Slovenian and Australian Current and Future Research Opportunities

SAAA  and the European Union Centre at RMIT are very pleased to invite you to a conference on Monday the 22 May 2017 (10am-4pm), to discuss current and future research opportunities.




H. E. Mrs Helena Drnovšek-Zorko, Ambassador of the Republic of Slovenia in Australia

KEY NOTE: Why and when Slovenia matters

Professor Glenda Sluga, ARC Laureate Fellow, Professor of International History, FAHA, The University of Sydney

KEY NOTE: The Future of International Collaboration in Education and Research

Professor Zlatko Skrbiš, President of the University of Ljubljana Global Alumni and Associates Network (SMUL) & Vice-Provost (Graduate Education, Monash University)

DATE: 22 May 2017, 10:00am-4:00pm​

VENUE: Green Brain Conference Rooms, RMIT City Campus, Torey Hall, Building 16, Level 7, 336-348 Swanston Street Melbourne (next to RMIT Library), Melbourne (Interactive Map)

LUNCH/DINNER: A light lunch will be served at the conference. A dinner will follow, for those who wish to attend, at your own cost.

CO-ORGANISERS: Slovenian Australian Academic Association, Office of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia for Slovenians AbroadEuropean Union Centre at RMITEuropean Law Faculty – Member Of The New UniversitySlovenian Australian Chamber of Commerce, with the support of the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Canberra

SPONSOR: Office of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia for Slovenians Abroad

INFO: or +61 4 568 59 306



Prizor iz Bele Krajine v letu 1920: Sodarja (Juri Horvat, Mate Dragoš) in kovača (Avgust Jakše, Pavle Rauch) v gradu Pobrežje ob Kolpi v Adlešičlih.

An American searching for relatives in Bela Krajina

There is a lot that can be learned from the history of our families; genealogical research is the window to who we are and where we came from.

Over 25 years ago, I started my family tree as a school project. Back then it was only an illustration of my immediate family: aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. Over the years, I continued to add many more people–grandaunts and granduncles, great grandparents and others. I had the benefit of the knowledge of my grandaunt and two of her cousins, who, were all born in the early 20th century. They, being of a different generation than anyone else I knew, allowed me to learn about people who no one else could tell me about. Their work will never be taken for granted or forgotten as they are the reason why this became a passion for me. Despite age being the reason why their progress on this work ended, my work never stopped despite the, at times, slow progress that I was making.

It was only years later that I realized that my cousin had been doing the same work as I was, just using different resources. We eventually joined our research together and continued onward with our work. Once we had combined our findings, our interest only grew of all of the connections we had to other families. This led us to reach further and sent us searching for more resources which led us to our first great find, the Archdiocesan Archives in Ljubljana. This turned out to be a great investment in time as we were able to answer questions that had circled around our family for years which never had any answers with solid evidence to back them up as well.

Shortly after, we learned of the family books that were kept in churches as a form of census of the people in each parish. This was the next evolution in our work. With this information available to us, our interest only escalated further.

Prizor iz Bele Krajine v letu 1920: Sodarja (Juri Horvat, Mate Dragoš) in kovača (Avgust Jakše, Pavle Rauch) v gradu Pobrežje ob Kolpi v Adlešičlih.

Two coopers and two blacksmiths at work in Adlešiči, Bela Krajina, in 1920. Author: Fran Vesel. Source: Slovenski etnografski muzej

In 2011, my cousin and I took a trip to Slovenia together to gather as much information as possible on the village from which our parents came from. With that information in hand, we returned home and for 4 consecutive days, we worked for 16 hours a day to fully document our findings from our trip. With every name added came two more questions about who the newly added person was. By the end of the 4 days, we had added over 3,000 names to our family tree. With all of the other research done to this point, we had well over 4,000 people in our family tree with more questions than ever before. I think it was at that point that we had realized that we could not stop there. We had added multiple generations of grandparents, second cousins, third cousins and even more complex relations.
With every degree deeper, we found connections to other villages and that essentially defined the fate we have come to terms with now; our work will never stop.

Now, 6 years after our first real discoveries outside of our immediate family, we are approaching 25,000 people in what is no longer just a family tree but a genealogical picture of the people of a small portion of the Bela Krajina region of Slovenija. We have fully documented 2 parishes and we are currently working on our third with at least 4 more parishes on our to-do list. We have been able to help many people in Canada and the United States reconnect with their roots, which has been one of the most fulfilling outcomes of all of our efforts.

While there are some people who may have the skills to do this work themselves, a majority do not. It involves having an understanding of multiple languages including Slovenian, German and Latin and a propensity to accurately document historical documents; needless to say, it is a demanding task. It is relatively easy to find a genealogist to do the same work for you but it always comes at a cost.

Our goal always has been and always will be to provide this information freely to anyone who requests it. The greatest benefit of studying villages and whole parishes is that you learn a lot more about the people who lived there than by only studying a single family. So much more can be learned and told about those families which is the true reward in what we do.

