2023 Speakers

“Slovakia@30” Lecture Series

There are four scheduled online lectures in the Slovakia@30 series.  Slovakia@30 is a collaborative project of the Slovak American Society of Washington, D.C. (SASW), Friends of Slovakia (FOS), and the Embassy of the Slovak Republic in Washington, D.C., to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Slovak independence. Each online lecture will be given by a distinguished expert on key areas of public life in the Slovak Republic: foreign policy, domestic politics, the economy, and civil society. Although each lecture will be a self-contained presentation, the organizers have designed the four-part series to be an integrated overview of Slovakia’s development over the past 30 years, since the peaceful split of Czechoslovakia on January 1, 1993.

January 18, 2023 – H.E. Radovan Javorčík, Ambassador of the Slovak Republic to the United States (“30 Years of Slovak Foreign Policy”)

February 23, 2023 – Kevin Deegan-Krause, Professor of Political Science, Wayne State University (“30 Years of Slovak Domestic Politics”)

March 16, 2023 – Ivan Mikloš, Chairman, Strategic Advisory Group for Supporting Ukrainian Reforms and former Deputy Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic (“30 Years of the Slovak Economy”)

April 13, 2023 – Zuzana Wienk, Director of Bystriny [Currents], a civil-society organization that helps civic initiatives and active citizens work together to improve their communities (“30 Years of Slovak Civil Society”)


Other Scheduled Speakers

Book Talk: Streetcar Parishes
June 10, 2023 – Robert Zecker, Professor of History, St. Francis Xavier University, Canada. 

In Streetcar Parishes: Slovak Immigrants Build Their Nonlocal Communities, 1890-1945, Robert Zecker examines how a small immigrant group created a community for itself, despite not controlling its own piece of the city (an ethnic ghetto) in which all or nearly all residents shared the same Old Country home. The book examines the case of the Slovaks of Philadelphia, who never had the numbers to dominate any one neighborhood, and were scattered across Philadelphia, with other sub-communities in nearby cities. The Philadelphia community expanded to contain people miles, even states apart, but contracted to exclude from social, worship, and job networks non-Slavs living around the corner.

Community was not geographically defined for many immigrant groups, not just Slovaks. Instead, these groups used creative means to draw widely dispersed people back into an institution-based community centered on churches, social clubs, fraternal societies, and sporting leagues. This non-localized process of community formation was replicated across industrial America, and thus tells us much about the immigrant experience.

SASW Speakers' Series

The SASW Speakers’ Series, which started in 2003, grew out of the occasional SASW-sponsored talks that were held mainly at SASW annual meetings.  At first, the talks were mostly events of opportunity, scheduled to take advantage of speakers who were local or who happened to be in the area and were often scheduled sporadically.  But with the launch of the Speakers’ Series, SASW sought out scholars and other people who are knowledgeable about different aspects of Slovakia and its culture.  What we originally thought would be a somewhat limited pool of speakers has turned out to be a large group of experts who are delighted to have an audience that also shares their interest in Slovakia and their specialties.

Over the years, the assortment of subjects has been broad, from immigration to music, genealogy, politics, literature, architecture, travel, history, and crime novels.  Our range of speakers has also been impressive.  Policy experts, academics, genealogists, folklorists, current and former diplomatic staff, authors, an architect, researchers, and historians have all shared their knowledge and views with us.  Their presentations have given us overviews of their subject field, as well as caught us up on their own research.

We are always eager to hear your suggestions about topics of interest and potential speakers.  If you would like to see a comprehensive list of past speakers, please click this link List of Speakers.

