27 April 2019 – The Office of the President of the Republic of Croatia has held an Open Day on Saturday on the topic “Croatian – My Language” devoted to those who learn Croatian as a language of their ancestors or as a foreign language which they want to learn.
Speaking of her personal diplomatic experience in the United States and Canada, President Grabar-Kitarović stressed how important it is to preserve the linguistic identity for the strengthening of Croatian communities, especially in the second or third generations, “when the mother tongue is heard only at Sunday Mass or on holiday gatherings, at folklore manifestations with songs and dances that carry words from the Homeland.”
By visiting Croatian emigrants on many continents, from Australia and New Zealand to Chile, Argentina, the United States and Canada, the President said she was convinced of their strong desire to preserve their language and national identity, many of whom have started to slowly forgot the Croatian language.
“In the world of many and different nations, national culture is the fundamental value that makes us not only recognisable, which in the age of globalisation is extremely important, but gives us stability, security and faith in our own potentials, strength, creativity and prospects of progress,” she emphasised.
The president went further to say that she always feels joy when visiting Croatian language teachers abroad, because the language is the code of identity and culture, and the faculties are the foundation of the survival of the Croatian language in these environments.
“Thanks to the Centres of Croatian Language, and above all to Croatian immigrants and their descendants, Croatian language and culture are widening and increasing in time to the future and in space to distant continents. That is why we want to express their support and support with our present meeting,”she added.
“Although we are witnessing a huge increase in emigration from our country, caused by the economic circumstances and consequences of the global crisis, as well as entering the European Union, there are also examples of returnees from emigrants and immigrants from different parts of the world and even Europe. Also, a lot of foreigners want to learn the Croatian language, and among you here and I see many of you who have chosen Croatia as their second homeland, which we particularly welcome,” President Grabar-Kitarović said before thanking everyone for choosing the learn the Croatian language.
Croatian studies graduates took part in the cultural programme during the day. Zhu Guizhi from China recited Croatian poet Josip Pupačić’s ‘More’, Lika Kostova from North Macedona recited Tin Ujević’s ‘Igračka vjetrova’, whilst Maria Florencia Celani from Argentina sung the Croatian national anthem.
In addition to the professors and students of Croatica at the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Zagreb and the Centre for Croatian Studies Abroad at the Faculty of Philosophy in Split, the Open Days were attended by numerous individuals and associations from all over Croatia, including KUD Sv. Roko, representatives of the City Theater Beli Manastir, teachers and children of kindergarten Vrbik, representatives of the Plavi telefon Association, representatives of the Scientific Centre of Excellence for Croatian Glagolitism, Prefect and best students of Bjelovar-Bilogora County, representatives of the Croatian Association of Assistants in Teaching, representatives of Pop Rock School Sisak, representatives of the Croatian Women’s Association of Oroslavje and representatives of the Central State Office for Croats outside the Republic of Croatia.
(Text/Photos: Office of the President)