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Community Grapevine

Long-time USAID Bratislava ex-"Pat" saying good-bye

Patricia Lerner, USAID's director in Slovakia since 1992, will leave her post in July for Budapest to direct a new USAID mission focused on south-eastern European countries. That means the Balkans, Lerner said, where USAID will continue to manage programs funded by the U.S. SEED Act (Support for Eastern European Democracy) before they are phased out by the end of the century. Although Lerner did not disclose who will take her place, she said that USAID Slovakia will continue to foster free enterprise decision-making, representative local government, and environmental safety until the program is closed out in 1999.

Institute maintains tradition teaching Slovak as second language

The Institute for Language and Academic Preparation of Foreign Students at Comenius University this year celebrates its 37th anniversary as the only institution in the country to provide students from around the world the means to study Slovak as a second language. Anton Gajdoš, the project's new director, says the Institute's three study centers in Bratislava, Košice and Senec boast an "experienced, highly qualified" teaching staff, computer labs and well-stocked libraries, as well as ample student housing.

Gajdoš says the Institute this year will offer a five-month intensive course in "Slovak for specific purposes" for graduate students, diplomats, and business-people to consolidate their language ability in each of several areas. For more information contact Gajdoš or Viera Barková, the Institute's vice-director, at tel. 07/367-812.

FCS to pick young artist to study in US

The Foundation for a Civil Society (FCS), in cooperation with the Slovak Gallery of Fine Arts, this spring will pick the winner in a nationwide competition of young Slovak artists to exhibit his or her work in Bratislava, Banská Bystrica, and Košice. Icing the prestigious cake, the winner will thereupon take a jet to the U.S. for three months to rub shoulders with American artists at studios, galleries and art schools in New York and California, says Adriana Baliková, FCS's arts director.

FCS has begun distributing applications for the second annual Slovak Artist Competition through the Academy of Fine Arts and its auxiliary, Galeria Medium in Bratislava. The contest is open to any Slovak artist under age 35 with a body of work in painting, sculpture, graphics, installations, mixed media, video art, or artistic photography. Winners of the contest will be honored by President Michal Kováč at an award ceremony. The deadline for submissions is May 19; a winner and three finalists will be announced in June. For more contact Baliková at tel. 07/544-4197.

Students set sights on the Sorbonne through program

Bratislava's Gymnázium Juraja Hronca wants to add foreign students to the 24 Slovaks who will enroll next fall in the prestigious Swiss-U.K. International Baccalaureate (IB) program. IB is a secondary school program available to students eager for a taste of internationalism and multicentric academic freedom. Generally, it attracts students "who want to get more out of their education and go to universities abroad," says Jana Huttová, the program's director.

While encouraging students to set their sights on Oxford and the Sorbonne, Huttová says IB needs sponsorship to help graduates reach their goals. Huttová says the school is now "reaching out" to foreign secondary school students to enroll in the program, which is in its third year here. For more information contact Gymnázium Juraja Hronca on Novohradská ul., 821 09 Bratislava, or talk to Huttová at tel. 07/526-6396.

Brits get "Head Start"

Representatives of 24 British firms will meet for two more days with Slovak business representatives in Trenčín to prepare the third annual "Head Start" workshop in late May/early June. Participants in the program, co-sponsored by the Bristol, U.K. and Trenčín Chambers of Commerce to promote trade partnerships and other ventures among Slovak and British companies, will assemble again in three months to make full presentations and negotiate down-to-earth deals, says Martina Matušová, Head Start's Slovak coordinator. For more about the program, contact Martina Matušová in Trenčin at tel. 0831/525-797 or Jim Greenhalgh, Head Start's founder, in Bristol, U.K. at tel. 0044/1297-445-597.

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