Tuesday, 19 April 2022

€1.6m To Be Granted to Civil Society Projects for Development of Local Communities

ZAGREB, 19 April 2022 - Over 12 million kuna (€1.6 million) will be allocated for projects which civil society associations are going to implement for the development of local communities, the Croatian government's Office for Cooperation with NGOs reported on Tuesday.

The office announced that the ceremony at which the grants will be awarded will be held at 1400 hours today. The grants will be given to 20 associations.

The office recalls that the government has launched a HRK 120 million (€16 million) scheme called  "Strengthening the capacity of civil society organizations to respond to the needs of the local community" for projects designed to contribute to the even regional development and to the economic and democratic development of the country.

Specifically, the scheme "seeks to strengthen the capacity of CSOs active in local communities to implement activities tailored to local problems and to work directly in areas funded by the European Social Fund (employment, education, social inclusion, good governance) at the local level, but also improve the capacity of civil society organizations to provide an effective response to the needs of the local community in crisis situations."

Tuesday, 8 February 2022

€13m To Be Invested to Improve Infrastructure in Northeast Town of Sv. Ivan Žabno

ZAGREB, 8 Feb 2022 - An HRK 97 million agreement on the reconstruction of a state road and the construction of the wastewater system in the town of Sveti Ivan Žabno was signed in that northeastern Croatian town on Tuesday.

Mayor Nenad Bošnjak hailed the investment, and said that this was a historic day for the community that will get renovated road infrastructure and new wastewater infrastructure.

The state-run Hrvatske Ceste road operator will invest HRK 57 million in this project.

The director-general of the Hrvatske Vode water management company said that 550 households with 1,260 members would be connected to the sewerage.

Currently, the state authorities are implementing 60 infrastructure projects in the water management sector, and the investments are estimated at two billion euros, said Mario Šiljeg, state secretary of the economy and sustainable development ministry.

(€1 = HRK 7.52)

Friday, 13 August 2021

Oxford University Invites Speakers of Istro-Romanian to Join Research Project

ZAGREB, 13 Aug 2021 - Researchers from the Oxford University Faculty of Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics have invited the remaining speakers of the severely endangered Istro-Romanian language to help them translate and understand the collected audio recordings of that language in a project called ISTROX.

This interdisciplinary project was launched in 2018 and is based on sound recordings made in the 1960s by Oxford linguist Tony Hurren during field research in the areas of Croatia where Istro-Romanian is spoken. The recordings were donated to the Taylor Institution Library in Oxford.

During the first stage of the project, the audio recordings were described in detail and catalogued, and the content of Hurren's notebooks was matched to the recordings. In the second phase, the less intelligible recordings were uploaded on the citizen science web portal Zooniverse.

The remaining speakers of Istro-Romanian who live in Croatia and those who live abroad have been invited to register with the platform and help researchers clarify the problematic linguistic elements.

All of the data resulting from the research and all other materials that are currently part of the Hurren donation will be uploaded on the Internet to make them available to the scientific community and public, the ISTROX research team has said.

This material has never been published, and its existence has hitherto been virtually unknown to the wider world. Hurren used it for his doctoral thesis.

"The recordings, which include folktales, accounts of local traditions, and autobiographical remarks and stories, are not just of crucial interest to linguists, but also contain unique documentation of the history of the community that spoke, and still speaks, the language," the researchers said.

Hurren worked with a large representative sample of speakers of all ages and covered nearly all the villages in which Istro-Romanian was spoken, thereby capturing material for a description of the major linguistic subdivisions (there are two major dialects), the researchers said.

Istro-Romanian is possibly the least-known of the surviving Romance languages and its phonology, morphology, syntax, and lexicon are of enormous interest to linguists generally, and to Romance linguists in particular, the researchers said.

Istro-Romanian is a Romance language and is historically descended from the Latin of the Roman Empire. The language is most closely related to the one surviving major Romance language of Eastern Europe, namely Romanian.

It is one of four major branches of what linguists call 'Daco-Romance', which refers to the surviving Romance (Latin-based) languages of south-eastern Europe, continuing the Latin assumed to have been spoken in the Roman province of Dacia.

It is not known when exactly Istro-Romanian broke away from the ancestor of modern Romanian, but the separation may go back as much as a thousand years.

The place of origin of the language, and the question whether it branched off from varieties spoken in Romania or from other varieties spoken in the Balkans, or whether it represents a dialect mixture, are still controversial.

The language is still spoken in Žejane, northwest of Rijeka, and around the village of Šušnjevica on the western slopes of Mt Učka in Istria. The speakers in Žejane call the language Žejanski and those in Istrian villages call it Vlaški. An estimated 250 inhabitants of those villages are believed to still speak that language as do those who emigrated to bigger cities or abroad.

The Croatian Culture Ministry in 2007 included Istro-Romanian on its list of protected intangible cultural heritages.

Those who speak or understand Istro-Romanian can help preserve a record of this disappearing language by going to www.istrox.uk. More info about the project: https://istrox.ling-phil.ox.ac.uk/. Both platforms are bilingual (English and Croatian).

