From 25 to 27 October Pišece and Brežice hosted participants from the project funded from EU Town Twinning »United in Variety«.

The main applicant was Association for preservation of Mother Tongue, Natural and Cultural heritage Maks Pleteršnik Pišece, and other partners were SPES GMBH, Schlierbach – Austria, Association of Slovenians Triglav Banjaluka – BiH, LAG PRIZAG Novi Marof – Croatia, Association of Slovenians Kula Vršac – Serbia, Municipality of Ruma and Association of Slovenians Emona Ruma – Serbia, Association of Slovenian and Serbian Friendship Zdravica Niš – Serbia and Association for the Development of Voluntary Work Novo mesto – Slovenia. As special guests we had students of supply teaching lessons of Slovenian from Skopje – Macedonia.

On Thursday, 25 October, we gathered in Pišece, the birth place of Slovenian linguist and author of dictionary Maks Pleteršnik. We were first greeted by Martin Dušič, project leader, and Ivan Molan, mayor of municipality of Brežice. Each partner in the project spoke about the place from which they come. Ana Marjanović presented the work of the Association of Slovenians Triglav Banjaluka, and there also performed pupils and students of supply teaching lessons of Slovenian from Banjaluka and Slatina. At the event we could hear Slovenian, English, Serbian, Croatian, German, Macedonian and even French. Members of all associations had done a lot in the past two months and the aim of the meeting was to get to know each other and establish network.

We had more time for the presentation on Friday, 26 October, when we socialised at the Economic and Commercial School in Brežice. We were welcomed by school principal Mojca Tomažin. The cultural programme lasted for entire morning and there also performed the folklore group of the Association Triglav. Hosts, students and pupils of schools in Brežice and Primary School Maks Pleteršnik Pišece, prepared music performance. Among those performing there was also Iva Potkonjak, who attended supply teaching lessons of Slovenian in Banjaluka, and now she attends Grammar School Brežice. Guests presented their cities and associations on the stands, and a workshop was organised to write on blue chairs. My home is also part of Europe was the topic we made creations for at home and now we were able to see photographs, films and art works selected among sent works. They included works of pupils and students of supply teaching lessons from Banjaluka.

After the cultural programme we made a tour of Brežice, each group had its guide and we were taken care of by student Emrah. Very interesting was also a tour of Posavina Museum Brežice, located in the castle. Project United in Variety was organised in the year of European Cultural Heritage and in museums we can actually see how rich our heritage is. Within the project a meeting was organised with European MP Franc Bogovič. There are upcoming elections for the European Parliament and he briefly presented the work of the parliament and his idea of the preservation of life in the countryside. Just as we talk about smart cities, he talks about smart villages. Beside the meeting with Franc Bogovič there was organised a literary meeting with Rudi Mlinar, who is the author of biographical novel on Maks Pleteršnik.

On Saturday, 27 October, it was time for a tour of Pišece, birthplace of Maks Pleteršnik, author of Slovenian and German dictionary. His birth home is a museum now, and we also visited the fortress of Pišece. Final event of the project was organised in Pišece when the certificates were distributed. All partners signed the agreement of cooperation. Such events build bridges among cultures while the importance of EU funded projects for small municipalities is excellent. All of us who can accept differences are aware that they enrich us. The title of the project United in Variety bears such an important message for the future.

Barbara Hanuš


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