The American Formation of Czecho-Slovakia: the Cleveland Agreement and the Pittsburgh Pact

The Slovak American Society of Washington, D.C. 
Friends of Slovakia present:

“The American Formation of Czecho-Slovakia: the Cleveland Agreement and the Pittsburgh Pact”
by Prof. Gregory C. Ference, Salisbury University

Saturday, September 29th, 2:00 pm
Columbia Pike Branch Library
816 South Walter Reed Dr.
Arlington, VA


Gregory C. Ference is a professor of history at Salisbury University in Maryland. He received his BA in history, with a certificate in Russian and East European Studies, from the University of Pittsburgh. He holds an MLS, an MA, and a PhD in East European History from Indiana University in Bloomington, concentrating on Czechoslovakia, its predecessor, and successor states. While at Indiana, he was the assistant Slavic bibliographer, and currently, is the secretary-treasurer of the Czechoslovak Studies Association.

Admission is free, but RSVP is required, by 11 pm, Wednesday, September 26th, to
With the outbreak of war in 1914, American Slovaks started looking for alternatives to remaining in Austria-Hungary.  They eventually settled on an independent Czecho-Slovakia, but were afraid of assimilation by the larger Czech population in such a state.  In October 1915, representatives of American Czechs and Slovaks met in Cleveland in order to end such fears and adopted an accord that called for Slovak autonomy in a joint republic.  Yet, concerns remained. In May 1918, Tomáš G. Masaryk, the leader of the Czecho-Slovak liberation effort visited Pittsburgh. The American Slovaks wanted him to sign the Cleveland Agreement to allay their apprehensions about the joint union.  Masaryk, however, believed it out of date and then wrote, to replace it, what became known as the Pittsburgh Pact. Although the leaders of the American Czechs and Slovaks enthusiastically endorsed the agreement, it soon caused much discord in the new Czechoslovakia.

Slovakia’s Borders on the Move

“Borders on the Move: a Look at Southern Slovakia’s Tumultuous 20th Century” was the subject of an evening lecture at the Slovak Embassy on June 15 sponsored by Friends of Slovakia and the Slovak American Society of Washington DC (SASW). Professor Leslie J. Waters of Randolph-Macon College addressed a full house audience of SASW and FOS supporters. She described the dramatic changes in the Slovak-Hungarian border in 1918 and again in 1938, 1939 and after World War II.

Prof. Leslie Waters receives M.R. Stefanik mug from FOS Founding Chairman Ted Russell

Prof. Waters provided the political context for these changes and described the dramatic impact on local populations suddenly finding themselves ruled by a radically different political regime. Members of the audience, including some who had lived through World War II in Slovakia, had a chance to ask questions and then socialize with Dr. Waters after the lecture.

Prof. Waters, SASW President Brian Belensky, Amb. Ted Russell (Ret.), Dr. George Mesko.


FOS Salutes Ambassador Kmec

Slovak Ambassador to Washington Peter Kmec was honored at a Friends of Slovakia farewell reception hosted on May 19 by FOS Treasurer Dr. Eva Jenkins and her husband Robert in their lovely home in Great Falls.

40 guests including FOS and Slovak American Society of Washington members feasted on American BBQ fare with a “touch of Slovakia”. FOS Vice Chairman Ken Bombara presented an elegant tray with an American flag motif to Ambassador Kmec and wished him and his lovely spouse Monika, away in Europe on that date, Godspeed and great future success. FOS Founding Chairman Ambassador Ted Russell (Ret.) then presented Ambassador Kmec with the FOS Medal of Honor for his distinguished service in building ties of Slovak-American cooperation and friendship. Ambassador Kmec responded with a summary of some of his objectives in Washington extending back to his time as Slovak Deputy Chief of Mission when he was instrumental in gaining US Senate support for Slovakia’s 2004 NATO membership bid and moving forward to his successful efforts as Ambassador to increase commercial, political and military security ties between Slovakia and the USA, including extensive travels around our country.



Friends of Slovakia Scholarship 2017

Dear Professors, Alumni/ae, and Potential Scholars:

On behalf of the Friends of Slovakia (FOS), a US based non-profit organization devoted to promoting good relations between Slovakia and the United States, we are writing to inform you of an opportunity that we hope you will bring to the attention of your students and friends. Every summer since 2004, FOS has provided support for Slovak students to participate in the summer programs of the Fund for American Studies (TFAS). Thanks to backing from the Slovak-American Foundation (SAF) and other donors, we are able to sponsor up to five students for the 2017 FOS Slovak Scholars program, which is scheduled to take place from 3 June-28 July. FOS will give special consideration to candidates who are planning a career in business/entrepreneurship, philanthropy, or journalism. All students must meet the criteria set by TFAS in order to be considered for an FOS Scholarship and are also required to meet the program’s English proficiency guidelines. For students demonstrating financial need, scholarships from FOS and TFAS will cover most program costs (including housing), but Slovak students will be responsible for travel costs, living expenses, as well as health care through the George Mason University (GMU) student insurance plan.

