Slovenia’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Božo Cerar?
Career diplomat Božo Cerar presented his credentials as Slovenia’s ambassador to the United States on September 17, 2013. Washington is the fourth ambassadorial post for Cerar.
Cerar was born October 16, 1949. He graduated with a degree in law from the University of Ljubljana in 1973 in what was then Yugoslavia. The following year Cerar joined the Yugoslav foreign service as a trainee and began to work his way up the ladder. His first overseas posting was in 1977 in Sydney, Australia, as vice consul. Cerar served there until 1981, when he was named secretary for the Slovenian Trade Union Committee for International Cooperation. In 1985, Cerar was posted to Athens, Greece, as first secretary in the Yugoslav embassy.
Cerar returned to Belgrade and in 1990 was named the foreign ministry’s head of department for Western Europe.
Yugoslavia was crumbling at that time and in 1991, Cerar declared his allegiance to the new Republic of Slovenia. During the fighting that was going on, he worked to get Slovenia’s message out to foreign officials and news agencies. Cerar then coordinated the activities of European Union peacekeeping troops with the Slovenian government. Later that year, he was named the Slovenian foreign ministry’s head of department for Europe and North America.
In 1992, Cerar was sent to London as chargé d’affaires, a post he held until 1996. He then returned to Slovenia as the state undersecretary and head of the office of the minister of foreign affairs. The following year, Cerar was given his first posting as ambassador, representing Slovenia in Canada.
Cerar stayed in Ottawa until 2001, when he came home to be the foreign ministry’s head of department for multilateral relations, and the following year, head of department for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), holding that post until 2003.
In 2004, Cerar was named ambassador to Poland. He served in that position only a short time before returning to Slovenia in 2005 to be state secretary, or deputy minister, in the foreign ministry. In 2007, Cerar became Slovenia’s representative to NATO. He returned to Ljubljana to serve again as state secretary in the foreign ministry in 2012.
Cerar took time to further his studies during his career, earning a Master’s in diplomatic studies from Westminster University in London in 1993 and a Ph.D. in international law from the University of Ljubljana in 1997.
Since coming to Washington, Cerar has been active in the Slovenian-American community, including a stint as a judge of a polka contest at the National Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame in Cleveland. Cerar speaks English, Russian, Polish, Croatian, Greek and French. He’s married and has three children.
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