Donald Pafko Named Honorary Consul of the Slovak Republic in Minnesota

Thursday evening, December 10, 2009 marked the official opening ceremony and reception for Donald Pafko as newly appointed Honorary Consul of the Slovak Republic in Minnesota.

             Don Pafko
                                                Donald Pafko

Mr. Pafko has promoted the preservation of the Slovak heritage with his involvement in ethnic events around the northwestern United States for many years. As Honorary Consul he will assume duties to strengthen ties between Slovakia and the United States. The establishment of a Slovak Consulate in Minnesota smoothes the way to facilitate both potential and existing areas of partnership in trade, business, and travel between the two countries. Mr. Pafko is the Founder and Director of the Lipa Slovak Dancers from Minnesota. He and wife Jeanette graciously share a vast knowledge of Slovak Kroje (folk dress) with presentations and exhibits from their personal collection.

Mark Pafko acted as Master of Ceremonies for his father’s momentous occasion. The Ambassador of the Slovak Republic to the United States, H.E. Peter Burian, was the Guest of Honor and Main Speaker at the event. Other members from the Slovak Embassy in Washington, D.C. included Mr. Radomir Bohac, Director General for Economic Cooperation and Development Aid, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic; Mr. Vit Koziak, Second Secretary, Embassy of the Slovak Republic to the United States, and Mr. Fedor Roll, Head of the Consular and EU JHA Section.

Mr. Jake Slegers, Director, American Chamber of Commerce, Bratislava, Slovakia, was also a special guest speaker and lauded Mr. Pafko’s past service record.

Andrea Jilovec, Director of Education and Programs represented the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Ginger Simek, President of the Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International represented that organization.

Also attending were Mr. Jeff Phillips, International Trade Representative Europe-Russia, Minnesota Trade Office; Dr. Josef Mestenhauser, Professor Emeritus, University of Minnesota; Ms. Molly Portz, Chief of Staff, Office of International Programs, University of Minnesota; Ms. Sarah Pikul, Social Sales Manager, Radisson Plaza Hotel, Minneapolis, Tami Satre, Vice President of Operations for Junior Achievement in Wisconsin and Toni Brendel, Author, “Slovak American Touches”, Board of Directors, Phillips Czechoslovakian Community Festival, Phillips, Wisconsin and several others with American-Slovak interests.

By Toni Brendel