GLOBAL SLOVAKIA STORY
Founder Dr Zuzana Palovic and Co-Director Dr Gabriela Bereghazyova are the leaders behind Global Slovakia, a not-for-profit organisation that seeks to promote Slovakia on the global stage. 2018 marks a landmark year for Global Slovakia as the organization launches its mission by releasing three book publications, each mapping a different aspect of the Slovak experience. These are part of a greater goal of strengthening Slovakia’s social, cultural and economic ties with the international community. Global Slovakia has co-facilitated innovation and trade missions as well as knowledge exchanges between Slovakia and the UK. It is currently expanding its operations into the US and Canada where it will take part in an intercontinental roadshow with public and private events to be held in Bratislava, Brussels, London, Toronto, New York and DC. These events, conducted in collaboration with Slovak and foreign governments, NGOs and other stakeholders in the international Slovak community, will raise awareness of Slovakia’s legacy at home and abroad. Global Slovakia has recently participated in a unique media project on the Huffington Post, the world’s largest online newspaper. ‘The Voices of the East: Perspectives in a Divided Europe’ was series of articles that addressed the diverging historical legacies of Europe.
“Global Slovakia’s core principle is that of unity in diversity. The organization values the unique perspectives of each and every region in the world and it strives to create an environment that welcomes all. Slovakia, a natural bridge between the East and the West, is a bearer of timely knowledge, having experienced five regimes changes in the 20th century alone. Slovak know-how is of tremendous value to the world that finds itself at the abyss of renewed geopolitical divides. Global Slovakia is dedicated to domestic and international initiatives that spotlight the remarkable knowledge and experience from the resilient heart of Europe.”
Behind the vision are two women with a rich expertise in the region of Central Eastern Europe. Zuzana and Gabriela leverage their knowledge into a diverse portfolio of activities. Their story began in 2015 when they became engaged in the preparatory groundwork for a global inter- faith congress, the first of its kind to be held in Eastern Europe. Zuzana and Gabriela were part of a team engaged in lobbying across multiple levels of government, business and civil society, as part of the Bratislava city bid. It was here that they became acutely aware of the need to raise the international profile of Slovakia, and a fruitful cooperation was born. Their first project was nothing smaller than Slovakia’s first-ever national branding competition. By merging their unique skillsets and insights, Zuzana and Gabriela crafted a clear visual identity for Slovakia, alongside an accessible national narrative. Since then, Dr Bereghazyova and Dr Palovic have spread their wings. They have become involved in a number of international projects based in the UK. They lent their expertise to foreign investors, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the British Czech and Slovak Association among others.
Dr Zuzana Palovic
Born behind the Iron Curtain, Zuzana’s family fled the communist regime as political refugees, before becoming naturalized citizens in Canada. Zuzana went on to study at top international institutions in the United States, the Netherlands and most recently in the United Kingdom, where she completed a PhD in Eastern European migration. Born in the ‘East’ but raised in the ‘West’, Zuzana’s hybrid identity allows her to implicitly understand and embody the perspectives of both worlds. This understanding is further enriched by her experience of living in nine countries across four continents. Fascinated by the geopolitical context of her homeland, Dr Palovic’s work delves deeper than that of most CEE experts. She argues that ‘mental revolution’ constitutes the ‘final frontier of transition’. If there is no ‘freeing of minds’, then the newly freed societies at Europe’s Eastern border will remain ‘democracies without democrats’. She believes, a shift in social organization is indispensable from a shift in individual consciousness. Dr Palovic actively leverages this rich and varied know-how in her consultancy and academic work.
Dr Bereghazyova was born in communist Czechoslovakia, grew up in the transitional Slovakia of the 1990s and witnessed the accession of her country into the European Union during her university years. The emergence of a ‘new Europe’ gave her personal insights into societies undergoing rapid social and economic transformation. Gabriela’s passion for exploring the lesson of the past vis-à- vis the threats of the present, brought her to the United Kingdom to study at world-leading universities. It was there that she completed her doctorate. A scholar in corruption, her work masterfully captured the challenges, falls and successes of a metamorphosing Eastern Europe. Dr Bereghazyova’s work is unique as it combines her personal and academic insights with her experience of living and studying across the Middle East. She had the privilege to explore Egypt and Syria, prior to the conflict, further broadening her understanding of a world in transition. Gabriela actively employs her expert know-how and six years of post-graduate research in her consultancy and global bridge-building efforts.
Dr Gabriela Bereghazyova
John is a member of the Slovak diaspora, having escaped from his home country during both the Hitler and the Stalin eras. His professional career was as a professor of biology, but in recent years he has written and spoken often about Slovakia, its history and culture, and its place in European integration. He is the grandson of the first Czechoslovak Prime Minister Milan Hodza.
Growth and Strategy
Lucia was born and grew up in Slovakia. She received a full Erasmus Mundus scholarship to study an international master’s degree in Denmark, Slovenia and Spain. After her studies, she moved to Asia where she spent 2 years working in Singapore and 3 years in Myanmar. Lucia’s specialization lies in business development, growth hacking and community engagement for businesses as well as not-for-profit sector.
Sabina has over 10 years’ senior experience working for a world leading intergovernmental organization. She is also a force of nature, community beacon and key actor in the the Slovak-America community. President of the Slovak-American Cultural Center, she is also the Regional Director for the First Catholic Slovak Union and engaged on the Boards of Drew and Seton Hall Universities.