Monday, 23 September 2019

Moving Back to the Homeland: Katherine Kurelja, from Boston to Croatia

September 23, 2019 - More and more Croatians in the diaspora are considering moving back to the homeland. Meet one who is about to take the plunge, Katherine Kurelja.

  1. You live in Boston, have Croatian roots and plan to move to Zagreb. Explain!

It’s simple. The pros and cons of life in Croatia have won out over the pros and cons of American life. For us that means switching from consumer culture to family culture. And it’s certainly not a competition, but I’ll take your news headlines over ours any day.

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       2. Why now?

Croatia is at an inflection point. I feel the energy every time I go. While some may think Croatia isn’t heading in the right direction, I have met many talented entrepreneurs in Croatia like Hrvoje Kapetanovic, CEO of Undabot and seen what firms like EY are doing to support them that prove otherwise. Their determination is what I want to support at this point in my career. I am truly inspired by the talent in Croatia and the world should know more about what Croatia can offer. More on that below.

And to touch on the emotional side since part of being Croatian is of course being passionate and often via music, there is a song from our Irish friends up north, Mumford & Sons, that sums it up nicely:

“Well I know I had it all on the line
But don't just sit with folded hands and become blind
'Cause even when there is no star in sight
You'll always be my only guiding light”

Only in Croatia there are many stars in sight.

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  1. Moving with the family is a big step. Tell us about the family and what are your greatest fears?

My husband was born in Croatia, left in his mid-20s and has always wanted to go back. When he first met me, he asked if I’d ever want to live in Croatia and my reaction was pretty much “um, nooooo” and now that we have a 5 year old daughter and I see what our lives are like as a family in the US, I am the one who, one summer morning last year (pre World Cup even, so you know I meant business) said “Let’s do it!” Priorities have a way of changing in life.

Fears mainly relate to dealing with my American-ness and reminding myself that some of the things that bug me about Croatia are exactly what make it so special and unique too. So basically, not getting annoyed when people tell me to eat or to dry my hair all the way!

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  1. What about work? Do you have anything lined up?

Given my brand and marketing experience and expertise, I’ll be starting my own agency focused on helping businesses and individuals position themselves to expand outside of Croatia. Related to this, ask me about my idea to put Croatia on the map for its incredible tech talent and capabilities.

  1. How easy is it to find practical information about relocating, and what sort of support resources are available?

It can be a bit of a maze, but expat groups on Facebook as well as blogs make it relatively easy to get info on the practical side of relocating. Certain details are always elusive, like shipping recommendations, but overall I’ve found communities via social media ready to help. I look forward to meeting you, cool expat & diaspora returnee community! Family in Croatia is of course another great resource. Veze remember?

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  1. What do your friends and family think of your decision to move to Croatia? 

What you’d expect. Family here has mixed feelings given we’ll be further away, but we are hoping to lure them back to the homeland. Friends think it’s an incredible idea and completely supportive. I think many visualize us on the beach, but they do get it. And finally, family in Croatia is quite thrilled. Unlike what I hear from others is they don’t ask “Why are we moving?” they just ask “When?”. Good thing too as we love to socialize over gemist and family meals! Free babysitting doesn’t hurt either.

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  1. What are the things you are most looking forward to?

Doing something impactful to help Croatia grow in whatever way we can - big or small, economically or mentally – whatever the community needs. Providing our daughter freedom and independence that is sadly elusive in most of the US these days. And watching more soccer matches in person – Idemo! All of this boils down to a single thread and why we are coming – Croatia is a team and it’s time for my family to get off the bench!

To connect with Katherine This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Are you a returnee who wants to share your experience? Contact us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For the latest from the Croatian diaspora, follow the dedicated TCN section.  

Saturday, 21 September 2019

President Welcomes Engagement of Association of Croatian American Professionals

ZAGREB, September 21, 2019 - Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović took part in a conference of the Association of Croatian American Professionals (ACAP) in Cleveland on Friday, thanking its members for their work towards the development of Croatia's economy and society as well as for the strengthening of economic relations between Croatia and the United States, her office said in a press release on Saturday.

Over the five years of its existence, the ACAP has contributed to the development of Croatia-US relations, the president said, adding that Croatia strongly supported their work and saw the ACAP as an important partner which contributed to the realisation of Croatia's state interests.

We expect the ACAP to encourage and promote cooperation and exchange of knowledge in the economy and all other areas important for economic development, the president said.

