Americas

USA Embassies are Staying Very Active in the Balkan States

In June, USA Embassies prepared many interesting events in the field of Cultural Diplomacy in the ex-Yugoslavian countries

June 26th, 2017
Hélène Meyer, CD News
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In honour of World Refugee Day, the U.S. Embassy in Ljubljana along with the organization of Slovenian Philanthropy announced that a new project will be funded by the United States’ Julia Taft Fund for Refugees. The main goal of the program is to contribute to the improvement of the psychosocial wellbeing of refugees and asylum-seeking parents with children, and enhance their social integration in society. 

 

The one-time grant will provide critical start-up funds to develop a community center to assist refugees. The project will be implemented by the organisation of Slovenian Philanthropy.  Over the next ten months the project will finance capital improvements, program development, and initial services. The project will do this by providing community-based services and improve the network of those who help monitor the rights of vulnerable communities.  The Julia Taft Fund for Refugees is an initiative by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration to respond to critical unmet needs of refugees. Created in 2000, the Julia Taft Fund for Refugees supports small-scale, local-level projects that fill gaps in refugee service not already being addressed by other organizations. This is the first Julia Taft Fund for Refugees project to be implemented in Slovenia.

On the June 14th, U.S. Ambassador in Serbia Kyle Scott honourably opened a Day-care Center for persons with mental and physical disabilities in the Serbian town of Pirot. Ambassador Scott met with the Mayor of Pirot and also with other city officials, who joined the event. The Center will provide all facilities necessary to offer daily care for 150 disabled people in Pirot. The municipality of Pirot will also fund the utilities, staff and maintenance of the facilities. The disabled are among the most vulnerable of all citizens and the project demonstrates the U.S. Government’s commitment to work together with local municipalities to improve the quality of life for all Serbian citizens. Following the event at the Daycare Center, the Ambassador visited “Boem”, a restaurant in Pirot which is famous for its „peglane kobasice“a regional sausage specialty, which allowed the Ambassador to get to know and appreciate this unique contribution to local cuisine.

In Bosnia in Hercegovina, the U.S. Embassy’s Banja Luka Office showcased American specialty brewed beers at the Krafting Beer Festival organized by Banja Luka home brewers.  They served 300 bottles of special American labels, none of which are available in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The following brands are: Sierra Nevada, Anderson Valley Brewing, Founders Brewing Company, Anchor Brewing Company, Flying Dog Brewery, Rogue, Leinenkugel’s, Yuengling, and Shiner Bock.  Sierra Nevada was by far the most popular and several home brewers said they used it as an inspiration for their own recipes. The Festival had a positive impact and changed the perceptions about American beers — they aren’t just water anymore! – And also gained positive press in the local media.  The Office is hoping the Festival’s success will lead to an export opportunity for American beers to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The US Embassy in Montenegro celebrated their Independence Day a little early this year. They celebrated the American National holiday more than a week before, but they still thank all of their friends and partners for coming to the reception organized in honour of the 4th of July. This year celebration’s theme was bringing Hawaiian flair to Montenegro. Petra Radulovic, a talented young musician from Kotor, performed the Montenegrin National Anthem. The United States Army Europe Band & Chorus Rock Band played the U.S. National Anthem and provided good music throughout the event.

The Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Albania, Tirana brought an international non-profit organization called »10 Million Discs« to spread the concepts of teamwork, conflict resolution, leadership, personal accountability, and mutual respect through the sport of Ultimate Frisbee. They worked with coaches, physical education teachers and students from several Albanian cities.  Ultimate Frisbee is a mixed-gender sport that has been recognized by the Olympics and is played in over 140 countries.

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Cultural Diplomacy News