The organisers of this year’s Croatian Emigrant Congress are the Centre for the Study of the Croatian Diaspora and the Maksimir Centre for Culture and Information. The high sponsors of the event are Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarović and Mayor of Šibenik Željko Burić. Heading the organising committee is Marin Sopta.
The Second Croatian Diaspora Congress, to be staged in the coastal town of Šibenik this year from the 1th through to the 3rd of July, has set its objectives as gathering Croatians in the homeland with the aim of sharing ideas and creating new guidelines on which to build our future and common identity. This very important gathering of Croatians living abroad will be hosted for the first time by Šibenik-Knin County, with its natural beauty and massive tourism industry related and economic potential.
The organisers of this year’s Croatian Diaspora Congress are the Centre for the Study of the Croatian Diaspora and the Maksimir Centre for Culture and Information. The high sponsors of the event are Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarović and Mayor of Šibenik Željko Burić. Heading the organising committee is Marin Sopta who has spearheaded the effort, critical to Croatia’s national interests and the relationship of Croatians living abroad with their ancient homeland, to bring together a gathering of emigrant leaders on this scale. The congress is supported by many of Croatia’s leading institutions, including the directorate for the faithful abroad of the Catholic Church in Croatia, the Croatian Heritage Foundation, the Ivo Pilar Institute of Social Sciences, the Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies, the National and University Library, the Croatian Writers’ Society, the Šibenik International Children’s Festival, the Asia-Pacific Chamber of Commerce, the Croatian Studies Centre of Macquarie University in Australia, The Homeland and Emigrant Community Association, the Klapa Adriaticum Šibenik, the Croatian State Archives, the Catholic University of Croatian and the University of Split’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Mr Sopta notes that the clear success of the first congress, which gathered 180 participants from across three continents, made it imperative that these meetings be held every second year as an open forum at which the Croatian public at large, the professional and academic communities and Croatians living around the world will systematically discuss and propose solutions to the key topics and issues plaguing Croatia and its emigrant communities abroad.
Maintaining links between Croatian historical emigrant communities and Croatia as the ancient home of their predecessors is of exceptional importance in preserving their ethic identity, language and distinct culture among the majority peoples of the neighbouring countries they live in. These Croatian minority communities constitute a pool of lobbyists and a natural bridge between Croatia and its neighbours and deserve particular attention in terms of their preservation, cultural development and vitality and, in particular, their links with Croatia, guaranteed by Croatian law in relation to our compatriots living outside the Croatian national borders.
The experts on the Programme Committee have structured the topical sections of this year’s congress in Šibenik with these guidelines in mind. Over the three days of the congress the participants will discuss the chief difficulties and obstacles plaguing relations between the Croatian emigrant communities and the Croatian political and economic class. Particular attention has been focused on the new political, societal and existential causes of Croatian emigration. The congress will analyse and describe the chief changes in the practices and statuses of Croatian emigrant communities that took place after Croatia regained its independence and the chief changes and difficulties in preserving and strengthening the Croatian ethnic and cultural identity and offer a critical appraisal of the shortfall of various institutions, offices and national services requisite to a developed and responsible national policy towards the Croatian communities abroad. The gathering will discuss the significance and role of the Croatian Catholic missions and Croatian emigrant associations in preserving the national identity and the opportunities, motivations, conditions and difficulties faced in the decision making process among emigrants and their descendants to return/move to Croatia. One of the objectives of the congress will be to inspire a better and more successful communication between the communities abroad and their umbrella coordinating associations and the institutions and other interested parties in Croatian society (political, business sector, culture, science and sports).
This primarily international and academic gathering will be divided into a number of key topical forums – literature and publishing, entrepreneurship, political participation, sports, the work of associations abroad and others, and will also include several round tables on issues currently in the forefront of media and public interest.
Croatian Heritage Foundation
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