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Ambassador of Slovakia Ľubomír Rehák presented the newest publication from the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs

Ambassador of Slovakia Ľubomír Rehák presented the newest publication from the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs

29.5.2019 | Aktivity veľvyslancov | Kultúrna diplomacia | Kultúrna prezentácia | Prezentácia Slovenska v zahraničí |

29.05. 2019, London. Ambassador of Slovakia Ľubomír Rehák had a meeting with the Head of European Collections at the British Library, Janet Zmroczek, to whom he presented the newest publication from the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, published by VEDA. The book of texts by Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, „On Peace and Small Nations“, is an ode to political activism and enthusiasm with which Bjørnson fought for political, cultural and social rights of small nations, particularly Slovakia. The publication put together by Ambassador Marianna Oravcová and professor Milan Žitný is now a part of the collection of the British Library - the second largest library in the world.

The book shows that Slovakia values both the literary and political legacy of Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson. Some of the texts have never been published before. It is worth to mention that in this case they are published in 4 different languages, in Slovak, Norwegian, German and English. This makes the book extraordinary, as it gives Bjørnson’s message a global reach. Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson was a key political public figure for Slovak people at the beginning of the 20th Century. As an active and critical member of the peace movement, an influential political thinker and a driven publicist, he knew and understood the circumstances of smaller nations in Europe. He became an important part of the emancipation process of Slovak people prior to 1918 and later in the Czechoslovak Republic after the end of the First World War. 

As highlighted by Ambassador Rehák, Bjørnson was the first, and by the public display of Robert William Seton-Watson, the only one, who has used a plethora of articles to pay close attention to the denial of political and human rights for Slovak people living in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. 

The meeting with the Head of European Collections, Janet Zmroczek, was hence also aimed at the possibility of a joint commemoration of the anniversary of the birth of Robert William Seton-Watson. This British historian and publicist was, similarly to Bjørnson, interested in the history of Slavic nations. He worked as an expert on Central Europe and the Balkans for the UK Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was intensely interested in the national affairs in Austria-Hungary and also focused on the Slovak people. He has established personal connections in Slovakia, he knew Milan Rastislav Štefánik and personally attended his funeral in May of 1919. According to Ambassador Rehák, the fact that the year 2019, which the government of the Slovak Republic has declared to be the year of Milan Rastislav Štefánik, also commemorates the 140th anniversary of the birth of R. W. Seton-Watson, gives us the perfect opportunity to remember these important people, who continue to unite our countries.