We want you to encourage a faster and more efficient inclusion of young people from Croatia in the labour market, to contribute to their learning, scientific advancement or preparation for enterprise, she said.

We want you to contribute, with your professional knowledge and international experience, to the strengthening of Croatian-American cooperation to the benefit of Croatia's economic and overall progress, she added.

Croatia and the US are partners linked by friendship, good economic relations and excellent cooperation on the political front, Grabar-Kitarović said.

Strong and concrete economic interests can give impetus to future bilateral cooperation, and the Three Seas Initiative enables US companies to enhance their existing business partnership in Croatia and Central Europe as well as create new ones, she said.

The president also said Croatia was open to the further development of economic relations with the US, welcoming US investment in Croatia as well as any form of economic cooperation, and saying she was pleased that there was good will on both sides to use every possibility to enhance cooperation.

One of those possibilities is to expand the legal framework in order to eliminate obstacles to trade and investment, she said, welcoming the attempts on both sides to negotiate an agreement on the avoidance of double taxation.

Such an agreement is not just an economic issue but has political, diplomatic, geo-economic and strategic partnership significance as well, she said, adding that formal steps could be taken at technical level to give the agreement greater priority in the US Department of the Treasury.

The president said she had recently formed a task force comprising representatives of the finance, foreign and economic ministries, the Croatian and American chambers of commerce, and tax consultants from the private sector. She called on the ACAP to actively participate in that job, saying their engagement would facilitate the success of the initiative since, as US citizens, they could encourage the Department of the Treasury to give precedence to Croatia.

By working together, in your interest and the interest of Croatia and the US, I am sure we can succeed, Grabar-Kitarović said.

The president conferred the Croatian Charter on the entire Croatian community in Cleveland for its outstanding contribution, notably in the early 1990s, to the creation of the modern, sovereign and democratic Croatia.

More news about Croats in the United States can be found in the Diaspora section.

Thursday, 19 September 2019

Croatian President to Visit Pittsburgh to Celebrate Croatian Fraternal Union of America’s 125th Anniversary

September 18, 2019 - Pittsburgh, PA – Her Excellency Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, President of the Republic of Croatia, will be visiting the city of Pittsburgh, home to the headquarters of the Croatian Fraternal Union of America (CFU), in honor of the Society’s 125th Anniversary Celebration. The visit, scheduled for this Sunday, September 22, 2019, will begin with a Jubilee Mass held at St. Nicholas Church (Millvale), a distinguished Shrine Church of Croatian heritage, followed by a gala anniversary banquet at the Wyndham Grand Hotel Pittsburgh. The Anniversary Celebration falls on the eve of the 25th Quadrennial Convention of the Society.

“This will be one very special weekend celebration and we are so pleased to have so many prominent Croatian diplomats, Croatian Americans and American officials, attending our Sunday banquet on September 22nd, says Edward Pazo, National President of the Croatian Fraternal Union.

Distinguished guests for the Anniversary Celebration include: His Eminence Cardinal Blasé Cupich, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago, IL and His Excellency David A. Zubik, Bishop of Pittsburgh. Dignitaries representing the Republic of Croatia include: His Excellency Gordan Grlić-Radman, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia, Special Envoy of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia Andrej Plenković; Pjer Šimunović, Ambassador of the Republic of Croatia to the United States; and Zdravka Bušić, State Secretary for Political Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign & European Affairs; Mijo Maric and Mirjana Piskulic representatives of the Croatian Homeland Foundation.

National and local dignitaries attending will include: U.S. Congressman Mike Doyle, representing the 18th Congressional District of the U.S. House of Representatives and a founding member of the House Congressional Croatian Caucus; Mayor William Peduto of the City of Pittsburgh; and Rich Fitzgerald, Allegheny County Executive.

The CFU is the largest Croatian organization outside of Croatia and in its 125th year of existence. Headquartered in Wilkins Township, PA, CFU has more than 30,000 members in Southwestern Pennsylvania and nearing 50,000 members globally. It is a fraternal benefit organization based on a program of benevolence, service to its members and the communities in which they live.

More diaspora news can be found in the dedicated section.

Saturday, 7 September 2019

Contracts on Financial Support to Projects for Bosnian Croats Signed

ZAGREB, September 7, 2019 - A total 89 agreements on financial support, in the amount of 26 million kuna (3.5 million euro), for projected important for the Croat people in Bosnia and Herzegovina were signed in the village of Tolisa near the northern Bosnian town of Orašje on Friday evening.

