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Slovenian youth from neighbouring countries hold conference in Rijeka

On 29 and 30 September 2017 the Slovenian Home of the cultural and educational association KPD Bazovica in Rijeka, Croatia, was the venue of an international conference of the youth organisations of Slovenians from neighbouring countries. The event has been organised by the Slovenian Youth Council and the Office for Slovenians Abroad in cooperation with the Slovenian community in Rijeka (KPD Bazovica and the association EU Korak).

At the opening ceremony participants have been welcomed by Tin Kampl, president of the Youth Council, Under-Secretary Jelena Malnar from the Office for Slovenians Abroad, Zvonimir Stipetić, president of the Slovenian Home of KPD Bazovica, Boris Rejec, president of the Council of Slovenian Ethnic Minority in the City of Rijeka, Vasja Simonič, president of the Council of the Slovenian Ethnic Minority for the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, Verena Lelas Turak, deputy mayor of Rijeka, and a keynote speaker Slovenian Ambassador to Croatia dr. Smiljana Knez.


The conference has been attended by youth organisations from Slovenia, Italy, Croatia and Austria and it has been the second such event within the programme »Connecting« (Povezujemo) following the last years conference in Szentgotthard, Hungary.


The main theme of the conference has been communication and information sharing, whereas the participants have, through work in small groups and guided by the coaches Nina Milenković Kikelj and Urška Simonišek, identified challenges organisations face in relation to communication and information sharing internally and externally towards youth, other organisations and institutions.


Throughout the first day of the conference, the participants broke the ice with »get to know« games, evaluated current situation in the respective field, evaluated case studies and participated in a dialogue with a communication expert Sebastjan Jeretič. On the second day the participants have proposed solutions and prepared four final recommendations on such basis.


As the result of a two day intense work, the participants have presented four concrete ideas  to the Minister for Slovenians Abroad Gorazd Žmavc that shall in long-term improve interaction between young people themselves as well as with their motherland, persuade young people to actively involve in Slovenian organisations in neighbouring countries, encourage »brain circulation«, ensure continuity of such events and establish a system of assigning and accepting responsibilities among older and younger members of the organisations. Minister G. Žmavc was positive on the youth's initiatives, expressed his support for projects such as this conference and encouraged the youth to use Slovenian cultural centres in the neighbouring countries for such purposes.


The participants expressed desire for continuance of such events and further socialization in the future.