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Joe Valencic inducted to Cleveland International Hall of Fame

Cleveland, 7 June - Joe Valencic, a well known promoter of Slovenian and polka events in the US, has become the sixth American of Slovenian descent to be inducted to the Cleveland International Hall of Fame.

US, Cleveland
Joe Valencic, a well known promoter of Slovenian and polka events in the US.
Photo: Robi PoredoŇ°/STA

Valencic, a founder and past president of the Polka Hall of Fame in Cleveland who is known in Slovenia as the voice of the Slovenians in America, is joining the ranks of Senator George Voinovich, journalist Dick Russ, jurists Vladimir Rus and Avgust Pust and Bishop Edvard Pevec.

The Cleveland International Hall of Fame recognizes and honours people who have made significant contributions to ethnic diversity in Cleveland, home to a sizeable Slovenian community, and the wider region. The induction ceremony will be held this evening.

On top of his role as historian and museum and archives head at the Polka Hall of Fame, Valencic is the long-term president of the Cleveland Federation of Lodges of the Slovene National Benefit Society (SNPJ), the largest Slovenian organization in the US.

Valencic, who moreover manages the Polka Music Awards, represents Slovenians in the US on the international advisory board of the Slovenian Office for Slovenians Abroad.

When Slovenia declared independence in 1991, he helped lobby for US recognition and in 1997 he was a member of a delegation of Slovenian-Americans invited to the White House for talks on Slovenia's accession to NATO.

Valencic, born in 1954, also makes films, lectures, organises concerts and exhibitions in the US and abroad. He hosts the Polka Hall of Fame radio show every Saturday.

What is more, he discovered the first sound film recorded in Slovenia in 1929 and the first transcription of a radio broadcast in 1938. He also contributes information to encyclopaedias such as the Encyclopaedia of Cleveland History, the Encyclopaedia of Slovenia and the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

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