Slovaks in Calgary had the opportunity to meet His Excellency Vit Koziak, the new Ambassador of the Slovak Republic in Canada, during his first diplomatic visit to Alberta. The Dinner with the Ambassador was organized by Dr. Eva Hadzima, Honorary Consul of the Slovak Republic in Alberta. She traditionally welcomed the Ambassador and his wife Janka with a home-baked bread and salt.
In his speech in the pleasant environment of the Danish club in Calgary, Ambassador Koziak said that relations between Slovakia and Canada are excellent at every level. Cooperation and mutual trade between the two countries are constantly growing. Slovak companies also come to Canada to open their branches. As an example, he mentioned the Slovak company ESET, which employs about 15 Canadians at its Canadian research office in Montreal. Cooperation between universities is also developing, and several Canadian students are also studying at Slovak universities. During his visit he will meet with the management of the University of Calgary as well as the University of Alberta with the aim of further strengthening this cooperation and, if possible, formalizing it by signing agreements with Slovak universities as soon as possible. One of the partners on the Slovak side should be the University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy in Košice. As an example, he said there are already five veterinary clinics in Calgary where doctors who have studied in Košice are working. In Edmonton, the Ambassador will also meet with the Vice Governor of the Province of Alberta, Lois Mitchell, and will negotiate with Invest Alberta on the possibilities for economic cooperation with Slovakia, especially in areas of innovation and new technologies.
Ambassador Koziak said that he wants to work very closely with the Slovak communities in Canada. He expressed an admiration that the Slovaks, who often left their homeland in difficult circumstances, became not only successful in the far away world, but still maintain their Slovak culture and identity and hold a great enhusiasm for Slovakia.
The cultural program featured the folk ensembles Slniečko and Slnečnica with an excellent medley of dances, songs and children's games, and at the end of the program, Ambassador Koziak's daughters sang beautiful Slovak folk songs.
It was a very pleasant evening where all participants had an opportunity to talk with the Ambassador and his family, and Slovaks in Alberta are looking forward to similar meetings in the future.
Text and photos: Paul Carnogursky