Since 2013, the TFAS programs have taken place at GMU’s campus in Arlington, VA, and students are housed at George Washington University in Washington, DC. Participants not only increase their knowledge by attending courses and lectures but also are able to interact with students from many of the top universities in the US, in addition to other international students. Moreover, students hold internships for approximately 30 hours per week, giving them practical work experience in the United States.

Students who are interested should complete their applications as instructed on the TFAS website at The application deadline for international students is 20 January 2017. A copy of the applications should also be sent by email to Dr. Sharon Wolchik at swolchik at gmail dot com and Dr. Sharon Fisher at sharon dot fisher at ihs dot com. Students may also send a printed copy of their applications to Dr. Sharon Wolchik, IERES, 1957 E Street, George Washington University, Washington, DC 20052.

Slovak students who have participated in this program have found it to be extremely beneficial and have remained in touch through groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as regular events in Bratislava. We hope that you will make your students and friends aware of this opportunity and urge those whom you think would benefit to apply. If anyone has additional questions, we would be happy to put potential candidates in touch with previous scholars from Slovakia.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Sharon Wolchik and Dr. Sharon Fisher


Lunch with Slovak State Secretary

Members of the FOS Board of Directors met at lunch with State Secretary for Foreign and European Affairs Lukas Parizek and Ambassador Peter Kmec at the Slovak Embassy September 30 to discuss our cooperation with the Slovak Embassy and the Slovak American Business and Innovation Council aimed at maintaining and strengthening US-Slovak ties of friendship. FOS Board members Sharon Fisher, Ken Bombara and Ted Russell explained FOS programs to State Secretary Parizek, including our flagship summer FOS Slovak Scholars study and internship program conducted by The Fund for American Studies at George Mason University.

FOS Meeting with State Secretary Lukas Parizek Sept 30, 2016

FOS Meeting with State Secretary Lukas Parizek Sept 30, 2016


FOS Slovak Scholars at the Slovak Embassy

Ambassador Kmec and Friends of Slovakia hosted a farewell reception for the four 2016 FOS Slovak Scholars at the Slovak Embassy on July 22. The FOS Scholars are finishing up their two month studies organized by The Fund for American Studies (TFAS) at George Mason University and their internships with local organizations. Pictured from left to right are Barbara Skoloutova, a graduate student of journalism and a junior reporter for Slovak Public Radio & TV, Lenka Slezakova whose field is international strategic management and energy policy, Ivana Kohutiarova, a graduate student in finance, and Martin Homola, who is working on a graduate degree in business economics.

Attendees at the reception included TFAS Executive Vice President Steve Slattery, Mallie Woodfin, TFAS Recruitment & Admissions Manager, Mary MacPherson, President & CEO of the Slovak-American Foundation, a major supporter of the FOS Scholars program, FOS Chairman Joe Senko and FOS Founding Chairman Ted Russell and SABIC Board Member Thomas Kosik representing Virtual Reality Media (VRM).”

FOS Scholars 2016


Letter from FOS Chairman

Greetings. I am Joe Senko, Chairman of Friends of Slovakia (FOS). Our organization urgently needs your support for the 2016 FOS Slovak Scholars Program and to keep up its rich offering of programs supporting Slovak-American Friendship.

In 2015 we were able to offer five summer scholarships to outstanding Slovak university students to study at the Fund for American Studies Program at George Mason University and to intern with outstanding Washington think tanks and non-profit organizations.

Reception honoring Friends of Slovakia Scholars at the Slovak Embassy in Washington, DC

Reception honoring Friends of Slovakia Scholars at the Slovak Embassy in Washington, DC

FOS also brought a model of the Aeromobil Slovak-manufactured flying car to the US for display at the Smithsonian and onward travel for a US-wide tour.

We partnered with the Center for European Policy Analysis to sponsor an outstanding forum on transatlantic security.

A top Slovak film maker received our support for films on US pilots shot down over Slovakia in WWII and aided by brave Slovak families as well as his new film on Iwo Jima hero SGT Michael Strank who helped raise our flag on Mt. Suribachi.

And we have again co-sponsored the annual Czech and Slovak Freedom lecture at the Woodrow Wilson Center keeping alive the spirit of the Velvet Revolution of 1989.

FOS volunteers can only maintain our flagship Slovak Scholarship program and other important initiatives in 2016 with your support. Thank you for your tax deductible donation!

Joe Senko
Chairman, Friends of Slovakia