Bridget Brink Confirmed as Next U.S. Ambassador to Slovakia

On July 11, 2019 members of the Friends of Slovakia (FOS) Executive Committee met with Ambassador Brink at the State Department in Washington DC to get acquainted and discuss her plans for the new post. The White House announced in March 2019 that President Trump had nominated Bridget Brink, a career foreign service diplomat, to serve as the next ambassador to Slovakia.  Confirmed by the Senate on May 23 by voice vote, she will replace Adam Sterling, another career diplomat, who has served in Bratislava since 2016.

Brink is a highly distinguished diplomat who has represented the U.S. in a number of countries, including Georgia, Uzbekistan, Greece, Cyprus and Turkey.  She also had an important policymaking role in Washington DC serving as a deputy assistant secretary in the State Department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs.  Ambassador Brink is originally from Michigan and holds two masters’ degrees from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

At her nomination hearing on May 16 before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee she outlined her priorities as the future ambassador to Slovakia.  First, she would reinforce the U.S. defense partnership with Slovakia.  As a member of NATO, Slovakia contributes to NATO missions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Latvia, has been upgrading its NATO-interoperable equipment, including its recent purchase of 14 U.S.-made F-16s, and is on track to meet it 2-percent of GDP defense spending commitment.  She would also encourage increased energy security for Slovakia and its region.  Second, Brink would promote increased trade and investment opportunities, including opportunities for U.S. firms to export to and invest in Slovakia, and also for Slovak firms to invest in the U.S.  Third, she would prioritize our shared values, including strengthening democratic institutions and rule of law as well as greater accountability and transparency in government.

The hearing was chaired by Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and other senators who participated in the hearing were Ranking Member Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Tom Udall (D-NM).  Brink’s full statement and a video of the hearing are available on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee website:


2018 Slovakia Anniversary Year Celebrations Kick Off with Capitol Hill Reception

The Year 2018 is a special anniversary year for Slovakia, with celebrations commemorating the events of 100, 50 and 25 years ago. The Slovak Embassy kicked  off the year’s celebrations with a special reception held in Washington, D.C. on January 19 in the ornate Members’ Room of the Library of Congress on Capitol Hill. The focus of  the reception was on the 25th anniversary of Slovakia’s independence, when it split from the former Czechoslovakia in 1993, and its remarkable achievements in terms of  integration with Europe and transatlantic institutions, as well as strong bilateral relations with the U.S. under the theme, Together for Freedom and Democracy. At the same time the events that led to the formation of Czechoslovakia in 1918 following WWI were commemorated, along with the spirit of freedom and democracy displayed during the ‘Prague Spring’ of 1968.

Slovak Ambassador Peter Kmec led the celebration and spoke of the Slovakia’s struggles and achievements on the road to independence. He acknowledged the support of a number of American individuals and organizations, including Friends of Slovakia, the Slovak fraternal organizations, the Slovak League and many others. Also giving remarks at the event were the co-chairs of the Congressional Slovak Caucus, Rod Blum (R-Iowa) and Peter Visclosky (D-IN). In addition, remarks were provided on
behalf of the U.S. State Department by Matthew A. Palmer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.

Following the event, the publication Diplomatic Connections (Mar-Apr issue) published an excellent interview with Ambassador Kmec that summarized Slovakia’s  achievements in the past 25 years, and also provided some nice photos of the Capitol Hill event. See this link and turn to page 14 for the story.


Also, for other events during this anniversary year check the FOS website, or watch for FOS e-blasts. To get on the list for e-blasts and/or to update your contact information send a note to .FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblr

Book launch: Friend – Partner – Ally, by Dr. Pavol Demeš

Book cover: Friend - Partner - Ally by Pavol Demes

Dr. Pavol Demeš celebrates publication of a revised edition of his excellent book “Friend-Partner-Ally” in a book launch sponsored by Ambassador Adam Sterling at the US Embassy in Bratislava on February 6.  

A link to the book launch and to the pdf version of the book is attached. Friends of Slovakia sponsored a well-attended talk by Dr. Demeš on US-Slovak relations entitled “Slovakia and the United States: The Ties that Bind” at the Slovak Embassy in Washington onNovember 13.”

Information on book launch

Book in pdf (use keyboard arrows to turn pages)

Pavol Demes Friend-Partner-Ally revised edtion book launch announcementFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblr

CEPA Forum 2017 in Washington DC Examines Atlanticism in a Time of Change

Slovak State Secretary, Ivan Korcok, speaking at the CEPA Forum. (Photo courtesy of CEPA)

Slovak State Secretary, Ivan Korcok, speaking at the CEPA Forum. (Photo courtesy of CEPA)

The annual transatlantic security conference organized by the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) has become the leading event in Washington D.C. focused on issues in Central and Eastern Europe. The theme of this year’s CEPA Forum 2017 was “Preserving Atlanticism in a Time of Change,” and was held on September 21-22 in Washington, D.C. The Forum was organized by CEPA in cooperation with the Embassy of Hungary and together with a number of corporate and non-profit supporters, including the Visegrad Fund, Friends of Slovakia (FOS) and American Friends of the Czech Republic. FOS has provided support to the Forum for the past several years. This year, Ivan Korcok, Slovak State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, and Dusan Fischer, Researcher with the Slovak Foreign Policy Assn., were featured speakers.

