25 exceptional individuals received the honorary title Slovenian Congress Ambassador 2020

Slovenian Ambassador Program
Photo Credit: Marko Delbello Ocepek

Slovenian Convention Bureau hosted the Slovenian Ambassador Programme on 30th November and announced this year’s Slovenian Congress Ambassadors. Their dedication, hard-work, international links and perseverance have helped Slovenia to host numerous international scientific, business and sports events. The Slovenian Ambassador Programme was established last year with the help of Slovenian Convention Bureau and in cooperation with Ljubljana Tourism and 16 partners.

Due to the epidemiological conditions, this year’s ceremony could not take place live. For this reason, the organisers decided to create an event in the virtual environment, and that way still honours the recipients of the esteemed accolades.

The difficult and unpredictable times in which we are living is forcing all of us to adapt to the current situation. In light of this, the newly set-up Studio 20.20 at the GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre in the Povodni Mož Hall was the perfect choice to host the online ceremony.

The online event was attended by select guests in the studio, who shared their views on the future of scientific events and business meetings in the future with the participants of the event. The guests also explained how event organisation has changed and how they adapted to the new reality, as well as sharing their experience with the events of this year (virtual, hybrid, online or live).

The hosts in the studio were joined by two of last year’s Slovenian Congress Ambassadors: PhD, Rado Pišot, head of Science and Research Center of Koper and Prof. PhD, Marko Anderluh, M.Sc. Pharm., University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Pharmacy. Joining them in sharing their opinion with the online audience was Prof. PhD, Maja Rupnik, National Laboratory of Health, Environment and Food (NLZOH), whose interview was filmed beforehand.

The online audience and co-speakers in the studio were greeted by Miha Kovačič, CEO of the Slovenian Convention Bureau, as well as M.Sc. Maja Pak, director of the Slovenian Tourist Board and M.Sc. Petra Stušek, Managing Director of Tourism Ljubljana – two representatives of the institutions which enabled the successful execution of the ceremony in cooperation with the 15 project partners.

Due to current conditions, the technical team recorded the interviews with every Slovenian Congress Ambassador 2020 beforehand. As part of the event, short statements and excerpts were shown to the attendees, whereas the full interviews will be available at the website of Slovenian Ambassador Programme.

Prof. Igor Papič, Chancellor of the University of Ljubljana, joined the studio live. Through his work, as part of CIGRE, CIRED and IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) he helped to attract several meetings to Ljubljana and Slovenia. The University of Ljubljana, under Prof. Igor Papič’s leadership, is further strengthening its strategic collaboration with important Slovenian scientific and research institutions as well as the international environment.

Seven members of the Slovenian Ambassador Programme Committee, composed of representatives of destinations and members of the Slovenian Convention Bureau, selected the 25 recipients of the esteemed title at the end of October. Among the newly-awarded Ambassadors, are also four congress ambassadors in the field of sports events. The majority of ambassadors were nominated in the field of scientific events, which took place between 2017 and 2019. The required number of participants for a scientific event to be eligible for the selection was 100, and if at least a half of all participants were foreign. Regional, European and international events of global organisations that brought as many international attendees and had the biggest impact, were favoured in the selection. Similarly to last year, as part of the Slovenian Ambassador Programme, one representative of each profession received the honourable title.

Slovenian Congress Ambassadors 2020 

(in alphabetical order):

Honorary Congress Ambassador of Slovenia 2020:

Prof. Igor Papič, PhD, University of Ljubljana, chancellor

Congress ambassadors, scientific events:

Msc. Dejan Bratuš, MD-PhD, University Medical Centre Maribor
Msc. Violeta Bulc, curator of the InCo movement and the Ecocivilization movement, Vibacom d.o.o, director and owner of Vibacom s.p.
Prof. Marko Čepin, PhD, University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Electrical Engineering
Prof. Zlatko Fras, MD-PhD, MD, PhD, FESC, FACC, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, President of Slovenian Society of Cardiology
Prof. Primož Gradišek, MD-PhD, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Chair of Slovenian Resuscitation Council
Prof. Mitjan Kalin, PhD, University of Ljubljana, Faculy of Mechanical Engineering
Prof. Matjaž Kavčič, PhD, Institute Jožef Stefan
Prof. Izidor Kern, MD-PhD, University Clinic of Respiratory and Allergic Diseases Golnik
Prof. Blaž Koritnik, MD-PhD, University Medical Centre Ljubljana
Msc. Aleksandra Majić Skrbinšek, PhD, University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Biotechnology 
Prof. Matjaž Mikoš, PhD, University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering
Ms Vesna Nahtigal, The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia
Prof. Albin Pintar, PhD, Slovenian Chemical Society, National Institute of Chemistry
Saša Podgoršek, PhD, University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts
Prof. Marko Pokorn, MD-PhD, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Pediatric Clinic
Prof. Andreja Pucihar, PhD, University of Maribor, Faculty of Organizational Sciences Kranj
Prof. Andrej Simončič, PhD, Agricultural Institute of Slovenia
Aleksander Šinigoj, PhD, Palsit d.o.o.
Prof. Polona Šprajc, PhD, University of Maribor, Faculty of Organizational Sciences Kranj
Prof. Joško Valentinčič, PhD, University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering

