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 »  Home  »  Human Rights  »  Mark Begich US senator presented with the Croatian American Bar Association’s 2013 Vinodol Code Award
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Mark Begich US senator presented with the Croatian American Bar Association’s 2013 Vinodol Code Award
By Nenad N. Bach and Darko Žubrinić | Published  07/6/2014 | Human Rights , Croatians in B&H , Politics , People , Education | Unrated
Senator Mark Begich is of Croatian decent - his grandfather John Begic emigrated from a Croatian village to the U.S. in 1911

Mr. Mark Begich, US senator of Croatian descent, representing Alaska

Begich Minute: Teacher Appreciation Day

From left to right: Marko Zoretic, Founder of Croatian American Bar Association; Zvonko Labas, Executive Vice President of National Federation of Croatian Americans Cultural Foundation; United States Senator Mark Begich, 2013 Vinodol Code Award Honoree; Mauro Viskovic, President of Croatian American Bar Association; Josko Paro, Ambassador of the Republic of Croatia to the United States of America.

Senator Mark Begich Presented with the Croatian American Bar Association’s 2013 Vinodol Code Award

May 20, 2014

The initial of Croatian Glagolitic letter V in the Vinodol code 1288. See the last photo on this web page.At the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C., on May 20, 2014, the Croatian American Bar Association presented the 2013 Vinodol Code Award to U.S. Senator Mark Begich, in recognition of his distinguished public service career and vigilant attention to international matters affecting the worldwide Croatian community, as specifically exemplified by his insight on matters affecting economic and political progress in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and for his introduction of Senate Resolution 131 on May 8, 2013 in the Senate.

The comprehensive text of Senate Resolution 131 – after prolonged debate and ineffective action on Balkans progress in Washington and internationally – 2 pointedly recommended that there be a Presidential Special Envoy designated for the Balkans to  evaluate the successes and shortcomings of the implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords in Bosnia and Herzegovina, to provide policy recommendations, and to report back to Congress. The intentions of the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords were lofty, and certain success has been achieved because of the Accords’ important contribution towards ending the Bosnian homeland war. However, a political stalemate has been reached in BiH that directly affects the economic benefit of BiH’s three constitutive peoples and, potentially, the future political success of this new nation-state. In addition, the treatment and condition of Bosnian Croats has dramatically deteriorated over time and a domestic path forward in BiH for their political and economic welfare is not easily seen in the midst of this ‘frozen conflict’. Senator Begich’s Resolution provided an impressively thorough outline of these problems and needed solutions for the persistent roadblocks in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Senator Mark Begich is in his sixth year representing the State of Alaska in the U.S. Senate, where his primary focus is building a strong Alaska economy. He chairs two subcommittees – on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard and on Emergency Management. He also serves on the Appropriations, Commerce, Homeland Security, Veterans and Indian Affairs committees. As chairman of the Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee, Senator Begich holds the Number Five position in the leadership for the Senate majority.

Senator Begich was elected to the Senate in 2008 after serving as mayor of Anchorage, Alaska's largest city, for nearly six years. As mayor, he worked to capitalize on Anchorage's geographic proximity to Asia and Europe, meeting with scores of international leaders. As senator, he has traveled to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Croatia and Israel and has met with numerous international leaders including Croatian President Ivo Josipovic.

Senator Begich is of Croatian decent - his grandfather John Begic emigrated from the Croatian village of Podlapaca (region of Lika) to the U.S. in 1911, eventually settling in Minnesota's Iron Range region. A businessman since age 14, Senator Begich was born and raised in Anchorage. He is married to businesswoman Deborah Bonito and they have an 11-year-old son, Jacob.

The Croatian American Bar Association is honored to present Senator Mark Begich with the 2013 Vinodol Code Award. We wish Senator Begich continued success in his public service career.

About the Croatian American Bar Association (CABA)

The CABA is an association of Croatian-American lawyers and Croatian lawyers from around the world. For more information, please visit The CABA established the Vinodol Code Award to recognize persons of Croatian descent who have excelled in the practice of law and/or made an outstanding contribution to the law or legal scholarship. The award is named after the Vinodol Code (Vinodolski Zakon) written in 1288 — the oldest legal text in Croatian and written in Glagolitic letters.

Past recipients of the Vinodol Code Award


Vinodol Code from 1288, the earliest known law written in Croatian language, and one of the most important early Croatian legal documents.
It was written in Croatian Glaglagolitic Script, preserved in its transcription from the 16th century.
The original is kept in the National and University Library in Zagreb. It was written more than two hundred years before the discovery of America.
As we see, Croatian Glagolitic Script is totally different from Latin, Cyrillic and Hebrew Scripts.
In the first row, under three consecutive tildas, one can see the letters called ČRV, SLOVO, ON and less visible OT after them,
which in this case have the meaning of numbers 1000, 200, 80 and 8, that is, the meaning is the year 1288.

The first two lines are: In the Name of God, Amen. In the year of Our Lord 1288, first year of the indiction, the sixth day of the month of January.

Reading the Vinodol Code, for those who know Croatian and the Glagolitic Script.

Vinodol Code, 1288

One of the earliest and most important Croatian legal documents is The Vinodol Code, very different from the Roman law, written in the Glagolitic alphabet in 1288. It also introduced the institution of witnesses. It was unique in Europe by determining moral protection and integrity of women. The Vinodol Code does not allow torture during legal proceedings, and is considered to be one of the most important documents of medieval Europe. Among the Slav Codes only the Rus' Code "Pravda" is slightly older (1282).

The first Croatian edition of the Vinodol Code was published in Zagreb in 1843. Two of its Russian translations with comments were issued soon after: in Moscow in 1846 and in St. Petersburg in 1878. A translation of the Vinodol Code into Polish appeared in 1856 and into French in 1896 (Jules Preux: La Loi du Vinodol traduite et annotée // Nouv. rev. hist. du droit français et étranger. - 1896).

Vinodolski zakon 1288, scrollable book, National and University Library, Zagreb

The Statute of Vinodol from 1288, British Croatian Review No. 14, May 1978, in English, with commentaries (Ante Cuvalo web site)


Above Paul Draženović, pioneer and gold miner born in 1891 in Croatia, the region of Lika (as Mr. Mark Begich's grandfather). He came to Alaska in 1911. During many rough and arduous years he accumulated several smaller gold mines. From 1967 he was spending his remaining years in a Pioneer's Home.

Source Mr. Vladimir Novak

Brothers of Mark Begich: Dr. Nick Begich and Tom Begich

Formated for CROWN by Darko Žubrinić
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