The Friends of Slovakia and Ambassador Peter Kmec co-hosted a reception and book launch on November 15th for Pavol Demes’ latest book, which explores Slovak-American relations. The event was attended by a large audience, including many members of Friends of Slovakia and Wendy Luers, who played a significant role in strengthening Slovak civil society. Ambassador Kmec and FOS Founding Chairman Ted Russell both gave brief remarks before Pavol Demes discussed the role of U.S. private organizations, individuals, and government in building Slovak civil society after the Velvet Revolution of 1989.
Pavol Demes, a leader working to strengthen Slovak private and voluntary organizations served as Foreign Policy Advisor to President Michael Kovac during the challenging period for Slovak democracy during the Mečiar government (1994-98). Martin Bútora, former Slovak Ambassador to Washington, also contributed to the discussion, emphasizing the importance of U.S. help in getting Slovakia into NATO and the European Union. Demeš noted how Slovak civil society and government are now helping other nations in Eastern and Southern Europe, as well as North Africa, to build their civil societies.
Pavol Demeš’ book “A Collective Portrait: The U.S. Contribution to the Development of Civil Society in Slovakia” was earlier presented at a book launch at the U.S. Embassy in Bratislava at an event hosted by Ambassador Tod Sedgwick.