Sabhal Mòr Ostaig senior management were this week delighted to welcome the Slovenian Ambassador to the UK, his Excellency, Iztok Mirosic and his delegation on their official visit to the centre.
Mr Mirosic was accompanied by his wife, Counsellor Tina Kokalj, along with Hon Consul for Scotland, Mrs Anna Wersun, and her husband, Dr Alec Wersun, of Glasgow Caledonian University. The Slovenian delegation was accompanied on the visit by UHI Chairman, Colin Mackay, CBE, and his wife, Dr Helen Mackay and Linda Stewart, UHI, Head of European Development, who organised the event.

The visit is the result of the growing links between UHI and Slovenia which has led to successive visits and exchanges as part of the Hi Hopes project, a three year long development partnership supporting life –long learning and social enterprise across Highlands and Islands. Part of this project had a trans-national element which, in particular, led to some important collaboration with the ‘Vesna’ project in Slovenia which looked at equality issues around ‘woman into entrepreneurship’ and also, a bi-lateral study between Scotland and Slovenia on the use of EU Structural Funds in education and training.

The Ambassador expressed particular interest in Sabhal Mòr Ostaig’s key national role in the development of the Gaelic language and the culture and of its importance to the economic regeneration of the region. Mr Mirosic spoke of the critical role which language had played historically in the maintenance of culture and cultural identity in his own country on its journey to independence and democracy. He was deeply impressed by the holistic approach taken to education by Sabhal Mòr which he felt was evidenced by the College’s understanding of the critical relationships between research, education, linguistic and cultural culture development and economic growth.
SMO Director of Development Donnie Munro said, following the visit,

“This was a very welcome and timeous visit from the Ambassador and his delegation, at a point where Slovenia had just come to the end of its very successful period of the EU Presidency. Mr Mirosic brought with him a wealth of knowledge of EU affairs, a deep knowledge of UK and Scottish issues and an incisive understanding of the challenges facing the Highlands and Islands. We are hopeful that the good work done by UHI in developing these important partnerships between Scotland and Slovenia will continue to grow and strengthen”