Congress ambassadors, sport events:

Mr Tomaž Barada, Sport centre Barada
Mr Franci Petek, PhD, Institute of Sports of the Republic of Slovenia Planica
Mr Jernej Slivnik, Slovenian Rowing Federation
Mr Uroš Zupan, Ski Association of Slovenia

Slovenian Ambassador Programme as a cornerstone for the organisation of scientific and other business and sports events

The programme promotes Slovenia as a destination for organisation of international scientific events, as well as a destination suitable for hosting business events that create excellent networking opportunities, sharing knowledge, innovations and experience. With the Programme, Slovenian scientific, economic and sports sector is being promoted in the international market.

By offering marketing support to individual doctors, scientists, professors, sportspersons and other experts from their respectable fields, who are crucial for attracting international events to Slovenia, The Slovenian Congress Bureau and its partners can increase the number of international events in Slovenia. Furthermore, the Slovenian Congress Bureau can raise the reputation and competitiveness of our destination on an international level.

The Slovenian Ambassador Programme is led by the Slovenian Convention Bureau on a national level in close cooperation with 6 destination ambassador clubs, working on a local and regional level (Ljubljana, Maribor, Nova Gorica, Portorož, Bled, Kranjska Gora).

Director of the Slovenian Convention Bureau, Miha Kovačič, MBA, said: “We are proud that the Slovenian Ambassador Programme now includes 50 exceptional individuals, who cover different scientific, expert, business and other fields. Despite the challenging situation we are faced worldwide, we believe that we will continue to create positive stories, organise international events while respecting new guidelines. We will strive to promote Slovenia as a competitive destination for all types of business and other events.”

Slovenian Ambassador Program
Photo Credit: Marko Delbello Ocepek

“The Slovenian Tourist Board is actively cooperating with the making of the Slovenian Ambassador Programme. The project represents a systematic and effective approach to connecting Slovenian intellectual capital in the field of science, economy and sports with the Slovenian congress industry. Slovenian congress tourism is extremely important for Slovenian tourism in general, as it creates around 900 million euros of income. Furthermore, the average consumption of a congress guest is three times higher than that of the average guest and the multiplicative effects of congress activities 4,7 times more impactful compared to other activities. Congress activity is also important as a form of overcoming deseasonalization, helps to raise the average life expectancy and significantly adds to sustainable development and five-star experiences of Slovenian tourism.”added M.Sc. Maja Pak, director of the Slovenian Tourist Board.

She concluded: “Although congress tourism is among the most affected industries because of the pandemic and will have to adapt to the new normal, it will play an important role when it comes to reviving Slovenian tourism. I would like to congratulate all Slovenian Congress Ambassadors who have helped and will continue to help Slovenia successfully host international congresses and events in the future with their knowledge, profundity and dedication.”

Photo Credit: Marko Delbello Ocepek

M.Sc. Petra Stušek, Managing Director of Tourism Ljubljana, commented on the international role of Slovenian Congress Ambassadors 2020: “These exceptional individuals help to strengthen Ljubljana and Slovenia’s position as one of the centres of intellectual capital and innovativeness in the region. They help to do so with their active participation in the international scientific and business environment. I am proud of the fact that 16 out of 25 Slovenian Congress Ambassadors in 2020 are actively working as active members of the University of Ljubljana or national scientific-research and economic institutions, situated in Ljubljana. Slovenian Ambassador Programme was conceived as a strategic partnership project of Tourism Ljubljana, which will contribute to Slovenia’s greater success in the internationalization of science, professional areas of expertise, economy and sports.”

Photo Credit: Marko Delbello Ocepek

The video of the online ceremony of this year’s Slovenian Congress Ambassadors is available here, along with all interviews of the recipients.