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Ambassador to Croatia Visits Pittsburgh
By Marko Pulji | Published  01/18/2007 | News , Community | Unrated
U.S. Ambassador to Croatia Visits Pittsburgh Croatians
Ambassador to Croatia revisits the 'Burgh

By Karen Zapf
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Robert Bradtke, U.S. Ambassador to Croatia

Robert Bradtke, the United States ambassador to Croatia, lived in the Pittsburgh area just a short time.

But he remembers those few years fondly, he said during a recent visit to the Croatian Fraternal Union of America in Wilkins.

"I am a great Pirates fan," said Bradtke, who was back in the area to visit a friend who lives in the Allegheny Valley. "And I was on Mt. Washington for dinner, and the view is breathtaking. Pittsburgh is a great place."

Bradtke, 57, was born in Chicago, and his family moved to Upper St. Clair in 1967 when he was in high school.

He enrolled at South Hills Catholic High School -- now Seton-LaSalle -- in Mt. Lebanon.

After graduating from high school, Bradtke completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. During his undergraduate work, he spent a year in the university's foreign study program in Angers, France.

Bradtke said his time abroad ignited his interest in a career as a foreign service officer. Bradtke, who no longer has family in the Pittsburgh area, joined the foreign service in 1973 and has served overseas in various capacities since that time.

Bradtke was appointed the U.S. ambassador to Croatia last year by President Bush.

He is the fifth U.S. ambassador to the country since 1991, when Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia.

Bradtke said the country has made enormous economic progress in the past 15 years.

The ambassador is working with the leaders of Croatia in an attempt to persuade them to join NATO and the European Union.

"They are very important steps for the future of Croatia," Bradtke said.

Bernard Luketich, 74, of Cokeburg, Washington County, national president of the Croatian Fraternal Union of America, said he appreciated Bradtke's visit, and he wants the ambassador and others to work to encourage leaders in Croatia to expand the democratic system there.


Formated for CROWN by Marko Pulji
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