Importance of Slovenians abroad noted at all-Slovenian meeting in parliament

Ljubljana/Vipava, 29 June - Speakers addressing the all-Slovenian meeting in parliament, an introductory event to the annual meeting of Slovenians living abroad, agreed that the network of Slovenians around the world is an asset worth preserving and strengthening. Slovenians worldwide are among the key factors in preserving Slovenian identity and culture, they added.

National Assembly vice-president Danijel Krivec told Thursday's event that the global network allows Slovenians to support each other and exchange ideas. "The challenge ahead of us is how to preserve and strengthen Slovenian identity among Slovenians beyond our borders," he added.

Minister for Slovenians Abroad Matej Arčon mentioned several challenges that the government faces in relation to Slovenians worldwide. These include the preservation of the Slovenian language beyond the country's borders, which starts with teaching the youngest generation the language. Another challenge is encouraging the return of young individuals who study abroad.

Suzana Lep Šimenko, the chair of the parliamentary Committee for Relations with Slovenians Abroad, added that by participating in today's meeting, Slovenians living abroad showed their desire to be part of development in Slovenia and help shape the spaces Slovenians inhabit.

She said Slovenians worldwide contribute to strengthening national awareness and the Slovenian economy and to preserving the Slovenian language and culture.

The 19th all-Slovenian meeting in parliament is dedicated to the challenges and opportunities of economic integration for preserving and strengthening Slovenian identity among Slovenians worldwide.

Experience is being shared by Štefan Bogdan Barenboim Šalej, the Brazil-located head of the Slovenian Global Business Network project, scientist and professor Marija Strojnik, who lived in the US for many years and now operates in Mexico, and Felix Wieser, a representative of the coordination committee for economic cooperation among Slovenians abroad.

The traditional annual meeting of Slovenians living abroad, which brings together hundreds of emigrants and ethnic Slovenians from neighbouring countries, will take place from Thursday to Sunday in Vipava and Ljubljana. Some 500 visitors are expected, mostly from nearby countries but also from overseas.

Three exhibitions have been organised, one at the National Assembly showcasing the history of the Slovenian Diaspora Society as it celebrates its 70th anniversary, and the other two at the National and University Library.

© STA, 2023