30 Year Celebration
On Sunday July 6, approximately 250 people celebrated at the Croatian Canadian Cultural Centre: the occasion was the 30 year anniversary of the opening of the Centre. Present among the guests were Mayor Naheed Nenshi, his office manager, Ms. Franca Gualteri; The Hon. Jason Kenney, and the Croatian Ambassador Veseljko Grubisic. The three dignitaries all gave very spirited messages of congratulations to the Croatian community that had developed and sustained the Centre for 30 years, making it very much a part of the Calgary community.
Dr. Mary Valentich spoke to the meaning of the Centre as a focal point for people of Croatian background and also, a free venue for many non-Croatian groups. She noted the very diverse range of activities people could enjoy in the Centre, especially identifying its importance as a focal point for the preservation of Croatian culture. The latter was very evident in the dazzling display of Croatian artifacts in the Red Room where an open house occurred after the formal program.
The various dance and singing groups of the Croatian Heritage Society performed with enthusiasm, skill and talent, delighting the guests, who appreciated that the future of the Centre and its mission depends very much on its youth.
As always, the food prepared by Ms. Daniella Toma and her staff was outstanding and generous. Ms. Maria Barkovic, with grace and discipline, kept the program flowing as host, and Mr. Davor Krivacic, Jr. was his usual busy self, keeping various systems functional. He and Mr.Luka Niksic also provided the audience with a pictorial history of the Centre that will remain as a record of activities over the past years.
Mr.Rade Serdarevic, President and Mr. Tony Kranjcevic, Vice President, representing the Board and the many volunteers who contributed greatly to the day provided inspiration to all about the nature of the Centre and what was important to all of us who want to preserve our heritage and contribute not only to the daily lives of Croatians within Calgary, but all Calgarians who seek to live in harmony and to enjoy what a peaceful, multicultural community offers all its citizens.
Mary Valentich, PhD, RSW
ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY MR. VESELKO GRUBIŠIĆ,
AMBASSADOR OF THE REPUBLIC OF CROATIA TO CANADA
ON THE OCCASSION OF THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE
CROATIAN CANADIAN CULTURAL CENTRE IN CALGARY
JULY 6, 2014
Honorable Minister Kenney,
Your Worship Mayor Nenshi
Dear members of the bord of the Croatian Canadian Cultural Centre,
Dear Croatians and friends of Croatia in Canada,
Ladies and Gentlemen, dear friends,
Allow me to begin by saluting our host, Mr. Rade Serdarević, President of the Croatian Canadian Cultural Centre in Calgary and thank him for his warm hospitality.
I would also like to thank the Honorable Minister Kenney for his kind words addressed to me and my predecessor. He is a true friend of Croatia. The same goes for the Honorable Minister Lynne Yelich, who sends her regards and regrets that she could not join this celebration. However, you will be glad to hear that the only reason she is not here with us tonight is because she had to travel to Croatia to represent the Government of Canada at the Croatia Forum.
Before I continue, allow me to say a few words in Croatian.
Drage Hrvatice i Hrvati, dragi prijatelji,
Hvala Vam što ste me pozvali da zajedno proslavimo tridesetu obljetnicu Hrvatsko kanadskog kulturnog centra u Calgariju. Kao veleposlanik Republike Hrvatske u Kanadi dijelim Vaš ponos fantastičnim uspjehom ovoga Centra koji je postao srcem kulturnih i društvenih okupljanja hrvatske zajednice u ovom dijelu Kanade. Znam da korijeni vase zajednice sežu puno dalje u prošlost i vezani su uz tradicije i vrijednosti HSS-a, za kojeg me vežu i posebne obiteljske veze jer su moja oba djeda bili HSS-ovi ponosni članovi.
Osobno mi je uvijek veliko zadovoljstvo provesti večer u okrilju Zajednice. Bit će vam drago čuti da to nije samo moje zapažanje. Svaki hrvatski konzul koji je do sada imao prilike posjetiti Calgary i održati konzularne dane u ovom Centru, vratio se u Ottawu oduševljen profesionalnošću i srdačnošću osoblja i uprave Centra. Vaš Centar treba biti primjer svim drugim hrvatskim zajednicama u Kanadi.