Monday, 7 September 2020

Graduate From Metkovic Enrolled At Harvard University

September 07, 2020 - This year will surely remain in our memory, mostly not very beautiful because most of us associate it with the coronavirus, layoffs, and getting used to the 'new normal'.  But not everything is so black, at least not for Nikola Jurković, a graduate from Metkovic, who has great reasons to celebrate.

Years of work, effort, and study paid off, and the result of all this is enrollment in one of the world's most prestigious universities, Harvard University. He will pause the academic year due to the epidemic, but he is launching an interesting project through which he will try to help future graduates enroll in American universities, reports Srednja.hr

A very small number of Croatian students decide to continue their education after high school at one of the foreign universities, and even fewer of them manage to get into one of the world's most prestigious universities. One of them is Nikola Jurković, now a former graduate of the Metkovic High School.

It is ranked the third best university in the world

Nikola will study at Harvard, the world's third-best university according to the Times Higher Education rankings. 

'I knew I'd be sorry my whole life if I didn't at least try. Some colleges are better than others, and I don’t see why my geographical location should limit my choice of colleges. In addition, studying in America opens many more doors than studying in Croatia. I decided to aim for the best possible, so whatever happens, happens' - Nikola begins his story.

During his schooling, this excellent student participated in numerous school and county knowledge competitions. He says that he competed most seriously in physics, from which he participated in two national competitions and the European Olympics. He also participated in the state of logic and several hackathons.

And at the final examination, he achieved excellent results - he wrote higher levels of compulsory subjects and Physics. In the Croatian language, he received a grade of four, and similarly in other exams. However, an excellent result on the final exam was not decisive for Harvard enrollment - the Croatian final exam is not even taken into account when ranking candidates.

'The process for Harvard is the same as for most of the better American colleges. At the beginning of the school year, I wrote standardized tests and an English language exam. Of the standardized tests, I wrote the ACT (general test) and SAT Subject Tests (electives) in physics and higher levels of mathematics. By the New Year, I had sent applications to colleges. I applied for college scholarships in January, did interviews in February, and got results in March. An important part of the application was the engineering portfolio, where I documented various projects I worked on in the high school STEM group Acervatio. It was all over before graduation, so it didn’t affect enrollment. I just had to go through it to officially finish high school', Nikola explains.

He pauses for a year because of the epidemic

In the first year, he will not have to choose a study direction, it comes only later. Nikola says he is not yet sure in which direction he will go, but his main interests are physics and mechanical engineering, especially in the context of the space industry.

Although he got into Harvard several months ago, he is still not moving to the United States. He decided, due to the current epidemiological circumstances, to pause for a year, and he also told us what his student life there would look like.

'Because of the coronavirus, I had the choice to work all year online from home or take a break for a year. I decided to take a break, so I’m going to America next fall. This year I was offered a full scholarship with pocket money and covered plane tickets, which means that my costs would be lower at Harvard than if I had decided to study in Croatia. Almost all students live on campus, and I will, if the pandemic is reduced by then, be one of them. In the first year, you live in a freshman home and eats at Annenberg, a canteen often compared to the Great Hall of Harry Potter. Inside it looks like a cathedral. I have always loved to travel, and I have a lot of the most beautiful memories from trips where I met people from other parts of the world. I will miss the Neretva valley, but I still can't wait to leave', Nikola points out.

He launches an interesting project on YouTube

The whole process of applying to foreign universities is perhaps the biggest 'obstacle' due to which many do not even dare to study abroad. That is why Nikola decided to help future graduates clarify their doubts about applying to American universities. How different - than through a video tutorial on YouTube.

'When I applied, I went directly into the unknown. I had no idea what the entries looked like, and during most of the process, no one helped me. I have a feeling that most, like me a year ago, are completely unfamiliar with the process of enrolling in American colleges, and don’t know where to start. I decided to make these videos so that it would not happen again, and so that future graduates have a place where they can easily get answers to their questions without the need to contact a counselor. They are not there to replace advisors, but to be the first step in understanding the process. I plan to make five videos on enrollment for now and am currently working on a third, which is about the applications themselves at the end of the first semester. For the animation, I use Manim, made by Grant Sanderson. At the end of the enrollment, I had a nice experience with EducationUSA (BiH because Mostar is closer to me than Zagreb), which provides free counseling, and I would definitely recommend that you contact them if you are considering enrollment',  Nikola advises.

And for all those who want to enroll in one of the world's best universities, but may be afraid of the distant and unknown, Nikola has a message:

'Do not be afraid, and do not limit yourself! If you want to get the best college possible, then I recommend you try to apply to American. Take a look at the world rankings to see which ones are the best, go to their websites and see if you like them. It may seem strange and unknown now, but a year ago I was in exactly the same position as you. Think about the chances of breaking in, winning, and investing in the enrollment process, then calculate for yourself if it is profitable. If you look at enrollment as a bet, it may be the best bet you’ll make in your life. If you have any questions, take a look at my videos, email me, or contact a consultant. Good luck! - says Nikola.

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