On Thursday, 8 November 2018, Slovenian language course was initiated at the Faculty of Philology in Banjaluka. At the beginning, we were welcomed by dean of the Faculty of Philology professor Petar Penda, PhD.

He spoke about the importance of the Slovenian language course allowing students of Banja Luka University to have a selection of languages to learn. On behalf of the Republic of Slovenia we were greeted by Ambassador of Slovenia in BiH Zorica Bukinac, who emphasised that a language is not only a means of communicating but also something that identifies population. She quoted the thought by Vuk Stefanović Karadžić that spirituality of the people is in their language.

In his introductory speech the dean of Faculty of Philosophy of the University in Ljubljana professor Roman Kuhar, PhD underlined the importance of the language. Languages build bridges between cultures, knowledge allows us to enter culture and society. In Europe, where we destroy nowadays far too much, building bridges is extremely important. This is already 61st Slovenian language course at a university and each of them builds bridges between cultures, contributing to expanding Slovenian language and culture and academic exchanges. At the opening, beside the head of the Consular Office of Republic of Slovenia Marjan Ristič, there were present representatives of Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republika Srpska, representative of Centre for Slovenian as second/foreign language of the University in Ljubljana Damjan Huber, members of Association of Slovenians Triglav and students.

Opening of the Slovenian language course at the University has both symbolic and practical importance. Slovenian community is rather active in Banjaluka, Association of Slovenians Triglav gathers more than 1000 members, while the preservation of language and culture is one of the most important tasks of the Association. In addition to supply teaching lessons of Slovenian language and culture, gathering students of all generations, now the possibility of education will be ensured at the university level. Hence, with the support of professor Biljana Babić, PhD, teaching at the Faculty of Philology and Faculty of Philosophy, the long-term wish came true. Signing of the contract was supported by Slovenian Embassy and cooperation of the Centre for Slovenian as second/foreign language of the University in Ljubljana. Part of the Centre is the programme Slovenian Language at Foreign Universities whose aim is to establish quality studies of Slovenian and encourage research work and interuniversity cooperation.

Pavel Ocepek, MSc will teach in Banjaluka. He will surely encourage students to learn and research Slovenian. There are a lot of interested students, 37 were enrolled. Before the entrance to the hall there were exhibited selected works of Slovenian literature from the collection of National and University Library of the Republika Srpska.

Barbara Hanuš