For over a decade now the Dubrovnik branch office of the Croatian Heritage Foundation has organised its traditional Meeting of Emigrant Dubrovnians.

The project is also a medium through which natives of Dubrovnik living in New York assist their ancestral region through funding provided for the sick, infirm and socially threatened. This year the Dubrovnik Club of New York, in spite of the challenges of preparing for the celebrations of the 75th anniversary of the club’s founding, presented a medical donation to Ivana Švarc and a restoration donation to the parish church of St Blasius (Sveti Vlaho) in the town of Ston.

The Meeting of Emigrant Dubrovnians aims to gather the many emigrants from Dubrovnik now living around the world. Besides its humanitarian nature, the event is also an opportunity to meet people, exchange experiences and work out modes of collaboration and for the emigrants to meet with representatives of municipal and county officials in the Dubrovnik region. The mayor and his associates, representatives of the county government and members of the EU parliament attend the meetings. The objective of the project is to gather emigrants visiting Dubrovnik in the summer, when most are visiting, for a meeting and to pool valuable donations. The funds are collected at festivals in New York, largely those celebrating the feast day of St Blasius, and, of course, at other gatherings where raffles and auctions of paintings are organised. The paintings are donated by prominent painters from Dubrovnik and Croatia as a whole – they are presented with letters of appreciation at the Meetings in of Emigrants in Dubrovnik.

The Meetings of Emigrant Dubrovnians also feature other events, concerts, book promotions and exhibitions – all with the aim of providing emigrants visiting during the summer holidays, besides the numerous events organised in Dubrovnik, those organised by the Croatian Heritage Foundation and that are closely associated with emigrant issues. In this manner our emigrants themselves participate in events that certainly enrich the culture offer in Dubrovnik, demonstrating that there certainly are gifted Croatians living abroad. Croatian talent is particularly valued around the world – besides these summer programmes the Croatian Heritage Foundation works year-round through various activities to preserve the identity of Croatian emigrants by nurturing the mother tongue, exhibitions, music events, book promotions and international cooperation.

Text: Maja Mozara; Photos: Stjepo Kaleb i Vedran Pervan/Dubrovački dnevnik