Minister says beauty of Slovenian diaspora gathering in connections

Celje, 29 June - The main event of the Welcome Home 2024 annual gathering of Slovenians living abroad took place in Celje on Saturday. Minister for Slovenians Abroad Matej Arčon addressed the attendees, saying that the focus of the event is on connections as Slovenians like to "stick together and respect our homeland".

The logo for the annual get-together of the Slovenian diaspora, dubbed Welcome home.
Photo: Rosana Rijavec/STA

The 2023 Welcome Home event.
Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA
File photo

The Welcome Home event is organised in a different city every year, said Arčon, adding that the aim is to celebrate the importance of Slovenians living abroad.

"The beauty of this gathering is that we are connected, that we see how big Slovenia really is, how big our heart is and how much the attendees of the gathering care about culture and preserving identity," he said.

Celje Mayor Matija Kovač expressed his satisfaction that the expatriates' association Slovenska Izseljenska Matica decided to organise the event in Celje, the city of three stars, which are also featured on Slovenia's flag. Kovač believes that Slovenians are closely connected.

The gathering started in the afternoon with a presentation of books by Slovenians living abroad, the opening of two exhibitions and a screening of a short film.

At the main event in Krek Square 12 folk dance groups and choirs performed, as well as individuals from Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, North Macedonia, Germany and Argentina, totalling around 250 performers.

The Welcome Home 2024 event started on Thursday with a gathering in the National Assembly. Attendees watched an operetta in the evening and took a guided tour of the National and University Library on Friday.

The event will conclude on 7 July with the 30th Camp of Slovenians Abroad at the Ljubljana Catholic school Zavod Sv. Stanislava.

© STA, 2024