The contracts confirm the continuity, systematic approach and consistency of Croatia's policy towards the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina and good neighbourly support which Zagreb offers to Bosnia and Herzegovina, said Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, who attended the agreement-signing ceremonies in the Franciscan Monastery, the landmark of the village of Tolisa.

We have come here with the wish to arrange our relations in a quality manner and with our wish to settle our outstanding issues, and to show through the support to the whole of Bosnia and Herzegovina also our care for the rights of the Croats, he added.

Plenković recalled that earlier in the day his cabinet also approved a grant of 600,000 kuna for the Catholic school centre in Bihac.

Thanking for the support and financial assistance, the Bosnian Croat leader Dragan Ćović of the Croatian Democratic Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina (HDZ BiH) said that the support had to date been given by Croatia for thousands of projects essential for the end users and institutions that had implemented them.

During his stay in Orašje, Plenković, accompanied by Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman and other officials, also met with representatives of the local authorities in Posavina Canton.

More news about Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina can be found in the Diaspora section.

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Scholarships Offered for Online Learning of Croatian

ZAGREB, August 21, 2019 - The Central State Office for Croats Abroad has published a call for scholarships for online learning of Croatian in the coming school year.

The office will award 10 scholarships for attending the semester-long online courses of the Croatian language.

The grants refer to the online course called HiT-I organised by the University of Zagreb, the Croatian Heritage Foundation (HMI) and the University Computing Centre SRCE.

More information is available on https://matis.hr or on the Office's website.

Applications can be sent by ethnic Croats living abroad, and descendants of Croat expat communities as well as their spouses and foreigners interested in Croatian heritage and culture, provided that they are above 18 of age and have finished at least secondary school.

More diaspora news can be found in the dedicated section.

Thursday, 15 August 2019

ACAP's Rocking Croatian Excellence Conference in Cleveland Seeks to Connect Businesses

CLEVELAND, AUGUST 14, 2019 – The Association of Croatian American Professionals (ACAP) is hosting their fourth annual conference in Cleveland, Ohio from Sept. 19 to 22, 2019. The ACAP conference will bring together professionals from all facets of the U.S. and international professional community.

The Croatian Chamber of Economy (Hrvatska Gospodarska Komora) is organizing a delegation of Croatian businesses to attend the conference and to participate in a Business–to–Business (B2B) meeting. ”This is a tremendous opportunity for Croatian businesses to connect with businesses in Cleveland, across the United States and throughout the world. We’re excited to see what this venture with the Croatian Chamber of Economy might bring,” says Mario Jurcic, vice president, ACAP Cleveland.  

ACAP and the Croatian Chamber of Economy are jointly organizing the B2B meeting and are looking for companies in the United States, Croatia and around the world to take part in the event. Any type of industry is welcome to participate—from the arts to technology to engineering to food and beverage and everything in between.

The B2B meeting will consist of presentations and speed networking where companies can learn more about each other and make possible business connections. The meeting is scheduled to take place in Cleveland on Saturday, Sept. 21 from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. The location is to be determined. 

To date, Croatian companies that will be in Cleveland for the B2B meeting represent a wide range of specialties such as: aerospace, automobile, construction, education, information technology, metal and plastic manufacturers and companies specializing in smart city solutions. Croatian businesses are looking for American partners for ventures in the Croatian, European Union and North American markets. 

“As a business owner, I know how valuable this meeting is. It can put businesses on another level and enable them to break into markets in different parts of the world for global expansion,” says Mario Jurcic, vice president, ACAP Cleveland. 

To register for the B2B meetings, please email Mario Jurcic at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Wednesday, Aug. 21 at 12 p.m. (EST). To purchase conference tickets or for more information, please visit conference.croampro.com.

Association of Croatian American Professionals (ACAP)The Association of Croatian American Professionals is a non-profit organization bringing together professionals, business leaders, academics, students and community organizers. Their mission is to foster leadership, collaboration and to promote the advancement of issues relevant to the Croatian-American community. In four years, ACAP has expanded to 16 chapters in the United States and Croatia with 750 members, and growing, worldwide. Visit croampro.com for more information. 

Croatian Chamber of Economy (CCE)The Croatian Chamber of Economy is an independent professional and business organization of all legal entities engaging in business. CCE has been promoting, representing and protecting the interests of its members in Croatia and abroad for over 165 years.