Ivan Korcok, Slovak State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.

Ivan Korcok, Slovak State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs. (Photo courtesy of CEPA)

Dusan Fischer, Researcher, Slovak Foreign Policy Assn. (Photo courtesy of CEPA)

Dusan Fischer, Researcher, Slovak Foreign Policy Assn. (Photo courtesy of CEPA)

The two-day conference presented several panels featuring experts and government officials discussing various aspects of transatlantic relations from a variety of perspectives, including those of the U.S, E.U. and the individual countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The first day panels held at the historic Willard Hotel examined issues such as: Strengthening the Visegrad Four (V-4); Reforming NATO for the 21 st Century; The Impact of U.S.-Russia Relations on Euro-Atlantic Security; the War of Narratives in the Information Age; U.S. and European Perspectives on Migration and Security. The second day of the conference was held at the Meridian International Center and focused more specifically on defense and military issues, particularly the threat to its neighbors arising from Russia’s recent actions. This second day of the CEPA Forum was off-the- record. You can view the full video of the first day conference sessions, by accessing

 Dusan Fischer comments at the CEPA Forum (Photo courtesy of CEPA)

Dusan Fischer comments at the CEPA Forum (Photo courtesy of CEPA)

Dusan Fischer (center) participates in CEPA Forum panel on Migration and Security (Photo courtesy of CEPA)

Dusan Fischer (center) participates in CEPA Forum panel on Migration and Security (Photo courtesy of CEPA)

Lt. General Ben Hodges, Commander, U.S. Army Europe (center) at the CEPA Forum, with (left) Karin Shuey, Washington, DC Director of the Estonian American National Council and (right) Ken Bombara, Vice Chairman, Friends of Slovakia.

Lt. General Ben Hodges, Commander, U.S. Army Europe (center) at the CEPA Forum, with (left) Karin Shuey, Washington, DC Director of the Estonian American National Council and (right) Ken Bombara, Vice Chairman, Friends of Slovakia.


CEO of the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library, Gail Naughton, by Pavol Demes

CEO Gail NaughtonHere is an interview of the President and CEO of the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library, Gail Naughton,  by Pavol Demes, former Slovak Minister of International Relations, Foreign Policy Advisor to the President of Slovakia and currently Senior Non-Resident Fellow with the German Marshall Fund. CEO Naughton describes some of the exciting programs the NCSML plans going forward including celebrations in 2018 of the Centennial of the creation of an independent nation of Czechs and Slovaks.


Read more:

FOS Cheers on Team Slovakia at the 2017 First Global Robotics Competition

FOS made an appearance to cheer on our young Team Slovakia at the 2017 international robotics competition hosted by First Global and held at the DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, DC.  The annual competition aims to boost passion and engagement for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math in youth around the world.

Like, comment, and share our photos over on our Facebook page:

Slovak team member working on robot

Slovak team member working on robot

Members of Team Slovakia

Members of Team Slovakia

Team Ambassador, Stefan Vadocz, of Aeromobil

Team Ambassador, Stefan Vadocz, of Aeromobil

Team Slovak Robot

Team Slovak Robot

Amb. Kmec confers with Team Slovakia

Amb. Kmec confers with Team Slovakia


Lajcak Elected President of the UN Assembly

Miroslav Lacjak at the UNOn May 31, the United Nations General Assembly elected by acclimation Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak of Slovakia as President of its upcoming 72nd session.  Following his election at UN Headquarters in New York, Mr. Lajcak outlined his priorities for his tenure: people; peace and prevention; migration; sustainable development goals; climate action; and human rights, which would guide his work as an overarching principle.

FOS Board members Joe Senko and Sabina Sabados at the Lacjak receptionFriends of Slovakia Board members Joe Senko and Sabrina Sabados were among the guests at a reception given by Frantisek Ruzicka, Permanent Representative of the Slovak Republic to the United Nations, honoring Mr. Lajcak’s election.FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblr

2017 Slovak Summer Scholars are Now in Washington

The 2017 Slovak summer scholars are now in Washington!

Friends of Slovakia (FOS) is pleased to announce that we currently have five Slovak scholars studying and interning in Washington, DC this summer through the Fund for American Studies (TFAS). This marks the 14th consecutive year of our scholarship program, which has continued thanks to generous support from a variety of donors. The Slovak America Foundation (SAF) has been sponsoring students since 2012, and this year, we have additional funding from the Slovak American Business and Innovation Council (SABIC). The scholars will remain in Washington through late July.

