June 25, 2011
Slovenian Statehood Day
June 25, 2011 marked 20 years of statehood for the Republic of Slovenia, and the city of Cleveland along with its substantial Slovenian community celebrated in a big way.
Statehood Day week began with two consecutive nights of concerts by internationally acclaimed vocal group from Slovenia, Perpetuum Jezzile at Cleveland State University's Waetjen Auditorium. The universally appealing and exceedingly talented group wowed Slovenians and other music fans with their amazing capabilities and enthusiastic performances.
Official Statehood Day observance began tater in the week when the Consulate General of Slovenia in Cleveland received distinguished guests including the Minister for Slovenes Abroad, Dr. Bostjan Zeks. Slovenian Ambassador to the United States, Mr. Roman Kirn, and United States Ambassador to Slovenia, Mr. Joseph Mussomeli. With this visit, the dignitaries from both Slovenia and the United States honored the largest Slovenian community outside of Slovenia.
On the morning of Friday, June 24, the flag of Slovenia could be seen flying atop Cleveland City Hall, and colorful street banners celebrating Cleveland's Slovenian community lined the St. Clair Avenue in Cleveland's original Slovenian neighborhood. The day's program of events began with a special reception at the Slovenian Museum and Archives. A pertinent exhibit was on display including documents and pictures depicting the role played by Americans of Slovenian heritage in obtaining recognition of Slovenia's independence. The Honorable George Voinovich was an honored guest at this reception and he was presented with a Recognition from Minister Dr. Zeks for his lifetime of achievement and his attention to Slovenian culture and heritage.
The afternoon reception at the Slovenian Cultural Garden was canceled due to weather, but this did not prevent the distinguished guests from viewing the gardens and appreciating the evident hard work that had been done by the volunteers there.
The celebration included a format program of presentations by Mayor Jackson, Councilman Polensek, Councilman Cimperman, Ohio State Representative Kenny Yuko, George Brown of United States Senator's Rob Portman's office, and the evening's guest of honor, Dr. Bostjan Zeks. Mayor Jackson's recent trade mission was a recurring theme throughout the program as many of the presenters and guests shared their experiences as participants.
A musical program featured two performers including headlining recording artist,Raine Austen, and Ml smo Mi, a young Stovenian men's choral group from Cleveland. About 200 guests were in attendance including members of the consular corps and clergy, and friends from within the State of Ohio jurisdiction of the Consulate General of Slovenia in Cleveland, including Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
Posted on www.clevelandslovenian.com
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