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Embassy of Slovenia Celebrates National Day in Style at the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design

The Embassy of Slovenia held its national day celebration at the inimitable Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in Ramat Gan on Thursday. The celebration commemorated 30 years of Slovenian independence, as well as the upcoming presidency of the Council of the European Union. In honor of the event, a special exhibition, “The Future of Living” was displayed, highlighting innovation, environmentalism, and Israeli-Slovenian cooperation.

The anthems of Slovenia, the European Union, and Israel were played by a band, and then Ambassador Andreja Purkart Martinez welcomed the guests. The ambassador recalled her memories as a law student during when Slovenia gained independence. Noting that Israeli-Slovenian cooperation predates Slovenian independence, Ambassador Martinez highlighted specifically trade, education, science and research, tourism, and innovation and artificial intelligence. She thanked honorary consuls Adi Rosenfeld and Eival Gilady for their dedication to strengthening Israeli-Slovenian relations.

Ambassador Martinez also discussed the significance of Slovenia assuming the European Union presidency for the first time since 2008, noting that while Slovenia joined the EU in 2004, becoming a member had been a goal for Slovenia since independence. Among Slovenia’s focal points as incoming president will be pandemic preparedness, economic recovery, environmentalism, in line with Slovenia’s motto of “green, smart, creative.”

Minister of Regional Cooperation Esawi Frej addressed the audience on behalf of the government of Israel, and offered warm congratulations to Slovenia. Minister Frej pointed out that while geographically the largely desert Israel and green Slovenia are quite different, they have core values in common, like democratic principles of freedom. From sports and culture to academics to trade, the minister listed a wide range of areas where cooperation between the two nations is thriving. In particular, the Port of Koper is a transit hub for Israeli goods to enter the European market. Moreover, Israeli tourism to Slovenia has been on the rise, which the minister noted was not surprising given the natural beauty of Slovenia and its value as a tourist destination. 

Both Ambassador Martinez and Minister Frej highlighted Prime Minister Janez Janša’s visit to Israel last year as important for advancing bilateral relations. Minister Frej expressed his hope that an Israeli embassy in Ljubljana would be opened soon. In closing he thanked Slovenia for its support for Israel during both prosperous and challenging times, and noted the importance for Jewish and Arab Israelis and Palestinians to be able to live in peace and security in the region. 


Professor Sheizaf Rafaeli, the President of Shenkar College, also took the podium to congratulate Slovenia on its national day. Professor Rafaeli addressed the shared interests of creativity and sustainability. He pointed out that as small countries, both Slovenia and Israel aspire for greatness, and the exhibition highlighted the ingenuity and innovation emphasized in Shenkar. Noting that the land Shenkar college is on began as a swamp which was turned into an orange grove, then an IDF headquarter, then a high school, then a textile industry college, and eventually into the current Shenkar College for Engineering and Design, which is now half a century old. Reflecting on his own experiences partnering with Israeli and Slovenian academics, Professor Rafaeli noted the potential for synergy in collaborating to promote creativity, innovation and sustainability.

“The Future of Living” exhibition is composed of sustainable design artwork from Slovenia for lifestyle and leisure, showcasing the need to use local resources and focus on minimalism as a way to ensure continued prosperity into the future. After the speeches, guests were able to enjoy the exhibition at their own pace.

Among the distinguished guests in attendance were Professor Dan Shechtman, Nobel laureate in Chemistry; Minister of Regional Cooperation Esawi Frej, President of Shenkar College Professor Sheizaf Rafaeli, H.E. Mr. Gil Haskel, Chief of State Protocol at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Eyal Sela, Ambassador of Israel to Slovenia; Honorary Consul Adi Rosenfeld, Honorary Consul Eival Gilady, Chairman of the Western Galilee College; Tzachi Braverman, Adi Barouh: Ambassador Yitzhak Eldan, President of the Ambassador’s Club; Members of the UPC organization; Stanley Morais, El Al Acting Director of International Affairs; Eli Hazan Director of International Relations, Likud Party, and many foreign Ambassadors and business leaders.

The Staff of www.diplomacy.co.il  congratulates the government, people, and Embassy of Slovenia on the occasion of their National Day, 30 years of independence, and the upcoming EU Presidency.

 Steven Aiello

 Photos Silvia Golan 

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