Ambassador of the Slovak Republic in Canada, H.E. Vít Koziak visited Calgary on March 3. On the agenda was a visit to the University of Calgary to negotiate the cooperation of this important Canadian university with the Technical University of Košice. Then he visited the Calgary Flames NHL hockey club, on whose ice the logo of the Slovak company ESET appeared for the first time. Internet security software firm ESET has a trade representative office and research institute in Canada. Mr. Koziak also visited Hon. Tom Kmiec, member of the Canadian Federal Parliament from Calgary who is a member of the Canadian-Slovak parliamentary friendship group.
The highlight of the visit was a friendly dinner with representatives of Slovak organizations in Calgary at the only Slovak restaurant in the Calgary area, Red Rock Pizza in Okotoks. The evening was organized by the Honorary Consul of the Slovak Republic for Alberta, Dr. Eva Hadzima and was attended by representatives of the Slovak School, the Slovak Library, Branch 65 of the Canadian Slovak League, the dance groups Slniečko and Slnečnica, as well as the former Honorary Consul of the Slovak Republic Prof. Ľudovít Zanzotto, and a priest of Slovak origin, Ján Baštigal, who regularly celebrates Slovak Holy Mass in Calgary.
Although the Red Rock Pizza restaurant focuses on this Italian food, the Slovak owners Faustína and Jakub Jokl can prepare any Slovak dish perfectly, and their chef is from Slovakia. On this occasion, the main course was an excellent chicken schnitzel. The restaurant organized an excellent Slovak dinner for Christmas last year and plans to offer a similar culinary treat for Easter.
Ambassador Koziak thanked those present for maintaining a rich and active life in the local Slovak community and also emphasized the important business and professional relations between Alberta and Slovakia. At the same time, however, he said that this is actually his farewell visit to Alberta, because he will return to Slovakia in the summer and continue his diplomatic services at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The embassy is also actively working on the visit of the President of the Slovak Republic, Zuzana Čaputová, to Canada, because the Slovak head of state has not visited Canada for 20 years.
At the end, Ambassador Koziak presented the restaurant with a calendar about Slovakia and a hockey puck made in Slovakia, which is also used in the NHL. Together with the honorary consul, they showed the Slovak dolls that travel to Slovak schools all over the world and that came from the Slovak school in Vancouver and are going to the Slovak school in Montreal.
We thank the ambassador for the friendly meeting and wish him a successful continuation of diplomatic services for Slovakia.
Text: Paul Carnogursky
Photos: Paul Carnogursky and Dr. Eva Hadzima