Bratislava Mayor Milan Ftacnik and U.S. Ambassador to Slovakia Theodore Sedgwick
Cleveland Council on World Affairs
June 14, 2012
The Cleveland Council on World Affairs (CCWA) hosted a lecture on June 14, 2012 introducing the U.S. Ambassador to Slovakia, Theodore Sedgwick and Mayor Milan Ftácnik of Cleveland's sister city Bratislava, Slovakia to local Slovaks and other interested parties.
Bratislava is similar to Cleveland in many ways. It has 450,000 residents and shares many cultural and traditional ideas. Cleveland is home to the second largest Slovak community in the world, outside of Slovakia and Pittsburgh and nearly 100,000 Northeast Ohioans can trace their roots back there.
Both the Ambassador and the Mayor spoke of their desire to revitalize the sister city program between the two cities with an emphasis on sharing problem solutions, travel and culture.
Here are some highlights from the event.
CCWA's Rich Crepage
Dr. Wael Khoury
Dr. Wael Khoury introduced US Ambassador to Slovakia Theodore Sedgwick and Bratislava Mayor Milan Ftacnik
US Ambassador to Slovakia Theodore Sedgwick spoke about the historical relationship between Cleveland and Bratislava including the Cleveland Agreement of 1915. Did you know that at one time Bratislava was called Wilson City in honor of US President Woodrow Wilson?
US Ambassador to Slovakia Theodore Sedgwick
Ambassador Sedgwick also covered some of the highlights of the relationship between the US and Slovakia
Next, Bratislava Mayor Milan Ftacnik spoke about Slovakia's autonomy and independence and relationship with Czech Republic.
Bratislava Mayor Milan Ftacnik
Mayor Ftacnik said that the Heart of Europe is in Slovakia.
Mayor Ftacnik said the main challenges for Slovakia is working towards open government and establishing confidence in the leaders.
The Mayor said that the 2nd main challenge for Slovakia is transportation. Bratislava has 520 cars for each 1000 citizens.
Mayor Ftacnik said that the 3rd main challenge for Slovakia is Quality of Life. Bratislava is only 60km from Vienna which has a high quality of life.
Listening to the Mayor
He then spoke about the Cleveland and Bratislava Sister City relationship.
There are 3 main areas that Mayor Ftacnik wants to work on with Cleveland: Culture, Tourism and Business.
CCWA's Dr. Wael Khoury and Mayor Milan Ftacnik
After the speeches, the Mayor and Ambassador took questions from the audience. The first question was about learning English in Slovakia.
He was then asked about preserving the Slovak language in Slovakia and the US and other places.
Ambassador Sedgwick and Mayor Ftacnik
There was a question about the major industries in Slovakia and the Mayor discussed the IT and tech industires as well as cars and others.
When asked about the predominance of US culture (Hollywood, etc) the Mayor said that the richness of Europe is its culture and it needs to be preserved.
Enjoy these other images from the CCWA event with the Mayor and Ambassador.
Mayor Milan Ftacnik and George Terbrack
Dr. Wael Khoury, William Northrup and Rich Crepage
Patricia Allen, Joseph Horvak, Andrea and Andrew Hudacko
Rusyn-Americans Laurel Tombazzi and Edward and Elaine Miller
Rich Crepage, Ambassador Sedgwick, Mayor Ftacnik and Dr Wael Khoury
George Terbrack and Mary Jo Kreshak
Eileen and Joseph Olsavsky, Juliet and Joseph Stipkala, Chris Sedlock and Denise Ivan-Antus