FOS Cheers on Team Slovakia at the 2017 First Global Robotics Competition

FOS made an appearance to cheer on our young Team Slovakia at the 2017 international robotics competition hosted by First Global and held at the DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, DC.  The annual competition aims to boost passion and engagement for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math in youth around the world.

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Slovak team member working on robot

Slovak team member working on robot

Members of Team Slovakia

Members of Team Slovakia

Team Ambassador, Stefan Vadocz, of Aeromobil

Team Ambassador, Stefan Vadocz, of Aeromobil

Team Slovak Robot

Team Slovak Robot

Amb. Kmec confers with Team Slovakia

Amb. Kmec confers with Team Slovakia


Lajcak Elected President of the UN Assembly

Miroslav Lacjak at the UNOn May 31, the United Nations General Assembly elected by acclimation Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak of Slovakia as President of its upcoming 72nd session.  Following his election at UN Headquarters in New York, Mr. Lajcak outlined his priorities for his tenure: people; peace and prevention; migration; sustainable development goals; climate action; and human rights, which would guide his work as an overarching principle.

FOS Board members Joe Senko and Sabina Sabados at the Lacjak receptionFriends of Slovakia Board members Joe Senko and Sabrina Sabados were among the guests at a reception given by Frantisek Ruzicka, Permanent Representative of the Slovak Republic to the United Nations, honoring Mr. Lajcak’s election.


2017 Slovak Summer Scholars are Now in Washington

The 2017 Slovak summer scholars are now in Washington!

Friends of Slovakia (FOS) is pleased to announce that we currently have five Slovak scholars studying and interning in Washington, DC this summer through the Fund for American Studies (TFAS). This marks the 14th consecutive year of our scholarship program, which has continued thanks to generous support from a variety of donors. The Slovak America Foundation (SAF) has been sponsoring students since 2012, and this year, we have additional funding from the Slovak American Business and Innovation Council (SABIC). The scholars will remain in Washington through late July.

FOS 2017 Summer Scholars

A special thank you to these supporting organizations and our many generous individual, corporate, and nonprofit donors:

TFAS logo
SAF logo
SABIC logo

This year’s scholars include the following:

FOS Summer Scholar Maria Sofia TakacovaMária Sofia Takáčová (from Košice-Krásna) is completing her Bachelor’s degree in Management at Comenius University in Bratislava. She has worked as an intern at Google (focusing on Digital Garage) and has served as a Client account administrator at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Bratislava. Takáčová is active in the Consulting Club Bratislava, a student organization that helps students develop hard-skills, soft-skills and network required to pass the highest level job interviews. In addition, she has been involved in the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award as a volunteer and a mentor. During her stay in Washington, Takáčová is interning at Mentors, Inc. Her summer scholarship is sponsored by FOS individual donors.

FOS Summer Scholar Matúš ZáhradníkMatúš Záhradník (from Ružomberok) will complete his Master’s degree in Public Policy at Comenius University this August. During his studies, he has been employed as marketing coordinator at Nexteria, an NGO that works with young leaders in business and the non-profit sector. In that role, Záhradník has worked on events and outreach (including social media promotion) and has been responsible for the Leadership Academy program’s hiring campaign. He has also worked with SAF on the Startup Awards. While in Washington, Záhradník is interning at the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative – Hoyas Startup Program. His summer scholarship is sponsored by SAF.

FOS Summer Scholar Jaroslav LeitmannJaroslav Leitmann (from Kľačno, near Prievidza) recently completed his Master’s degree in International Public Policy at University College London. He has worked as a project assistant at the Slovak innovation company Neulogy and as a communications consultant at the Slovak Organization for R&D Activities, where he led an online strategy for a science popularization project. Leitmann has also interned with the European Commission. During his stay in Washington, Leitmann is working at the company TE Connectivity. His summer scholarship is sponsored by SAF.

FOS Summer Scholar Andrea RatkosovaAndrea Ratkošová (from Malý Šariš, near Prešov) is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in International Relations at Masaryk University in Brno, with expected completion in 2018. Her work experience includes corporate partnerships assistant with GLOBSEC and development activities with the Pontis Foundation. She is a Vice President in the Student Section of the International Institute of Political Science at her university. While in Washington, Ratkošová is interning at the Slovak Embassy. Her summer scholarship is sponsored by SABIC.