FOS 2017 Summer Scholars

A special thank you to these supporting organizations and our many generous individual, corporate, and nonprofit donors:

TFAS logo
SAF logo
SABIC logo

This year’s scholars include the following:

FOS Summer Scholar Maria Sofia TakacovaMária Sofia Takáčová (from Košice-Krásna) is completing her Bachelor’s degree in Management at Comenius University in Bratislava. She has worked as an intern at Google (focusing on Digital Garage) and has served as a Client account administrator at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Bratislava. Takáčová is active in the Consulting Club Bratislava, a student organization that helps students develop hard-skills, soft-skills and network required to pass the highest level job interviews. In addition, she has been involved in the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award as a volunteer and a mentor. During her stay in Washington, Takáčová is interning at Mentors, Inc. Her summer scholarship is sponsored by FOS individual donors.

FOS Summer Scholar Matúš ZáhradníkMatúš Záhradník (from Ružomberok) will complete his Master’s degree in Public Policy at Comenius University this August. During his studies, he has been employed as marketing coordinator at Nexteria, an NGO that works with young leaders in business and the non-profit sector. In that role, Záhradník has worked on events and outreach (including social media promotion) and has been responsible for the Leadership Academy program’s hiring campaign. He has also worked with SAF on the Startup Awards. While in Washington, Záhradník is interning at the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative – Hoyas Startup Program. His summer scholarship is sponsored by SAF.

FOS Summer Scholar Jaroslav LeitmannJaroslav Leitmann (from Kľačno, near Prievidza) recently completed his Master’s degree in International Public Policy at University College London. He has worked as a project assistant at the Slovak innovation company Neulogy and as a communications consultant at the Slovak Organization for R&D Activities, where he led an online strategy for a science popularization project. Leitmann has also interned with the European Commission. During his stay in Washington, Leitmann is working at the company TE Connectivity. His summer scholarship is sponsored by SAF.

FOS Summer Scholar Andrea RatkosovaAndrea Ratkošová (from Malý Šariš, near Prešov) is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in International Relations at Masaryk University in Brno, with expected completion in 2018. Her work experience includes corporate partnerships assistant with GLOBSEC and development activities with the Pontis Foundation. She is a Vice President in the Student Section of the International Institute of Political Science at her university. While in Washington, Ratkošová is interning at the Slovak Embassy. Her summer scholarship is sponsored by SABIC.


FOS 2017 Summer Scholar Michaela Halasova

Michaela Halásová (from Bratislava) will earn her Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Amsterdam this autumn. She has worked in the human capital area with the LEAF organization and has also been employed with Venture Investors Corporate Finance and Accenture. Moreover, Halásová participated in McKinsey’s SHE Leads program, EY’s Leadership Academy, and the Turing Society Front End Bootcamp. During her stay in Washington, Halásová is interning at the National Academy of Public Administration. Her summer scholarship is sponsored by SABIC.


For anyone who would like to contribute to funding a scholarship for summer 2018, please see the FOS website. The TFAS programs have proved invaluable to past scholars.FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblr

Our values are our strongest survival weapon

President Andrej Kiska speaking at the Global Security Forum 2017

On Friday, President Andrej Kiska held a speech at the annual GLOBSEC Bratislava Global Security Forum:

“It’s been only few hours since I came back from NATO summit in Brussels. This one was highly anticipated. Not surprisingly — it was the first summit of head of states and governments with the participation of the new US president. And let’s be honest, in months since the US elections many of us in this room were worried about what to expect. Fortunately, our transatlantic bond is as strong as ever. We stick together, we guard each other’s back. The Alliance remains the backbone of our security. And moreover, we have a new ally on board — Montenegro.

All 28 member states are determined to fulfill their share of responsibility. This is also important for me personally as the president of the Slovak Republic. Some of you may know that I’ve been very vocal about the half-hearted attitude of our authorities towards our NATO commitments. So I was pleased to announce yesterday in Brussels that the government approved Slovak contribution to securing our allies in the Baltics through so-called enhanced forward presence. Moreover, we will join up fighting terrorism efforts of the Alliance by deploying Slovak troops to Iraq.”

President Kiska spoke on three points:
“First: we struggle lately to maintain institutions of the West — be it NATO or the EU — as fellowship of truly democratic countries based on common values.

Second, we allowed the enemies of the free world to get into our heads, to meddle too much in our own affairs.

Third, we let our elections to be deformed into a survival game of our democratic destiny.”

Read the entire speech on Global Security Forum website:

Pavol Demeš interviews US Ambassador to Slovakia Adam Sterling

Pavol Demeš, host of the World Here & Now talk show and senior non-resident fellow with the German Marshal Fund of the US, interviewed the US Ambassador to Slovakia Adam Sterling.

Interview main topics include:
► U.S. – Slovak Relations and NATO
► U.S. Steel Kosice
► New U.S. Administration
► Tweeting & Social Media by the U.S. Embassy in Bratislava
► U.S. – Russia Relations
► Trump – Putin Meeting
► U.S. President Trump – NATO Summit in Brussels
► Amb. Sterling’s pastimes

Watch the full 25 minute interview (full screen option):

Click below to read more about Ambassador Sterling, the interview, and World Here & Now:

WORLD HERE & NOW: Pavol Demes with Adam Sterling, U.S. Ambassador to Slovakia