[Applause]

Interviewee:    Thank you.

Interviewer:    Thank you for joining us.

Interviewee:    Well, thank you for inviting.  I have learn that through Rumi Forum is indeed forum where people of different faith, religions meet and openly discusses issues that are so often dividing us, but should get us closer so, I appreciate this invitation and this opportunity to address on the issue that somebody may question what’s Slovenia could add to their discussion.  So, as a way of introduction, I would like to may be provide offer some clarification on two issues.  What Slovenia as a small country can add to this debate of Diversity Management and secondly, what do I understand by diversity management because in the past days I was asked by some of colleagues and friends what do you mean by that, what do you want to discuss by that.  So I guess it’s appropriate may be to share with you what I do understand by diversity management because when you say diversity it’s a very common word and also, you know, just even today I had a lot of that when we discussed at some forum this morning about Eastern Europe, Central Europe and the Western Balkans, you cannot discuss these issues without avoiding the word diversity, it’s a lot of diversity there.  But what is that, which Slovenia could contribute to that, I would like to highlight may be two approaches.  I would approach more from the external point of diversity then internal.  You know, Slovenia is more or less let’s say ethnically homogenous country, also in terms of religion that does not mean that we do not deal with diversity there, we don’t have developed instruments to deal with that but when you compare with other countries Slovenia could better serve as a case, a case study for external diversity that means of course that as a nation you have to find a way of cohabitation with another cultures, with another nations, in another framework and when, when we say diversity management my point is that differences, that diversity is imminent to every human being, to every society, to every nation in any community that we live in.

So this diversity can both be a source of richness and creativity but also a great challenge for coexistence.  These are two posts that are sometimes very conflicting and what we need as a member of societies what we need to do is simply to recognize the political and social dimensions of these differences and to recognize the need to develop instruments and institutions that effectively address and deal with these differences.  So diversity management therefore for me is a concept and strategy how to manage these differences between cultures, states countries in terms of history, geography, culture, religion, economy, politics, they are many and therefore this concept embraces also interface and interculture dialogue that I wish address a bit later on.  Now on Slovenian experience if we go then into the substance with this understanding, for centuries Slovenia and Slovenians live in different multinational states.  We have only 19 years of our independence but roughly in hundred years we have changed six flags, six passports, we have lived in Habsburg monarchy also Hungarian empire, kingdom of Yugoslavia, and lately Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, all multinational communities within which we as a small nation now of two million have to find a way to survive but of course that did not depend only on us but also on that broader environment that’s why I wish to emphasize it for us this external diversity management is of extreme importance.  And our experience from the latest community, the latest association that we lived in, in federal socialist Yugoslavia could be very instructive nowadays for small nations in international community.  Relations among nations in Yugoslavia, federation were governed and controlled by communist party and by communist ideology.

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