FOS 2017 Summer Scholar Michaela Halasova

Michaela Halásová (from Bratislava) will earn her Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Amsterdam this autumn. She has worked in the human capital area with the LEAF organization and has also been employed with Venture Investors Corporate Finance and Accenture. Moreover, Halásová participated in McKinsey’s SHE Leads program, EY’s Leadership Academy, and the Turing Society Front End Bootcamp. During her stay in Washington, Halásová is interning at the National Academy of Public Administration. Her summer scholarship is sponsored by SABIC.


For anyone who would like to contribute to funding a scholarship for summer 2018, please see the FOS website. The TFAS programs have proved invaluable to past scholars.


Our values are our strongest survival weapon

President Andrej Kiska speaking at the Global Security Forum 2017

On Friday, President Andrej Kiska held a speech at the annual GLOBSEC Bratislava Global Security Forum:

“It’s been only few hours since I came back from NATO summit in Brussels. This one was highly anticipated. Not surprisingly — it was the first summit of head of states and governments with the participation of the new US president. And let’s be honest, in months since the US elections many of us in this room were worried about what to expect. Fortunately, our transatlantic bond is as strong as ever. We stick together, we guard each other’s back. The Alliance remains the backbone of our security. And moreover, we have a new ally on board — Montenegro.

All 28 member states are determined to fulfill their share of responsibility. This is also important for me personally as the president of the Slovak Republic. Some of you may know that I’ve been very vocal about the half-hearted attitude of our authorities towards our NATO commitments. So I was pleased to announce yesterday in Brussels that the government approved Slovak contribution to securing our allies in the Baltics through so-called enhanced forward presence. Moreover, we will join up fighting terrorism efforts of the Alliance by deploying Slovak troops to Iraq.”

President Kiska spoke on three points:
“First: we struggle lately to maintain institutions of the West — be it NATO or the EU — as fellowship of truly democratic countries based on common values.

Second, we allowed the enemies of the free world to get into our heads, to meddle too much in our own affairs.

Third, we let our elections to be deformed into a survival game of our democratic destiny.”

Read the entire speech on Global Security Forum website:


Pavol Demeš interviews US Ambassador to Slovakia Adam Sterling

Pavol Demeš, host of the World Here & Now talk show and senior non-resident fellow with the German Marshal Fund of the US, interviewed the US Ambassador to Slovakia Adam Sterling.

Interview main topics include:
► U.S. – Slovak Relations and NATO
► U.S. Steel Kosice
► New U.S. Administration
► Tweeting & Social Media by the U.S. Embassy in Bratislava
► U.S. – Russia Relations
► Trump – Putin Meeting
► U.S. President Trump – NATO Summit in Brussels
► Amb. Sterling’s pastimes

Watch the full 25 minute interview (full screen option):

Click below to read more about Ambassador Sterling, the interview, and World Here & Now:

WORLD HERE & NOW: Pavol Demes with Adam Sterling, U.S. Ambassador to Slovakia


Letter from FOS Chairman

Greetings. I am Joe Senko, Chairman of Friends of Slovakia (FOS). Our organization urgently needs your support for the 2016 FOS Slovak Scholars Program and to keep up its rich offering of programs supporting Slovak-American Friendship.

In 2015 we were able to offer five summer scholarships to outstanding Slovak university students to study at the Fund for American Studies Program at George Mason University and to intern with outstanding Washington think tanks and non-profit organizations.

Reception honoring Friends of Slovakia Scholars at the Slovak Embassy in Washington, DC

Reception honoring Friends of Slovakia Scholars at the Slovak Embassy in Washington, DC

FOS also brought a model of the Aeromobil Slovak-manufactured flying car to the US for display at the Smithsonian and onward travel for a US-wide tour.

We partnered with the Center for European Policy Analysis to sponsor an outstanding forum on transatlantic security.

A top Slovak film maker received our support for films on US pilots shot down over Slovakia in WWII and aided by brave Slovak families as well as his new film on Iwo Jima hero SGT Michael Strank who helped raise our flag on Mt. Suribachi.

And we have again co-sponsored the annual Czech and Slovak Freedom lecture at the Woodrow Wilson Center keeping alive the spirit of the Velvet Revolution of 1989.

FOS volunteers can only maintain our flagship Slovak Scholarship program and other important initiatives in 2016 with your support. Thank you for your tax deductible donation!

Joe Senko
Chairman, Friends of Slovakia


Friends of Slovakia Model of Aeromobil Goes on National Tour

Boeing CEO DennisMuilenburg at Smithsonian

Boeing CEO DennisMuilenburg at Smithsonian

A scale model of the Aeromobil flying car, designed and manufactured in Slovakia, has begun a 4-5 year tour of the USA. It is part of a spectacular aerospace exhibit sponsored by the Boeing Corporation entitled “Above and Beyond” currently at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum on the Mall in Washington, DC until January 3, 2016. The model was brought to the United States by Friends of Slovakia and is on loan to the exhibit.


