Sunday, the minister is also due to meet Sarajevo Deputy Mayor Anja Margetić. She will wrap up her visit in Tuzla.
The Government's Office for Slovenians Abroad estimates there are up to 5,000 Slovenians and their descendants living in Bosnia-Herzegovina and they have ten associations. Since 2010, they are allied in the umbrella association Europe Now, shows information on the website of the Slovenian Embassy.