Sister Cities International 2017 Inaugural Gala

The US Presidential inauguration and transition has been front and center with the news media around the world. As many people are now aware, First Lady Melania Trump is the first Slovenian-born person in that position, and KSKJ Life felt that as the premier Slovenian-American organization in United States, we should be a part of these historic events. On January 16, 2017, KSKJ Life National Board Chair Rudy Krašovec, Vice Chair Philip Hrvatin, and home office executive staff Tony Mravle Jr met with Dr. Božo Cerar, Slovenian Ambassador to the United States, and counselor Borut Žunič at the Slovenian Embassy in Washington D.C. The ambassador was very pleased with the ongoing support provided by KSKJ Life and was very generous with his time. We were grateful for his hospitality and the opportunity to meet with him and his staff.

Slovenian EmbassyWEB

PHOTO: Left to Right Slovenian Embassy Counselor Borut Žunič, Slovenian Ambassador Dr. Božo Cerar, KSKJ Chairman Rudy Krašovec, Jen Mravle, KSKJ home office executive staff Tony Mravle Jr and KSKJ Vice Chairman Phil Hrvatin

The following day I met with Mark Bland, Austria and Slovenia Desk Officer at the U.S. Department of State. This is an executive department that advises the President and leads the country in foreign policy issues. The Department operates the diplomatic missions of the United States abroad and is responsible for implementing the foreign policy of the United States and U.S. diplomacy efforts. Mr. Bland works with both the Slovenian Embassy in Washington and the U.S. Embassy in Ljubljana.

Later that evening, in advance of Inauguration Day, we had the opportunity to attend the 2017 Inaugural Gala held by Sister Cities International, one of the largest NGOs (non-governmental organizations). The event was hosted by Ambassador Cerar in honor of First Lady Melania Trump, and was very well attended by a gathering of diplomats, members of congress, municipal officials, and community and citizen leaders. Founded by Dwight D. Eisenhower, all past Presidents of the United States have served as Honorary Chairpersons of Sister Cities International, and it is expected that President Trump will continue the tradition. KSKJ Life is honored to have supported the Ambassador by serving as a major sponsor of the Gala, which was held in the beautiful Organization of American States building. North Strabane Pennsylvania musicians Frank Valenčič Jr. and his brother Darryl provided button box music at the Sister Cities Gala. We had the pleasure of sitting with Ambassador Cerar and his wife Martina Slok. Martina serves as Minister Counselor at the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Slovenia to the United Nations.

KSKJ Life is proud to continue our relationship with the Ambassador and to have supported him in this event.

Phil Hrvatin

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