Summer 2016 scholarship opportunity available to Slovak students in Washington, DC

Thanks to generous support from several key donors, the Friends of Slovakia is able to once again offer scholarships for Slovak students at the Fund for American Studies summer program in June-July 2016. The program involves coursework, as well as an internship, giving participants practical work experience in an English-speaking environment. For more information on the program download the 2016 FOS scholarship letter [pdf 100kB].

Slovak students who have participated in the past have found the program personally and professionally rewarding (for stories of past program participants see a brochure Summer in Washington, DC [pdf 2MB].)


FOS Slovak Scholars Successfully Complete 2015 TFAS Summer Institute

By Ken Bombara

Friends of Slovakia and the Slovak Embassy honored the 2015 FOS Slovak Scholars with a well-attended reception at the Embassy on July 22.  The reception was co-hosted by Ambassador Peter Kmec and FOS Board Chairman, Joseph Senko, who made remarks honoring the students and scholarship donors.  Also attending the reception were U.S. Ambassador Theodore ‘Tod’ Sedgwick, who had just returned to the U.S. after completing his successful term in Bratislava, as well as TFAS President Roger Ream, FOS Founding Chairman, Ambassador Ted Russell, and Slovak-American Foundation Chairman, Mary McPherson.

The five scholars completed The Fund for American Studies (TFAS) Summer Institute held at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia.  They joined students from throughout the United States and a number of foreign countries in attending one of the several programs offered through the Institute. The programs offer seminars and lectures by top professors, and the scholars also benefit from the experience gained by interning with businesses, government and non-profit organizations.  The scholars return to Europe with insight into American concepts of liberal democracy, entrepreneurship, and American culture.  They become part of a growing network of past FOS Scholars who build successful careers, collaborate with other Slovak professionals to contribute to building Slovakia’s economy and civil society, and support FOS’s mission to strengthen the U.S.-Slovak relationship.

Congratulations to the 2015 Slovak Scholars!

Tomas Sakal is from Bratislava, and attends Masaryk University in Brno, Czech republic.  He participated in TFAS’s Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems and interned with the Short Line and Regional Railroad Association.

Lucia Cerchlanova is from the small town of Skalice (near Cadca), and attends Northeastern State University in Oklahoma.  She also participated in the Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems.  Her internship was with The Business-Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC).

Monika Soltesova is from Michalovce and is attending the University of Economics in Bratislava.  She attended TFAs’s Institute on Economics and International Affairs and interned with the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA).

Juraj Hostak is from Bratislava and is attending a master’s program at Maastricht University in the Netherlands.  He attended the Institute on Economics and International Affairs and interned with the Office of U.S. Congressman John Mica.  He also arranged for the scholars to meet with Rep. Mica at the U.S. Capitol.

Lukas Prvy resides in Zurich but was born in Slovakia.  He recently earned a Master’s Degree at the University of Amsterdam. Lukas participated in the Institute on Business and Government Affairs and interned with the Embassy of the Slovak Republic.

FOS extends its sincere thanks to the scholarship donors: Amb. Sedgwick; FOS Board member Richard Marko; the Slovak-American Foundation, which sponsored two scholars; and the many individual FOS supporters who contributed to the scholarship fund. Special thanks also to FOS Board member Scott Thayer, and his wife Nena, who held a reception at their lovely home in Bethesda, MD on June 21 to welcome the scholars to Washington.


“Russian propaganda is also in Slovakia.” — Theodore Sedgwick

Leaving US Ambassador to Slovakia Theodore Sedgwick was a guest to the CD Club hosted by Pavol Demes, which is broadcast by internet television The ambassador considers the five-year mission the peak of his career. When talking about the Roma issues, Sedgwick compares it with historical experience of the US with integration of the Afro-American community. It is important to focus on education of the Rom…a since if you offer them opportunity, they will use it, according to the ambassador. Regarding corruption, Slovakia has done many positive changes to fight it, but there is still much room for improvement. This concerns mostly judiciary, Sedgwick said. He also commented on the increasing trend of anti-Americanism in regard of the situation in Ukraine. Russia has violated the international law with its treatment of Ukraine, Sedgwick said, adding that many Slovaks believe Russian propaganda which is spreading across the country.