19 Slavists Congress 2008The Slovenian Slavist Congress 2008 took place in Celovec/Klagenfurt and Pliberk/Bleiburg. It is the third consecutive SSK taking place on territories outside Slovenia's borders with strong Slovenian minorities.
In 2006 the SSK took place in Zagreb, in 2007 in Trst/Trieste.
In 2008 the theme was "slovenscina med kulturami"/"Slovenian language between cultures". The idea that the annual congress of Slovenian slavists take place in Slovenian territories outside Slovenia's borders came from the innovative Slovenian academic,dr. prof. Miran Hladnik (University of Ljubljana).
In Celovec/Klagenfurt in 2008 the organizers participants and participants agree that the initiative has been productive, supportive of the Slovenian minorities in Croatia, Italy and Austria, and generally functioning as a living connection of the professionals whose role is to keep alive, to develop, to create and to hand on to the succeeding generations the unique language and cultural tradition of Slovenia.
What it meant to Korošci/Slovenian Carynthians was best expressed by the Principal of Slovenian Gymnasium in Celovec, dr.Miha Vrbinc, an education professional, who has dedicated his life to keep Slovenian heritage and language alive in Koroška/Carynthia also by publishing Slovenian course-books for the Austrian context. For him the Congress 2008 was a matter of pride, a personal challenge, and a great experience. It provided an opportunity to connect with fellow slavists in Slovenia and collaborate with them in a common project.
He is also proud of the achievements of Carynthian Slovenes: cooperation and support by the University of Klagenfurt, the Slovenian House in Pliberk, educational secondary institutions that offer the highest standards of education, and have introduced successfully innovative multi/lingual programs. The success of these programs is undeniable, since they draw students not only from Slovenian, but also German and Italian backgrounds.
He is also pleased to provide an opportunity for fellow slavists "to stroll through places, where Slovenes live between Slovenian and German culture. Life in two languages demands an openness of spirit: you can't be closed to the influences of another language, you have sown seed in two fields and both will hopefully grow and blossom into flowers of different colours."
In his opinion bilingualism need not be a disadvantage, but on the contrary a great advantage, provided that one has a sense of pride in one's heritage and language.
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