We are always looking for people to help us continue our work whether it involves contributing literary material, genealogical material or even financial support.
The big picture includes completing a full and comprehensive genealogical profile of Slovenia starting in Bela Krajina but this is something that we cannot do ourselves. We want to learn about the country that we come from, the country we live in and the people who were here before us and share it with others.

We encourage you to visit our site at and considering supporting our work.

Alex Grašič

ASEF 4th Annual Gala

Gala: ASEF and Cleveland Slovenians Together

A nation of 2 million people can have a great impact on the lives of people all over the world. Slovenians are a living proof of that.

The 4th annual ASEF (American Slovenian Education Foundation) Gala, held in Cleveland on March 25, 2017, was dedicated to American Slovenian inventors, innovators and educators, presented by Dr. Edi Gobec. He has spent most of his life diligently collecting and researching every person of Slovenian background that could be considered a candidate for ‘who is who’ in any field, and in American science and industry in particular. His book ’Slovenian American Inventors and Innovators’ is another of his attempts to honor and respect Slovenians who, with their work, had great impact not only on the lives of Slovenians, but of people all over the world.

ASEF 4th Annual Gala

ASEF 4th Annual Gala

»Slovenians only represent one tenth of a percent of population in the U.S. However, we have contributed 3% of senators and 3% of astronauts to the U.S.«, highlighted Dr. Gobec, clearly demonstrating that Slovenians have an important role in the American society. One of the Slovenians we can be proud of and has had a great impact on technological development is Dr. France Rode, who was also present at the Gala. He was the lead inventor of the first sophisticated pocket-size HP-35 calculator, was involved in the development of first lap top, and holds numerous patents, including three for GPS.

Having the Gala in Cleveland was a unique opportunity for the ASEF to reach broader Slovenian Community in the U.S. The event was enriched with Slovenian music performed by all male Slovenian singing group ‘Mi smo Mi’, based in Cleveland, Ohio. Ambassador of the Republic of Slovenia Božo Cerar congratulated ASEF on its important work on establishing connection between Slovenia and the U.S. in the field of education and science, and spoke in the name of distinguished sponsor Borut Pahor, President of the Republic of Slovenia, who expressed his outmost support to the work of the foundation.

With an aim to enable even more students to follow their dreams and strengthen their expertise, ASEF has been growing its fellowship program. This year there are already 20 positions open with 20 different professors at prominent U.S. universities. In addition, up to two students from the U.S. will be able to go to Slovenia and work with professors there. Ryan, who will go to Slovenia this summer to work with Dr. Borut Ṥkodlar at the University Medical Center Ljubljana, expressed his gratitude and excitement to be given this opportunity with the ASEF.

Thomas Brandi, ASEF President, explained the fellowship program as a two way bridge, connecting Slovenia and the U.S. through education. One lane, the one from Slovenia to the U.S. is already developed and is growing each year. The other lane, from U.S. to Slovenia, is being built in a greater extent.

Jure Leskovec, ASEF Co-founder, underlined the need to expand the fellowship program for American students, and therefore invited Slovenian professors, families, and companies, to open their door to students. The program is being very well accepted in the U.S., growing from 9 fellows last year to 20 in 2017, and they wish for the same trend in Slovenia.

Peter Rožič, S.J., ASEF Co-founder, encourages everyone with the ability and will, to host Slovenian students in the U.S. ASEF fellowship program is changing lives, not only the ones of students, whose worldviews get changed, but also for the hosting families, who take students in their homes. This way students do not only get the professional and research experience, but also the experience of American way of life.


SinfO – March-April 2017

SINFO – SLOVENIAN INFORMATION is a bimonthly magazine, that brings news from Slovenia on business, culture and sports.

Click on the picture below to read the latest issue (March-April 2017):

Slovenians in Australia get new magazine

The Slovenian Language and Culture Association Queensland has published the first issue of a new magazine for Slovenians in Australia, The Hen.

The printed magazine offers a range of topics related to Slovenian cultural heritage, history, current news, cooperation among Slovenians in Australia, human interest stories and entertainment. Designed to promote Slovenia, the magazine will be published four times a year in Slovenian and English.

Additional information is available on the Association’s Facebook profile.

Jerneja Svetičič, president of the Slovenian Language and Culture Association Queensland

Poslanka Tamara Blažina.

Honours bestowed on three female Slovenian cultural workers in Italy

Women were clearly the main protagonists at the central Slovenian Culture Day ceremony, which Slovenians in Italy celebrated at the Lojze Bratuž Culture Centre. Tamara Blažina, the Slovenian member of the Italian parliament, was the honorary speaker at the event, at which the umbrella organisations of the minority, the Slovenian Cultural and Economic Association (SKGZ) and the Council of Slovenian Organisations (SSO), conferred honours on deserving contributors to our cultural life, all three of whom were women this year. The recipients were Bruna Dorbolò, culture organiser and administrator; Dorica Makuc, journalist and persistent researcher of stories from Goriška in particular; and Marija Pirjevec, the Trieste-based literary critic, teacher and tireless mediator between Italian and Slovenian culture. Marija Pirjevec was the only one to receive the award in person, as Dorbolò and Makuc could not be present due to health reasons.

