Interviewee:    Well, to my knowledge, yes.  We have a record of institutions specifically designed to address the issue of ethnicity of ethnic communities of religious communities so for one specific reason because, you know, Slovenia as a small country by default it happened that many Slovenians are living abroad.  But we have never understood that, you know, as an issue that could expand our political agenda.  What we cared about is to create conducive environment where these minorities, of these Slovenians living in other countries, you know, could feel this cultural space as united one within which they can feel no differences in terms of travel, in terms of communication with Slovenia proper.  But at the same time we have two minorities, constitution when I was in Slovenia; Hungarian and Italian and this is also quite unique solution in EU and in Europe that they have ensured constitutionally and ensured representation in the parliament so each of them they have one sit in the parliament.  They have their own elections but their sit is ensured so in 98 members of the parliament, two of them belong by constitution to these minorities.  So, we are very sensitive to minority issues that’s why we have quite a lot of centers of ethnic studies, you know, and again, these centers were designed some ofthem even before Yugoslavia because Yugoslavia was diversity, you know, a case of ethnic diversity and we have promoted this dialogue very much, but not enough again because the environment was not conducive and supportive enough.  Because it was not so, so much a question how, you know, to deal effectively with these differences but just how to control this diversities.  So, we recognized now that now this is may be opportunity again to re-establish certain links in the region.  So cooperation of universities, of institutes how to bring these cultures back again and to increase the level of the communication and thus to ease this inter-ethnic tensions that exist in the region.

Audience:    Thank you.

Interviewer:    You know, you spoke about education and dialogue and how important, you know, these two are.  I know that there are in Bosnia, Herzegovina there are Turks that have founded schools based on this model, a dialogue, education.  And so, it seems, you know, that this seems to be the way, you know, it should bring people together that at the root’s cause of all racism and anti [IB] or anti the other is coming and stemming from lack of education and not just simply education about somebody else’s culture, education in all realms so from science to history, TS culture, religious, can you speak more about that connection and how important that is and how important civil society is in terms of making that happen in your country?

Interviewee:    In Slovenia, in Slovenia proper, well, you know, this the latest experience that we had in former Yugoslavia for us was a very rich opportunity so to say and one could speculate that really if we had some instrument in hand, if we had a minimum of tolerance and respect that, you know, such community could be preserved even.  But every multinational community, you know, is tested with this challenge and it’s not accident that when these multinational communities are attached to certain ideology that did not survive the test of history look different.  So if union Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, you know, Spain is also, you know, very diverse, Belgium but they had developed timely enough democratic instruments to ensure that.  So Slovenia has been enriched by this experience in the past that’s why we are aware of the importance, you know, of these instruments that we have to have to promote tolerance dialogue and we are also aware that this is something that the government has to be on guard all the time to look after it.  It’s good that you have civil society and of course, the civil society also in Slovenia is very rich in, you know, promoting this dialogue.  But as they said, democracy, you know, it’s a tough call.  In democracy you have, you know, you have ideas that surface up that you may disagree very much just this morning again I was listening to one minister saying that, you know, this extreme right is on race in central and eastern Europe and that’s also sometimes a challenge of democracy where, you know, extreme ideas are coming out and facing, you know, other part of society in aggressive way thus democracy by definition should avoid aggressiveness in dealing with any issue so these groups that have more radical aggressive ideas they find this environment quite conducive to pursue their own ideas so it’s always a challenge to democracy.  Fortunately enough, in Slovenia we don’t have such a one, although we have a small parliamentarian party which is a right plain one and that exploits here and there issues, you know, of equality also issues of Roma we have a small population, Roma population but you know again, that serve as a test of our tolerance always and everyday and to my mind we are doing well in ensuring this equality for Roma population as well.  But again, you are never, you know, secured from some variations here.

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