The 22nd Seminar of Slavic minorities took place in Bleiburg/Pliberk, Austria20.11.2019
The 22nd Seminar of the Working Group of Slavic Minorities inside the FUEN took place from 14th-17th November 2019 in the region Carinthia/Koroška, Austria. Over 30 representatives of Slavic minorities from over 10 different countries came together in Pliberk / Bleiburg, where the Mayor Mr. Štefan Visotschnig opened the seminar, together with the AGSM Spokesperson Mr. Bernhard Ziesch and the Consul General of the Republic of Slovenia Dr. Anton Novak. Mr. Visotschnig underlined the bilingual perspective of the municipality which “is an added value to our economy and society, due to the geographical vicinity with Slovenia. We are the only municipality in South-Carinthia with a positive inhabitants increment.”
Dr. Novak added that the Republic of Slovenia increasingly supports the Slovenian minority in Carinthia as well as FUEN's citizens initiative MinoritySafePack. AGSM Spokesperson Ziesch thanked to the host organisations NSKS and SKS, as well as to the respective guests and participants for their contribution to the already 22nd Seminar of AGSM.
On Friday November 15th the delegation took part at the 30th Jubilee Minorities Congress of the state Carinthia, which was titled “From Conflict, Through Dialogue to Consensus” and was underlining the integration development of the Slovenian minority in Carinthia. The AGSM delegation was welcomed by the Governor Dr. Peter Kaiser, who stated the new Carinthian constitution, “where for the first time in history, the Slovenian minority is mentioned. This is an important step forward towards a peaceful coexistence.” Many interesting key-note speeches and presentations were held, one of them was also by a young Carinthian Slovene Ms Nadja Polzer, who spoke about the role of minority and mother tongue in globalised societies.
On Friday afternoon the programme continued in the municipality of Globasnitz / Globasnica, where Mayor Bernard Sadovnik presented several multi-lingual structures and functions of the municipality. “We are proud of our bilingual elementary school and kindergarten, which build a basis for an open and tolerant society. Through »Geopark Karavanke« we have a strong cooperation with over 10 municipalities on both sides of the border, which is a long-term coexistence strategy”, so Sadovnik. The directors of both institutions Ms. Greiner and Ms. Terbuch spoke about the synergies that the bilingual educational system represents for the majority and minority population in the area. The participants also visited the local museum in the Elberstein castle, which was rebuilt for over 40 years. Afterwards the reception took place at the local restaurant, where the association SKD Globasnica prepared a rich cultural programme, with a mixed choir »Peca«, musicians and dancers. This was a great opportunity to get to know and meet many people from the local community, which very much appreciated the visit of the AGSM delegation.
The regular working meeting of the AGSM took place on Saturday 16th November in Bleiburg / Pliberk. The members had the chance to exchange about the current situations of their minorities and to learn about the best-practice examples from the hosting minority.
Ms Darja Komar presented Geopark Karavanke, a cross-border cooperation of several municipalities in Austria and Slovenia, Mr. Benjamin Wakounig presented the Slovenian Trade Association (SGZ), which unites over 100 small and medium enterprises in Carinthia, Marinka Mader-Tschertou from the Community of Slovenian farmers in Southern Carinthia (SJK) presented best practices from the agricultural sector, which is crucial for the development of peripherical areas of the Slovenian community.
AGSM Coordinator Matic Germovšek Žnidaršič presented the current work of the working group and displayed the brand new homepage of the AGSM, which shall increase the visibility and media presence.
Members of the AGSM elected a new spokesperson as well. Ms Angelika Mlinar, Carinthian Slovene and FUEN Vice-President became Spokesperson with an unanimous vote. Congratulations!
At this opportunity the whole AGSM and FUEN would also like to thank Mr. Bernhard Ziesch for all his engagement and contributions to our work! Džakujemo Bjarnat!
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