Advertisement:

The President of the Slovak Republic Attends Installation of Local Honorary Consul

Slovak Republic President Ivan Gasparovic and other dignitaries traveled from the NATO summit to Lisle on Monday evening to officially open the Consulate of the Slovak Republic in Chicago and to install Rosemary Macko Wisnosky as honorary consul. Ceremonies were held at the Krasa Center at Benedictine University.

President Gasparovic was greeted at the door of the Krasa Center by Wisnosky, President of Benedictine University Dr. William Carroll, Lisle Mayor Joseph Broda, and Naperville Mayor A. George Pradel.

Members of the Slovakia delegation included Mr. Peter Burian, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Ambassador to the United States; Mr. Miroslav Lajcak, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic, and several others.

Prior to the installation ceremony, dignitaries met in private meetings with business leaders and honorary consuls.

Dr. Juraj Siska, who has worked with Wisnosky on partnership initiatives between American and Slovak businesses for several years, was the master of ceremonies. Ambassador Burian spoke about Wisnosky’s work on behalf of Slovakia for many years. Through an interpreter, President Gasparovic said that he asked to attend the installation when he learned that it was not far from where he would be traveling for the NATO summit. Looking at Wisnosky, he said, “It is a true honor to be here to install you as honorary consul.” Then he explained that until recently Slovakia had always been under another country or part of one. Now Slovakia is a separate country, part of NATO, and it has a seat at the table with the United States, France, and other countries.” He received a standing ovation.

United States Representative Judy Biggert also spoke to the 400 assembled guests. Addressing the president, she said, “We are so pleased that you were able to participate in the first U.S.-hosted NATO summit in more than a decade. While the NATO summit has concluded, our shared commitment to peace carries on. And tonight we’re here to strengthen the special bond between our great nations.”

She added, “Already, we have so much in common with the people of Slovakia. Both of our nations are representative democracies that recognize the vital importance of free elections. Both of our nations embrace religious tolerance. And both of our nations agree that free markets and free trade are the path to prosperity.”

During the ceremony, the Benet Academy Madrigal Choir, directed by Brian Wand, sang “The Star Spangled Banner” and Slovakia’s national anthem, “Nad Tatrou Sa Blyska” (“Lightning Flashes over the Tatra Mountains”). At the end of the evening, they sang “Nitra, Mila Nitra” (“Nitra Beloved Nitra”).

Guests were also treated to an exhibit of artwork by three prominent Slovak artists. Instrumental music was performed by Benet Academy and Benedictine University students and by Veselica, a Slovak folk ensemble from Chicago.

The location for the installation was suggested by Wisnosky because of her long association with Benedictine University and its ties to the people of Slovakia. Benedictine University President William Carroll said, “It is an honor for Benedictine University to host the special installation of the honorary Slovak consul, Rosemary Macko Wisnosky for two reasons. Rosemary is a long serving Benedictine University Trustee and a wonderful advocate and supporter of Slovakia. We celebrate her recognition and success. This installation also reminds Benedictine University of its roots as an institution founded to educate Czechoslovakian immigrants. The values instilled in these immigrants by the early monks of St. Procopius Abbey are the same values we instill in our students today.”

In the role of honorary consul, Wisnosky will help organize official Slovak visits, help develop Slovak commercial, economic and tourist events, extend assistance to scientists, artists, journalists, teachers, students and others, and assist citizens of the Slovak Republic abroad who find themselves in distress, as defined by international law.

Wisnosky, a Naperville resident with a strong Slovak heritage, has been actively involved in cultural exchanges, economic development, and various diplomatic efforts with Slovakia throughout the past 25 years. She was a founding member of the Slovak American Cultural Society of the Midwest in the late 1980s. A few years later, Naperville Mayor Samuel Macrane asked her to be on a task force to identify several cities within emerging Central and Eastern European democracies that would be good candidates to become a sister city. The task force established 31 criteria and held competitions with several cities. Nitra, Slovakia, was ultimately selected, and a partnership between the two cities was formalized in 1993. Wisnosky served on the Sister Cities Commission and was its second chair.

She also assisted Thomas Klimek Ward, the former honorary consul of the Slovak Republic in Chicago, who served in the position from 1995 until 2010. When he retired, he recommended that Wisnosky be named to that position.

According to Naperville Mayor A. George Pradel, “Rosemary has been working on various initiatives for Slovakia for many years. The benefit of her being named honorary consul is that she lives in the area and is well respected by the Slovak government and area groups.” He added, “Because of her heritage, Rosemary understands the history and culture of both countries. This relationship will be strengthened by her involvement, and we all look forward to her leadership.”

Wisnosky has traveled to Slovakia on numerous occasions. She went there in 1993 to ratify the Sister City agreement and visited again in 1996 in an official capacity. In 1998, she returned to Slovakia as part of a delegation to celebrate the 750th anniversary of Nitra receiving a royal city charter. Then, in 2000, she traveled to Slovakia with Ward because each of them was being named “Honored Citizen of Nitra.” It was the first time the award was given to anyone not born on Slovak soil. The honor was later bestowed on Mayor A. George Pradel as well. Wisnosky’s entire family joined her at that time and visited the ancestral villages of Rosemary’s grandparents.

In 2011 Wisnosky traveled to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, for her honorary consul candidate interview, which was led by senior members of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During her visit, with assistance from the Slovak government, she and her colleague, Juraj Siska, introduced several interested U.S. businesses to potential Slovak business partners. CEOs from those U.S. businesses participated in a special scheduled business meeting with President Gasparovic that was held before Monday’s installation ceremony.

“I have great pride in my heritage,” Wisnosky noted. “Through the years I have developed wide networks of people in Slovakia and in the United States that have continued to enrich my understanding of the culture and history in the region. As honorary consul, my first interest is helping to develop economic ties between the two countries. I am truly honored to be given this opportunity.”

The consular office is located at 34 S. Washington Street, Naperville. Meetings are by appointment only. Wisnosky can be reached at (630) 816-1634 and at Chicago@HonorarySlovakConsul.com.

Share this story

Flag as inappropriate

Advertisement: