Slovenia is a country in Eastern Europe that occupies an area slightly smaller than the state of New Jersey. Bordered by Italy, Austria, Croatia and Hungary, Slovenia was originally settled by Celts and Illyrians. Slavic settlements sprang up in the area around 500 AD, unifying under a common language and customs. Slovenia was ruled by the Holy Roman Empire, before becoming part of the Habsburg Empire from the 14th century until 1918. At that time, Slovenia joined with other Slavic states to form the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes as part of the peace process following World War I. In 1929, it was renamed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and governed by a Serbian monarchy. During World War II, Yugoslavia was occupied by Axis troops. Following the war, Josip Tito assumed the leadership of communist Yugoslavia and ruled until his death in 1980. In 1989, Slovenia seceded from Yugoslavia, and fought a relatively bloodless but ultimately victorious 10-day war for its independence, which became official in 1991. Since then, Slovenia has pursed a path of openness with the United States and the rest of Europe, joining NATO and the European Union in 2004, and participating in World Trade Organization activities, as well as peacekeeping missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo and elsewhere. Slovenia also adopted the Euro as its currency on January 1, 2007.
Lay of the Land: Slovenia occupies an area slightly smaller than the state of New Jersey. Its capital is Ljubljana, and the country’s terrain is mountainous in the north, with wide plateaus in the southeast and a region of limestone caves near the Adriatic Coast.
Slovenia’s history dates to ancient times, when Celts and Illyrians inhabited present-day Slovenia. In the 1st century, the Roman Empire established its rule over this territory, after 200 years of fighting with local tribes.
Slovenians arrived early in the New World. In 1680, a Jesuit priest by the name of Ivan Ratkaj set foot on America’s shores, and was followed seven years later by Mark Anton Kappus, a man respected for his work as a writer, missionary, and explorer.
Famous Slovenian Americans:
The US imported a total of $387.1 million worth of goods from Slovenia in 2009, and exported $241.2 million, translating into a trade deficit of $145.9 million for the US. This is considerably lower than the year before, when US imports totaled $466.5 million and exports $309.6 million.
Case backlogs in Slovenian courts have sometimes resulted in lengthy delays in trials, according to the State Department. The judicial system was overburdened and lacked administrative support, and as a result, the judicial process frequently was protracted. In many cases during the year, criminal trials lasted from two to five years. According to the State Department, “some claimants have complained of a general lack of transparency, bias, and potential conflicts of interest on the part of adjudicators, and procedures that were inconsistent with the law.” An effort to initiate a program for the restitution of Jewish communal property has encountered a number of delays.
Note: The United States recognized the independence of Slovenia Apr 7, 1992, and established diplomatic relations with it Aug 6, 1992. Embassy Ljubljana was opened Aug 25, 1992, with E. Allan Wendt as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim.
Roman Kirn was born in Trbovlje, Slovenia, on February 23, 1952. He has a BA in International Relations from the University of Ljubljana and speaks English, French, Czech, and Serbian-Croatian. Kirn started out at the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Yugoslavia in 1977, when Slovenia was still a part of Yugoslavia. He later returned to Slovenia in 1987 and worked at the Committee on Foreign Affairs of Slovenia, where he was in charge of regional cooperation. In 1991 Slovenia gained its independence, and Kirn was appointed as one of the directors in the Multilateral Relations Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From 1992-1996 he served at the Minister Counselor at the Embassy of Slovenia in Prague, Czech Republic.
Brad Freden assumed the position of deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassy in Slovenia in August 2008 and was also designated chargé d’affaires shortly thereafter. Originally from California, he graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, with a degree in International Politics, and earned a master’s degree in International Relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.