The 2017 CHF Croatian Emigrant Almanac

The Almanac's 450 pages, divided into eight thematic sections, offer a diversity of material in thirty-two articles linking some twenty countries. For the past eighteen years the Croatian Emigrant Almanac has been edited by Vesna Kukavica, and the popularity and highly informative nature of the now traditional trilingual Croatian/English/Spanish summaries of the published articles is certainly winning over new readers, especially abroad.

The eight thematic sections in the 2017 Almanac – Signs Of The Times, Croatian Philological Horizons, Heritage, Bridges, A History, Spirituality, Science and New Books – offer a diversity of material in thirty-two articles linking some twenty countries. For the past eighteen years the Croatian Emigrant Almanac has been edited by Vesna Kukavica, and the popularity and highly informative nature of the now traditional trilingual Croatian/English/Spanish summaries of the published articles is certainly winning over new readers, especially abroad. The book spans 450 pages, with 65 original illustrations and a dozen easily comprehensible statistical overviews.

In her foreword the tome's editor Kukavica notes that, "Emigrant women are in the focus of interest of the majority of articles in this edition of the CHF almanac, women that have achieved affirmation in various fields of human endeavour, from the arts and sciences to the private sector – bold young women and strong mothers! (…) On the one hand Our Beautiful Homeland lauds its heroines, while on the other it is often women that are exposed to the bitter slices of contemporary family life in migrant settings across the planet, from Alaska to the Tierra del Fuego, from Australia and New Zealand to nearby European migrant worker destinations. (…) The role of women in the emigrant communities has to the present day remained on the margins of interest of the growing number of researchers of the Croatian diaspora.

In terms of its content this year's Almanac endeavours and succeeds in altering this state of affairs. Indicative in this regard are the articles penned by ethnic studies expert Marijeta R. Iveta, diplomat Tuga Tarle, researcher Marina Perić Kaselj, opinion journalist Marija Peakić Mikuljan and, indirectly, the many other authors.

The first section – Signs Of The Times – opens with an article by jurist, political scientist returnee from France and holder of a degree earned at the university in Paris Jure Vujić on Croatia's Visibility in Europe. This is followed by Božo Skoko's The Innovative and Human Potential of Our Beautiful Homeland and longstanding Canadian CHF correspondent Dubravko Barač's interview with Zagreb native Nina Zelenika. Opinion journalist and diplomat Tuga Tarle analyses the role of women in Croatian communities around the world, while CHF reporter Naida Šehović writes of The Croatian Heritage Foundation's Wealth of Programmes.

This year the Croatian Philological Horizons section offers an article penned by Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts corresponding member and long time Canadian resident and university professor Vinko Grubišić on the Croatian language in the Anglophone world and the observations of academician Nikola Benčić, the pre-eminent Croatian philologist in Austria, in his article on The Gradišće Croatian Identity about a brilliant book by researcher Katarina Tyran. Stjepan Blažetin offers a brilliant article with his The World of Books Among Hungarian Croatians. Tihomir Nuić details his observations on Croatian language instruction in Switzerland, currently attended by some nine hundred pupils taught by fourteen teachers. The current director of the Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies Marina Perić Kaselj writes about Chilean Croatian Emigrant Literature as a Research Challenge, offering a unique sociocultural profile of the oldest Croatian emigrant community in South America at Punta Arenas and reconstructing the diverse gallery of figures from the fascinating prose penned by Chileans with roots in Croatia's southern region of Dalmatia.

The Bridges section includes Marijeta Rajković Iveta's article on The Female Aspect of Croatian Emigration: From "White" Widow to Independent Migrant. Her study is based on an ethnographic study conducted from 2005 to 2015 in the highland region villages of the Velebit mountain range and the broader Lika region that have seen centuries of emigration to North America. Marija Rotim focuses on the experiences of emigrant women in Australia in her descriptions of twelve authentic life stories. In his interview with musician and pedagogue Edward J. Mavrinac, Dubravko Barač reveals the rich and diverse career of a member of the generation of Croatians born in Canada. This is followed by the confessions of Slatina native, long time German resident, composer and philanthropist Milko Kelemen. Marija Valčić penned her homage to Croatian-Spanish painter Petar Maruna (1938–2016), an artist who illustrated many of the books published by Hrvatska Revija and the cover pages of the eponymous emigrant magazine that gained cult status under the editorship of Vinko Nikolić. Rebeka Mesarić Žabčić discusses the experiences of returnees to the northern Croatian Međimurje region where they have high hopes for this back-migration.

The A History section offers an article by Marina Perić Kaselj on The Homeland War and the Diaspora: The Concept of the Homeland and of the Identity of Emigrants, while Walter F. Lalich, a researcher at the Croatian Studies department of Sydney's Macquarie University writes about Croatian Migrants in the Defence of Australia During the Second World War. This section also features an interesting vignette of the crossing of the paths of our people from the Dubrovnik littoral with the indigenous nations of modern day North Carolina during the period of the European incursion in the "New World" penned by researcher, Franciscan monk and long time Swiss resident Šimun Šito Ćorić – his article on the Croatan "Indians" is a travelogue taken from his unpublished 1982 collection My American Years. Marijan Lipovac writes of Ivan Kukuljević Sakcinski (1816–1889), a visionary of modern Croatia, while Danijel Labaš offers his take on Luka Brajnović (1919–2001), a reporter and professor of world literature and deontology of journalism at the University of Navarra in Pamplona.

The Heritage section includes an article by Ivan Kosić on The Zrinski Legacy at the National and University Library, on the occasion of an exhibition at the library to mark the 450th anniversary of the Battle of Siget. Marija Peakić Mikuljan writes of the historical treatment of fourteen women covering a span of a thousand years in Nevenka Nekić's book Croatian Heroines. In their article Five Decades of the Cultural Federation of American Croatians Vesna Kukavica and Ivan Čizmić discuss the ethno-cultural development of our diaspora communities on the North American continent.

In the Spirituality section read all about philosopher and priest Friar Serafin Ilija Zečević PhD (1911–1972), a prominent figure in the Croatian community of Canada, from the pen of Stan Granic. Jelena Jindra writes of the Šimun Gallery in Dubrave, a settlement near Brčko in the Bosanska Posavina region. The article details the fascinating collection of modern Croatian and Bosnia-Herzegovinian art founded, collected and donated by friar Stjepan Pavić.

In her article in the Science section on The Magic World of Nanoscience Tanja Rudež writes of Aleksandra Radenović, an associate professor with the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. In her article on The Secrets of the Earth's Core Rudež discusses the work of researcher Hrvoje Tkalčić, a native of Bjelovar and this year's Australian Research Achievement Excellence Award laureate. The Network of Researchers of Croatian Extraction – people like Mirko Dikšić, Vinko Grubišić, Šime Malenica and Nenad Šestan – are in the focus of an article by Iva Buljan.

In the New Books section read Rajka Bućin's A Guide Through the Holdings and Collections of the Croatian State Archives, Ivo Žanić's analysis in An Essay on the Croatian Identity and Stan Granic's John Felix Clissa's Contribution to the Preservation of the Molise Croatian Dialect. Vesna Kukavica recommends the one thousand eight hundred page dictionary available through the amazing digital mobile communication repository offered by publisher Školska Knjiga (www.rjecnici.hr), offering registered users the living lexical wealth of the Croatian language. Member of European Parliament Tonino Picula writes about The New Croatian Paradigm, a book penned by a returnee from Argentina and the current Croatian foreign minister Davor I. Stier.

Text by: Diana Šimurina Šoufek; Photos by: Snježana Radoš


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