Past Speakers

October 28, 2023
Secrets of the Slovak Language and Culture
Dr. Renáta Kamenárová, University of Pittsburgh

September 30, 2023
Vineyards in Slovakia Through the Ages
Dr. Ján Vingárik, Upper Nitra Museum, Prievidza, Slovakia

June 10, 2023
Streetcar Parishes
Robert Zecker, Professor of History, St. Francis Xavier University, Canada

April 13, 2023
Slovakia@30: 30 Years of Slovak Civil Society
Zuzana Wienk, Director of the Civic Association, Bystriny

March 16, 2023
Slovakia@30: 30 Years of the Slovak Economy
Ivan Mikloš, President of MESA 10 and former Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister of the Slovak Republic

February 23, 2023
Slovakia@30: 30 Years of Slovak Domestic Politics
Dr. Kevin Deegan-Krause, Wayne State University

January 18, 2023
Slovakia@30: 30 Years of Slovak Foreign Policy
H.E. Radovan Javorčík, Ambassador of the Slovak Republic to the United States

November 5, 2022
Argonauts of the Eastern Bloc: Environmentalism in Slovakia after the Velvet Revolution
Prof. Edward Snajdr, John Jay College, CUNY

September 17, 2022
Threads Across Time: Rusyn/Slovak Spinning, Weaving, and Bobbin Lacemaking
Mary Gido

March 5, 2022
Košice’s Influential Communist-Era Subversives
Prof. Marty Manor Mullins, Flathead Valley Community College

October 23, 2021
Seven Slovak Women. Portraits of Courage, Humanism, and Enlightenment
Prof. Josette Baer, University of Zurich (Switzerland)

September 9, 2021
I Am a Brave Bridge: An American Girl’s Hilarious and Heartbreaking Year in the Fledgling Republic of Slovakia
Sarah Hinlicky Wilson

June 10, 2021
Bringing Back Bodrik: A Traditional Solution to a Modern Problem
Robert Glowacky, wildlife filmmaker

May 15, 2021
The New Party Challenge in Slovakia: Understanding and Dealing with Constant Political Change
Prof. Kevin Deegan-Krause, Wayne State University
Prof. Tim Haughton, University of Birmingham (U.K.)

April 17, 2021
The Emperor and the Peasant: Two Men at the Start of the Great War and the End of the Habsburg Empire
Dr. Kenneth Janda, Professor Emeritus, Northwestern University

March 6, 2021
Zelený Nahlas: Environmentalism in Slovakia in the Revolution and After
Prof. Edward Snajdr, CUNY

February 6, 2021
The Great Return: How Reverse Migration Is Transforming Slovakia in the 21st Century
Zuzana Palovič from Global Slovakia

January 12, 2021
The National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library in 2021
Cecilia Rokusek, Stefanie Kohn, and Dave Muhlena from the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library

December 13, 2020
Slovak and Czech Christmas Traditions
Gabriela Bereghazyová and Zuzana Palovič from Global Slovakia

October 31, 2020
Coal Mine Culture – a World of Its Own
John Righetti

October 24, 2020
The Battle of Dukla Pass
Bill Tarkulich

May 4, 2019
Six Events that Made Milan Štefánik a Founding Father of Czecho-Slovakia
Kevin J. McNamara

June 15, 2018
Borders on the Move: A Look at Southern Slovakia’s Tumultuous 20th Century
Professor Leslie M. Waters

May 4, 2018
Remaking Slovakia: The Gentle Revolution and Its Legacies, 1989-2018
Professor James Krapfl

April 21, 2018
Slovakia in 1968: Historical Complexities and Long-term Legacies
Dr. Carol Skalnik Leff

October 21, 2017
Lutheranism in Slovakia: From the Reformation to Samuel Štefan Osusky
Dr. Paul Hinlicky

February 23, 2017
Manufacturing a Socialist Modernity: Housing in Czechoslovakia, 1945-1960 Part 1
Professor Kimberly Zarecor

February 23, 2017
Manufacturing a Socialist Modernity: Housing in Czechoslovakia, 1945-1960 Part 2
Professor Kimberly Zarecor

October 22, 2016
Dreams of a Great Small Nation
Kevin J. McNamara