Thursday, 14 July 2022

NFCACF 29th Annual Assembly of Delegates Held in Baltimore, Maryland

July 14, 2022 - The National Federation of Croatian Americans (NFCACF) convened the 29th Annual Assembly of Delegates in Baltimore and with thirty delegates from a dozen Croatian American groups participating in the hybrid event held on July 1st and 2nd. The weekend affair was held at the Baltimore Waterfront Marriott Hotel, right across the water from the famous Baltimore landmark, Fort McHenry. 

It was a productive and fun meeting integrated within the Croatian Fraternal Union (CFU) Junior TamFest. There were thirteen Junior Tambura Ensembles that performed throughout the weekend and with Jason Ottmann as the festival's guest conductor. Also, it was wonderful to have a Tamburitzan Catholic Mass on Saturday afternoon with co-celebrants Father William Hritsko and Father Maurus Dolcic. There were social events with tambura music and dance on both weekend nights. The Saturday music was provided by the Orkestar Zadnja Stanica of Steelton, Pennsylvania.  Ed Pazo, CFU National President was the Master of Ceremonies, all weekend for all the Junior Tamfest activities and it was a music-filled weekend.

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President Steve Rukavina opened the private Friday delegate's meeting with his annual NFCACF State of the Union address. The long-term President shared that the organization was coming off a busy last twelve months. He was pleased that we have eight Board Members and committee members under the age of forty and emerging as super activists within our organization. He shared updates about the Visa Waiver Program and the positive progress with the bilateral Avoidance of Double Taxation Treaty. The President discussed ways that the NFCACF and the Croatian American community has shown support for Ukraine's efforts against the Russian aggressor. The NFCACF has been collaborating with the Central Eastern European Coalition (CEEC) too now with a heavy emphasis on the war in Ukraine. President Rukavina gave a long list of developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including many nuanced details about the challenges facing the Croat community there, especially with electoral reform issues, dealing with the Dayton Peace Accord being circumvented and with the October 2nd election pending.

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Public Affairs Consultant Joe Foley gave his 23rd Washington Report, highlighting all key NFCACF activities in the nation's capital, including quite a few details about what to expect with the U.S. Senate approval process with the bilateral Avoidance of the Double Taxation treaty. He also shared a few updates about projects connected to the Congressional Croatian Caucus and the Three Seas Initiative. The NFCACF was appreciative that Croatian Ambassador Pjer Simunovic attended the Saturday public session and spoke to all delegates and guests about recent activities in Washington, DC. The Ambassador spoke highly of recent US-Croatia developments and including about the recent visit by Croatia's Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic to the nation's capital and also, about a fifteen-member Croatian government delegation that visited in March too for a very important US-Croatia Strategic Alliance set of high-level meetings.

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There was a major Croatian American Sports Hall of Fame (CAS-HOF) presentation on Saturday to highlight the plans for this exciting initiative in 2022. CAS-HOF Co-Chair Vedran Nazor shared key details and announced the ten inductees and Sunday, October 16th was chosen for the induction ceremony to be held in Cleveland. CAS-HOF Selection Committee members Steve Rukavina, Tom Steich, Dino Mattisich and Derek Hohn were on hand too. President Rukavina shared details about the group's Special Olympics Committee and the plans to hold a major fundraiser in the Los Angeles area in October, led by Chair Joe Brajevich and also, and committee members Kata Rudela and Dana Kandic, attended the Baltimore meeting.  

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There were four national Presidents participating in the NFCACF's private Friday delegate's meeting with Ed Pazo, Croatian Fraternal Union, John Kraljic, Croatian Academy of America and Dr. Steve Pavletic, of the Association of Croatian American Professionals all joining with Steve Rukavina, the NFCACF President for substantive discussions about ten major Croatian priority projects.

On Friday, July 1st, the elections were held and the newly elected officers of the NFCACF Executive Committee are: included: Steve Rukavina (President) Andrea Novak-Neumann (Executive Vice President), Adam Radman (Treasurer), Anna Maria Sicenica (Secretary), Mark Plavetic (Assistant Secretary) and with three Vice-Presidents, Mario Spalatin, John Kraljic, Biljana Lovrinovic and two officers at-large, Carolyn Bruno, and Bernadette Luketich-Sikaras.

The remaining board members elected: Eric Gregrich, Bob Jerin, Marko Kirn, Nena Komarica, Tom Mustac, Tatjana Mustac, Vesna Jezic, Jim Kresnik, Zvonko Labas, Vedran Nazor, Sanja Newman, Dr. Steve Pavletic, Jelena Rudela, Tom Steich, Judi Zivic and Ron Zivic.

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