The Chamber consists of the headquarters in Zagreb and 20 county chambers. Functionally, the CCE consists of 11 departments dealing with the respective branch of the economy, 63 professional associations and 33 affiliations. Apart from this, within the CCE acts the Permanent Arbitration Court, Conciliation Centre, Court of Honor and CCE Office for Areas of Special State Concern.

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And here is the earlier event announcement for the conference.

Are you ready to rock Croatian excellence?!

The Association of Croatian American Professionals has an action-packed weekend planned for our fourth annual conference in Cleveland, Ohio - the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - from Sept. 19 to 22, 2019.
The ACAP conference will bring together professionals from all facets of the U.S. and international professional community—such as diplomats, scientists, travel agents, artists, engineers, medical professionals, attorneys, journalists, business executives, social media specialists, accountants, as well as a delegation from Croatia’s Chamber of Commerce.

Tomislav Mihaljevic, MD, Cleveland Clinic CEO and President, has committed to be a featured speaker. 

Conference weekend activities include:

Thursday, Sept. 19: tour of Cleveland Clinic, evening welcome reception

Friday, Sept. 20: day-long conference, gala dinner and awards, downtown Cleveland afterparty

Saturday, Sept. 21: Croga (yoga to Croatian music), Croatian handmade market, Cleveland tours, evening fundraiser, night out in downtown Cleveland

Sunday: farewell reception, additional local event: mass at St. Paul Croatian Church

Join us at ACAP#2019 where we'll show the world how much Croatians and Cleveland rock!

For more information or to purchase your tickets, please visit conference.croampro.com.

To follow the latest from the Croatian diaspora, follow the dedicated TCN section

Monday, 12 August 2019

Žigmanov says Serbian Minister Should Care More about Ethnic Croat Heritage

ZAGREB, August 12, 2019 - The leader of the Democratic Alliance of Vojvodina Croats (DSHV) and a member of the Serbian parliament, Tomislav Žigmanov, on Monday called on Serbian Culture Minister Vladan Vukosavljević to pay more attention to the protection of the Croat cultural heritage in Serbia than to Nikola Tesla, who has recently caused new disputes between Belgrade and Zagreb.

Vukosavljević on Friday accused Croatia of laying claim to Tesla, a US and Croatian inventor of Serb origin, by planning to present him as a Croatian inventor at the Expo 2020 in Dubai.

"We have been following with regret a strange and unsolicited interest of Serbia's Culture and Information Minister Vladan Vukosavljević in Nikola Tesla, a Serb from Croatia, and his status in contemporary cultural practices in Croatia, a country where political representatives of the local Serb community are part of the governing majority," Žigmanov told Hina.

Žigmanov fears that "the minister's national exclusivity and zealotry" will hamper efforts to normalise relations between the two countries.

"On the other hand, Serbian citizens of Croat background would prefer the culture minister telling them how much funding has been set aside and which activities have been undertaken to preserve the local Croat material cultural heritage, particularly sites of worship since a number of Catholic churches is in a dilapidated condition," Žigmanov said.

Žigmanov also criticised the Serbian minister for having allocated significantly higher funds to the Bunjevci ethnic community who consider themselves non-Croats and who are a considerably smaller community than local Croats.

He wonders why the minister allows the laying of claims to ethnic Croat intangible heritage such as "Dužijanca", the custom of traditional thanksgiving pilgrimage celebrating the completion of the harvest season, and notes that although local Croats in the region of Subotica have been celebrating those festivities for more than a century, the Serbian authorities are set to register them as the heritage of the non-Croat Bunjevci community.

This past Friday the Serbian culture and information ministry issued a statement condemning what it described as an unacceptable attempt by Croatia to lay claim to Tesla, whom it said the entire world recognised and remembered as a Serb who spent a large part of his life in the United States.

At the Expo 2020 in Dubai, Croatia will present itself as a country of innovative projects, inventions and world-famous scientists, including Nikola Tesla.

The accusations from Serbia prompted Croatian Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek to underscore that Croatia "remembers Tesla with respect, without trying to deny his ethnic background."

"The Croatian encyclopaedia describes Nikola Tesla as a US and Croatian inventor of Serb descent. Tesla was born in Croatia, he was educated in Croatia and left Croatia for Austria and later for the Czech Republic, Hungary, France and the United States," the minister said.

She added that unlike Serbia, which has not stopped falsifying history and laying claim to other countries' great people, Croatia "remembers one of the biggest inventors with respect, without trying to deny his ethnic background."

