The Minister for Slovenians Abroad, Boštjan Žekš, received the Mayor of Cleveland, Frank G. Jackson, and a delegation from Cleveland
The Minister for Slovenians Abroad, Boštjan Žekš, received the Mayor of Cleveland, Frank G. Jackson, and a delegation from Cleveland on 9 May 2011. The delegation included representatives of the Slovenian community in the United States of America - Cleveland city councillors Michael D. Polensek and Joe Cimperman and the Dean of Cleveland State University, Greg Sadlek.
Slovenians migrated en masse to the USA in the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th century, another wave of migrants followed in 1945. The structure of the Slovenian ethnic community has changed considerably since the beginning of the 20th century. Slovenian-born immigrants were a majority in this community at the beginning of the 20th century. The generations born in the USA have taken a leading role since. US-born descendants of immigrants comprise almost 90 per cent of the Slovenian immigrant community in the USA.
In the 1990 census in the USA, 124,437 persons stated they were of Slovenian descent, of whom 87,500 persons (70.3%) stated Slovenian origin as the only or the first origin (the census allowed the stating of one or more origins). Slovenian national awareness greatly increased with the independence of Slovenia in 1991, so that in a 2000 census, 175,099 persons stated they were of Slovenian descent. Today, three quarters of the Slovenians in the USA live in six states - Ohio (49,598), Pennsylvania (14,584), Illinois (11,743), Minnesota (6,614), Wisconsin (6,478) and California.
Unofficial estimates of the number of Slovenians and their descendants in the USA are considerably higher, ranging from 300,000 to 600,000. With decades and new generations, the vast majority of them were integrated into US society, and a rather small number actively participate in social, cultural and other events organised by the Slovenian community. However, several hundred compatriots, sometimes even several thousand, still gather for major events.
Slovenian ‘national homes’, associations, and Catholic parishes and support organisations are essential to maintaining national identity. The majority of organisations operate in English and Slovenian, and also publish bulletins. Radio shows and electronic media are gaining importance. Four radio shows in Slovenian are broadcast in Cleveland alone; most organisations have their own websites, while the website ClevelandSlovenian.com has emerged as a leading web medium, featuring selected news items from Cleveland and elsewhere and various links to other media, associations, parishes etc.
Both young and adult descendants of Slovenian immigrants are expanding their knowledge of Slovenian language and culture in Slovenian schools. A Slovenian museum and archives were established in Cleveland in 2008, and began working regularly in refurbished premises in the summer of 2009.
A centre for Slovenian studies was opened at the beginning of 2009 within Cleveland State University, with the aim of encouraging cooperation between Slovenian and US universities, exchanging professors, teachers and students, promoting Slovenian science and culture at US universities etc.