Slovenian cultural institutions in Italy take turns in organising the 8 February ceremony. This year, it was put on by the Association of Slovenian Catholic Education from Gorizia, which dedicated the event to Gorizia composer and conductor Lojze Bratuž (1902-1937), whose life was ended prematurely by Fascist violence 80 years ago.

Poslanka Tamara Blažina.

Tamara Blažina (BUMBACA)

Smells of Home

In the Netherlands, we have been cooking and – more importantly – baking “the Slovenian way” for a while now. Our cooking workshops have always been quite popular. Aside from Slovenians who miss their national cuisine, they are also attended by a fair number of the Dutch. To prove that no pig slaughter or fancy recipes are needed to prepare a true gourmet dish, we organized the workshop once again on 3 December 20016 in Rijswijk. 


The theme was “Fall Lunch” and what we prepared was a Slovenian type of stew called obara, roast potatoes, Carniolan sausage, a salad, and a loaf of pogača. We already came up with the menu and booked both the kitchen and the dining room with the committee members at the Friends of Slovenia Association in September. Since this was a big event, we needed to divide our work accordingly. Špela Božnar, the host of Igrive urice (Playful Hours), taught the children how to properly arrange a table setting. The fact that an additional eight new members of the Friends of Slovenia Association joined us this time speaks volumes as to how pleasant these events are not just for the children but adults just aswell. Aside from the priority in applying and a discount, we also gave them an issue of the bilingual Lipa publication.

As always, the entire Embassy along with Ambassador Roman Kirn and his wife Jovi also attended our cooking workshop. Later on, we were also joined by Zvone Štrubelj, a Slovenian Priest from Brussels. Those who wanted to could go about the afternoon speaking their mother tongue. The children received presents from Miklavž, the Slovenian St Nicholas, who sent them books and chocolate.

President Pahor’s Visit in Egypt

During his last stay in Egypt, Borut Pahor, the President of the Republic of Slovenia, spent his time being among Slovenians who live and work in Egypt, and learning about the historical impact the previous generations had had. He first visited the Alexandrine Women Memorial Site in the Old Cairo Latin Cemetery and paid tribute to the memory of many young Slovenian women who were driven to Egypt in search of work which would enable them to sustain their families.

Kairo, Latinsko pokopalisce. Predsednik republike Slovenije Borut Pahor je obiskal Latinsko pokopalisce in polozil venec pred spominskim obelezjem aleksandrinkam.

Then, President Pahor attended the opening of an exhibition dedicated to Anton Laščak, a renowned Slovenian architect who has created impressive cultural heritage for both Cairo and Alexandria. To mark the occasion, the Slovenian Embassy in Cairo organized a reception, celebrating the 25th anniversary of Slovenian independence. Also attending the event were other Egyptian Slovenians and members of the youngest Slovenian association in Cairo – the Egyptian Slovenian Association Snežinka.

Re-Opening of Revamped “Korotan” Student Residence Hall in Vienna

To finish 2016 with a bang, the most important investment in the Slovenian minorities’ infrastructure paid up – the Korotan Student Residence Hall in Vienna (Albertgasse 48) opened its door once again. For over 60 years, the hall of residence has been housing Slovenian high-school and university students during their studies in Vienna. Since the renovation in 1996, the hall has also been the headquarters of the Slovenian Cultural Center – the central Slavic cultural institution in Vienna.


Slovenian Carinthians feel deeply connected to Vienna and many of them studied and even pursued their professional careers there. And it is precisely due to that that St Mohor’s Society, in cooperation with Father Ivan Tomažič, established the Korotan Student Residence Hall in the 1960’s. Korotan has been considered to be the focal point by the Slovenian minority in Vienna who see it as center of their political, media, and cultural events in Austria. As such it was taken into ownership by the Republic of Slovenia 2009.

In 2016, St Mohor’s Society, the manager of Korotan, and Korotan GmbH, the owner of the building, renovated all the dorm rooms and the cultural center with the help of the Government’s Office for Slovenians Abroad. Today, the facilities look more modern, energy efficient, and consistent with the other focal points of the Slovenian minority. They also provide better living conditions for Slovenian students and hotel guests. The revamped facilities will contribute to a better cultural industry, which is vital due to the fact that this city in the heart of Austria also happens to be one of the most important European cultural metropoles.

On Thursday evening, 15 December 2016, Minister Gorazd Žmavc gave a speech in which he stressed the importance of symbolically concluding the renovation cycle in Slovenian minority regions that started with the opening of the Trieste Book Center and continued with the renovation of the Slovenian Cultural and Information Center Lipa in Szentgotthárd and the St Mohor’s Society Bookstore in Klagenfurt.