Vukosavljević responded by saying that Tesla was born in 1856 in the village of Smiljan, "in the Austrian Empire, in an area called the Military Frontier, which was almost exclusively populated by Serbs, and his father was a Serb Orthodox priest."

"How has a Serb, born in the Austrian Empire, in the area of the Military Frontier, at a time when there was no inkling of a Croatian state, become a 'Croatian inventor'," Vukosavljević said, adding that he considered such an interpretation "illogical and historically unfounded."

More news about the status of Croats in Serbia can be found in the Diaspora section.

Sunday, 28 July 2019

Croatian World Congress Seeks 6 Seats in Parliament for Diaspora

ZAGREB, July 28, 2019 - The Croatian World Congress (HSK), an organisation of Croatian expatriates, called on Saturday on the Croatian government and Croat representatives in the Bosnian government to create programmes to encourage the return of expatriates, also asking to be guaranteed six seats in the Croatian parliament.

At its annual assembly in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the HSK said it was incomprehensible that Croatian citizens abroad were prevented from voting because of the small number of polling stations and the impossibility to vote electronically or by post.

The HSK said expatriates should be represented in Croatia's parliament by one member each from Australia, South America, the US, and Canada, and by two from Europe.

It's incomprehensible and damaging that Croatian expatriates have fewer rights than ethnic minorities in Croatia, the HSK said, adding that MPs from the diaspora would help to strengthen the ties between it and the homeland.

The HSK went on to say that it was high time for "responsible institutions in the homeland" to start offering attractive programmes to returnees which, it added, would improve the demographic situation and revive the Croatian economy.

The HSK also called on all Croatian institutions to stand up for Croats in BiH, saying that despite being a constituent people, they were reduced to a neglected ethnic minority in BiH.

More Diaspora news can be found in the dedicated section.

Monday, 15 July 2019

Croatia Sets Aside Millions for Diaspora Projects in 11 European Countries

ZAGREB, July 15, 2019 - Croatia has earmarked 4.85 million kuna for grants to programmes and projects of Croatian diaspora in 11 European countries this year, according to a decision adopted by State-Secretary in the Central State Office for Croats Abroad, Zvonko Milas.

A quarter of that amount, 1.2 million kuna, has been set aside for programmes and activities of ethnic Croats in Serbia.

Thus, the Croatian National Council in that country can count on 125,000 kuna for its development programmes and for boosting media visibility and education in the Croatian language in Serbia.

In 2019, 13 associations and societies of the Croat community in Slovenia have 550,000 kuna at their disposal under this scheme of the Zagreb-based Office.

Furthermore, a half million kuna has been earmarked to Croat associations in Austria and approximately the same amount has been allocated to ethnic Croats in Hungary.

Zagreb has set aside 400,000 kuna for activities of ethnic Croats in Montenegro this year.

Also, ethnic Croat communities in Italy, Romania, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Czechia, and Slovakia have been given grants for their programmes.

More diaspora news can be found in the dedicated section.

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Croatian Cuisine II: A Book Cooked in Venezuela

July 14, 2019 - Croatia has a large diaspora community in South America. A new cookbook strengthens the links to their homeland. 

The book Croatian cuisine II. A tasting of Croatian cuisine in Venezuela, is a publication of the Cultural Association of Croatian Ladies of Venezuela edited by Editemos, with the support of the Central State Office for Croats outside the Republic of Croatia.

With a prologue by the editor and author Miro Popic, the book brings together a selection of recipes published in a first edition, dating from 2008, together with a compilation of new traditional recipes that are still being prepared in Croatian homes on this side of the world.

All of them show the evolution that this gastronomy has reached in our country, fruit of the cultural and economic exchange that began two centuries ago with the arrival of the first Croatians in Venezuela and intensified from the European migrations promoted by the various historical facts that marked the Europe of the 20th century.

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The publication is divided into two sections that reflect both the history and the geography of Croatia: Continental cuisine and Mediterranean cuisine, broken down into companions and entrances; and main and desserts each, in addition to useful information for the preparations.

The recipes are illustrated with full-color images of Croatian ingredients and dishes, selected and prepared especially for this volume, by members of the Croatian community who preserve the traditions inherited from their ancestors and portrayed by the lens of Efrén Hernández. photographer, architect and Director of Dulcear.com.

This book will contribute to keep alive the traditions and heritage of the Croatian diaspora in Venezuela and why not, Latin America as well.

Dobar Tek!

To learn more about the new book in Spanish, click here.

To get the latest news from the Croatian diaspora, follow the dedicated TCN section.

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