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Slovenian consulate opens in Roseville
The first Slovenian consulate in Minnesota opened its doors with a celebration at the home of Miro and Karen Medved on Monday, May 20.
Dozens of people showed up for the event where Miro Medved was officially named Honorary Consul of the Republic of Slovenia by visiting Ambassador Roman Kirn.
Roseville Mayor Dan Roe was also in attendance as was Heartland Restaurant owner and executive chef Lenny Russo, who described the country as “being immensely beautiful and full of beautiful, stylish and sophisticated people.”
The event featured live Slovenian music performed by John Stark as well as by Roseville Area High School’s choral group Good Pellas, who performed the U.S. and Slovenian National Anthems as well as Medved’s favorite Slovenian folksong — “N’mav ez Izaro — which left a few in the home a little teary eyed.
A new nation with ties to Minnesota
Slovenia, a country about the size of New Jersey, gained its independence in 1991 from communist controlled Yugoslavia. Today, Medved said Slovenia is thriving; it is well situated in Europe as a crossroads between Western and Eastern Europe. Economic development is booming and 15 percent of its adult population has a college degree — a number that is on the rise — the newly appointed Consul said.
Medved said it was time to establish a consulate in Minnesota, where he said around 30,000 people of Slovenian descent reside.
“It’s in Roseville because it’s a nice community to have a consulate and it’s where I live,” he said.
Medved said many Slovenians who immigrated to Minnesota first settled on the Iron Range, where there are still several families, but more recently have largely moved into the Twin Cities metro, so having the consulate in Roseville makes perfect sense.
Medveds’ main job as consul is to act as a sort of public relations coordinator for Slovenia and to focus on developing economic and cultural relations between Slovenia and Minnesota.
Additionally, he will provide assistance to any Slovenian in the state who needs help with obtaining things like a passport or a visa.
“I’ll be focusing on getting Slovenia known here and will also be working to let the business community know about opportunities in Slovenia,” Medved said.
Ambassador Kirn first visited Minnesota in 2011; it was then that he first discussed the possibility of opening a consulate in Minnesota with Medved and U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, who is of Slovenian descent.
“Minnesota is economically successful and is very diverse with its ethnic composition and presents strong bonds with Slovenians,” the Ambassador said. “When you have such a network of such good people it’s worthwhile to expand on that. That is why we opened a consulate here.”
Yul Yost, a Slovenian-American, who lives in Roseville, echoed Kirn’s remarks. He said he wanted to forge a network of Slovenians together living in Minnesota, so he and others organized the group Twin Cities Slovenians ten years ago. The group’s goal is “to honor Slovenian heritage interest through the sharing of fellowship, culture, history, music, language, literature and genealogy activities.”
“Having a Slovenian Consulate here puts Roseville on the map,” he said.
In addition to visiting the opening of Minnesota’s first Slovenian Consulate, Kirn visited Ecolab and the Carlson Group and met with St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman before returning to Washington D.C.
He said during his next visit he would like to visit northern Minnesota if he has the time.
The Consulate of the Republic of Slovenia is located in the home of Miro and Karen Medved at 940 Orchard Lane in Roseville.
Joshua Nielsen can be reached at email@example.com or 651-748-7824.