2018 Slovakia Anniversary Year Celebrations Continue with Events in Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.

Inidividuals named in the caption are together holding the Pittsburgh Agreement document kept in a preservation frame.

Left to Right: Katarina Csefalvayova, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of the Slovak Republic; Lucas Parizek, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic; Peter Kmec, Slovak Ambassador to the U.S., ; Tod Sedgwick, former U.S. Ambassador to Slovakia; Vince Obsitnik, former U.S. Ambassador to Slovakia, display the Pittsburgh Agreement document.

During this special anniversary year of 2018, a number of events have been held, most  recently in Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C., commemorating the historical events of 100  years ago. The major event, a gala reception commemorating the ‘Pittsburgh Agreement’  was held on May 31 in Pittsburgh, at the Heinz History Center. It was organized by the  Slovak and Czech honorary consuls and the embassies of both countries. Nearly 300  attendees and guests heard from local officials and Czech and Slovak government  officials commemorating and interpreting the event that took place 100 years ago in  downtown Pittsburgh. There, Prof. Thomas G. Masaryk met with representatives of the  Slovak-and Czech-American communities to endorse an agreement that Slovaks and Czechs would support the formation of an independent republic following the end of World  War I and the dissolution of the Hapsburg Empire. From this ‘Pittsburgh Agreement’ and a  number of other keys events, the nation of Czecho-Slovakia (or Czechoslovakia)  emerged. The resulting nation experienced both a glorious and torturous path within  Europe throughout the middle of the 20th century (1918-1992). 

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2018 Slovakia Anniversary Year Celebrations Kick Off with Capitol Hill Reception

The Year 2018 is a special anniversary year for Slovakia, with celebrations commemorating the events of 100, 50 and 25 years ago. The Slovak Embassy kicked  off the year’s celebrations with a special reception held in Washington, D.C. on January 19 in the ornate Members’ Room of the Library of Congress on Capitol Hill. The focus of  the reception was on the 25th anniversary of Slovakia’s independence, when it split from the former Czechoslovakia in 1993, and its remarkable achievements in terms of  integration with Europe and transatlantic institutions, as well as strong bilateral relations with the U.S. under the theme, Together for Freedom and Democracy. At the same time the events that led to the formation of Czechoslovakia in 1918 following WWI were commemorated, along with the spirit of freedom and democracy displayed during the ‘Prague Spring’ of 1968.

Slovak Ambassador Peter Kmec led the celebration and spoke of the Slovakia’s struggles and achievements on the road to independence. He acknowledged the support of a number of American individuals and organizations, including Friends of Slovakia, the Slovak fraternal organizations, the Slovak League and many others. Also giving remarks at the event were the co-chairs of the Congressional Slovak Caucus, Rod Blum (R-Iowa) and Peter Visclosky (D-IN). In addition, remarks were provided on
behalf of the U.S. State Department by Matthew A. Palmer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.

Following the event, the publication Diplomatic Connections (Mar-Apr issue) published an excellent interview with Ambassador Kmec that summarized Slovakia’s  achievements in the past 25 years, and also provided some nice photos of the Capitol Hill event. See this link and turn to page 14 for the story.

(https://issuu.com/diplomaticconnections3/docs/marapr2018_issu?e=18128973/58276973)

Also, for other events during this anniversary year check the FOS website, www.friendsofslovakia.org or watch for FOS e-blasts. To get on the list for e-blasts and/or to update your contact information send a note to  information@friendsofslovakia.org .

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