|(E) NFCA November Newsletter
|By Nenad N. Bach |
(E) NFCA November Newsletter
|NATIONAL FEDERATION OF CROATIAN AMERICANS |
1329 CONNECTICUT AVENUE, NW
WASHINGTON, DC 20036
MONTHLY BULLETIN, NOVEMBER 2001
NFCA OFFICIALS MEET WITH THE STATE DEPARTMENT AND ATTEND DINNER WITH
PRESIDENT MESIC AND FOREIGN MINISTER PICULA
On Thursday, November 8, 2001 NFCA President John Kraljic and Executive
Board Member Steven Rukavina met with Paul W. Jones, Director of the
Office of South-Central European Affairs at the US State Department, a
meeting which continues the dialogue the NFCA has maintained for years
with State Department officials. Among the many issues discussed, Mr.
Kraljic and Mr. Rukavina expressed to Mr. Jones their concerns regarding
the status of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina and specifically noted
the need to revise the Dayton Peace Accords to protect the rights of
Croats as a constituent nation of that country. Further, they discussed
the issue of Croatia's potential membership in NATO. Following their
meeting at the State Department, Mr. Kraljic and Mr. Rukavina met with
Kresimir Prisl and Mate Maras of the Croatian Embassy in Washington, DC.
Later that week, on Saturday, November 10, 2001, Mr. Kraljic attended a
dinner with Croatian President Stjepan Mesic and Croatian Foreign
Minister Tonino Picula, both attending the United Nations General
Assembly meeting in New York City. The dinner, organized by Domagoj
Kero, Croatia's General Consul in New York, was attended by, among
others, Croatia's Ambassador to the United States, Ivan Grdesic, and its
Ambassador to the United Nations, Ivan Simonovic. The relatively
intimate dinner, with a total of only about twenty people attending,
allowed Mr. Kraljic and other Croatian-Americans in attendance (among
them Anthony Peraica, NFCA member and Honorary President of the Croatian
American Association) the ability to discuss many issues with Croatian
President and Foreign Minister. Among other things, Mr. Kraljic
presented a list of issues which he felt needed to be addressed by the
Croatian state and government in order to strengthen its ties to the
Croatian-American community. These included requests for the
institution of direct flights between the US and Croatia, the retention
of a public relations/lobbying firm by Croatia, the promotion of the
study of the Croatian language and the establishment of a cultural
center. Both President Mesic and Foreign Minister Picula expressed
interest in further examining these proposals.
The President and Foreign Minister discussed their half-hour meeting
earlier that day with President Bush during which the Croatian President
extended a formal invitation to President Bush to visit Croatia. Mr.
Kraljic, Mr. Peraica and others expressed their concerns regarding many
issues, including Croatia's relationship with the International War
Crimes Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the status of Croats of
Bosnia and Herzegovina.
MEETINGS WITH DR. FRANJO TOPIC, PRESIDENT OF NAPREDAK
Dr. Franjo Topic, President of the Sarajevo-based Croatian cultural
organization Napredak met with NFCA President John Kraljic in New York
City on Saturday, November 10, 2001. During their discussions, Father
Topic described the impressive work Napredak is doing in Bosnia and
Herzegovina. Napredak has chapters throughout the world, including one
in the United States, headed by NFCA member Josip Knezevic. Mr.
Knezevic escorted Father Topic to a number of meetings in New York City.
After meeting with Croatian Fraternal Union officials in Pittsburgh, Dr.
Topic attended the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic
Studies annual meeting outside of Washington, DC where he presented a
paper. During his stay in the Washington, DC area, Father Topic met
with, among others, NFCA member Steven Rukavina.
Those interested in learning more about Napredak or wishing to join the
organization should contact Mr. Knezevic at 718-353-0069.
NFCA PRESIDENT JOHN KRALJIC ATTENDS MEETING IN MONTREAL
At the invitation of the local AMAC Chapter in Montreal, NFCA President
John Kraljic presented a paper concerning the status of Croatian
immigrants in the United States at a meeting held on October 21, 2001.
The paper, which has been republished in a number of installments in the
Croatian-Australian newspaper Hrvatski Vjesnik and appears in English
and Croatian on the AMAC Montreal web page
presents Mr. Kraljic's views concerning the immediate future of the
Croatian immigrant community throughout the world. Among other things,
Mr. Kraljic noted that the relationship between Croatian immigrants and
the Homeland had to date always been, effectively, a one way street and
he urged that the Croatian government must now turn its attention to
addressing the more mundane but important needs of the Croatian-American
and Croatian-Canadian community. Approximately fifty people attended
the meeting, many of whom engaged in a lively discussion concerning the
issues raised following the speech.
The NFCA Business Development Committee continues it work with the US
Chamber of Commerce and on a major Croatian economic development
project. An NFCA delegation of Steve Rukavina, Zvonko Labas, Alenna
Lepetic, Joseph Rukavina, Nensi Fiorenini and Vedran Podolski met with
Mark Van Fleet, Senior International Division Manager at the US Chamber
of Commerce headquarters in early October to discuss a specific project
to assist Croatia's economy. The NFCA, in collaboration with the US
Chamber of Commerce, is actively pursuing financial support from the US
government to fund this three year project.
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