Dear Croatians in Canada, dear friends of Croatia in Canada,
I would like to thank you for inviting me to celebrate together this important anniversary. The Croatian Canadian Cultural Centre has become a beacon of Croatian cultural and social life of this exceptional Community and beyond. As I have often emphasized, strong and vibrant communities such as yours remain the most durable link between Croatia and Canada. Croatian Government understands the importance of these ties and it has taken steps to strengthen them. For example, last year we witnessed the establishment of the Council of Croats from Abroad, which is an advisory body to the Croatian Government, which also has a special Agency devoted to deepening ties with the Croats overseas. Among the members of the Council are three excellent individuals form Canada who received recommendations from many Croatian organizations of Western Canada.
The Embassy of Croatia to Canada remains dedicated to promoting every effort that could deepen those ties. Croatian membership in the EU, of which we just marked the 1st anniversary, is gradually opening many new doors. For instance, the entry into force of the recently agreed Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between EU and Canada will undoubtedly offer further economic opportunities. We should all be ready to profit from this historical Agreement, primarily in terms of increasing our trade and investment. This is why I am inviting each and every one of your to look into these opportunities. The Embassy will always be ready to assist you with the realization of sound business projects and ideas.
Finally, let me say that, as Ambassador of the Republic of Croatia to Canada, I am proud of your success and of the stellar reputation that the Croatians enjoy in Canada. I would like to use this opportunity to thank all of you who, for decades, have selflessly invested your time and energy, your talents, your social capital, and often your wealth, to promote the interests of the Republic of Croatia in Canada. I need to look no further that this Hall – knowing that all of you were personally standing up for Croatia in its darkest hours.
Thank you for that, it will not be forgotten.
Before I switch again to Croatian, let me emphasize that bilateral relation between Croatia and Canada are excellent. We are now allies.
Drage Hrvatice i Hrvati, među vama se i u Kanadi osjećam kao doma. Poznato vam je da sam i ja nekada bio iseljenik u Australiji. Kad sam se otisnuo u škole i put svijeta bijeloga, moj mi je otac kazao; Sine budeš li radio kao do sada, budeš li usmjeren prema hrvatskoj slobodi ti ćeš neko veliko mjesto zauzeti. Kada ga zauzmeš nikada nemoj zaboraviti maloga hrvatskoga čovjeka. Odi među hrvatske ljude! Mali hrvatski čovjek je uvijek spreman položiti život za Hrvatsku. Kaže mi: “Kad se budeš vozio cestom i kada na polju ugledaš hrvatskog ratara kako ore, zastani kraj njega, stisni mu žuljavu ruku ona te nikada neće iznevjeriti! Izuj postole, ugazi bosonog u svježu brazdu hrvatske oranice ona će ti srce grijati i na kraju svijeta. Kao dječak, gledao sam iseljavanje svojih susjeda, baš kao da gledam selidbu mnogih od vas. Jedna mi se selidba urezala u pamćenje. Prateći sina, jedna je majka stala na vidikovcu. Kada je on malo odmaknuo ispružila je ruku i suzama natopljenim glasom prozborila: “Pođi zbogom drago dite moje, ne ostavljaj svete vire soje, ne zaniječi doma svoga nit naroda svojeg hrvatskoga!
Srećom, nije više tako, Hrvatska je danas realnost i svi je trebamo prihvatiti. Znadete li da je 9 članica Europske unije manje od Hrvatske. To su: Malta, Cipar, Luxembourg, Slovenija, Belgija, Nizozemska, Danska, Slovačka i Estonija. Još je nismo uspjeli izgraditi kako smo željeli. Teška nam je ekonomska situacija, ljudi nam ponovno odlaze. Fali nam i znanja i vještina, puno je tereta prošlosti na našim plećima. Ali ova Hrvatska će ostati i bit će uspješna. Molim vas nemojmo joj nalaziti samo mane, govorimo o njoj s pijetetom, nemamo neku drugu rezervnu Hrvatsku. Tako smo je dugo čekali. Vlade će se mijenjati, a Hrvatska će ostati. Samo snažna i prosperitetna Hrvatska, danas članica i NATO-a i Europske unije može pomoći i Hrvatima u Bosni i Hercegovini. Ostajte mi u dobrom zdravlju, veselite te se zajedno kad god možete i neka vas Bog blagoslovi!
Thank you for your attention!
May God bless Croatia, May God Bless Canada!