Community Grapevine

AmCham gets a new executive director

Sadly, Beverly Douglas will be leaving the post she created as executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Slovakia on September 30. We also all know that Patrick Uram, who will be taking over the position, will have one hell of a time fitting into her pumps.

Uram is actually of Slovak descent: his grandparents immigrated to Pittsburgh from east Slovakia at the turn of the century. Although he was raised as an American, he has spent the last two and a half years with the Czech Management Center (CMC), which runs two English-language MBA courses, in the town of Cilakovice just outside of Prague. Uram hooked up with CMC while getting his MBA at the University of Pittsburgh, one of the center's sponsors. After five years at the Mellon Bank in Pittsburgh, Uram said, "I wanted to do something international."

Now it looks like he'll be here for a while once he starts work on September 16, while Douglas will be canvassing in Slovakia for a position using her legal expertise.

A tip of the hat and a fat cigar go to Ed French and Tina McVeigh, who both work for Deloitte & Touche in Bratislava; three weeks ago, little Luka McVeigh entered their world. There may not have been a silver spoon, but the new arrival sure has a pedigree: Luka, Ed and Tina contend, is the first Irish baby to be born in Slovakia.

Young folks interested in learning more about the USA should hook up with Slovak-American Youth Forum, a group founded in '89 to "promote relations between young people in Slovakia and the US." With about 1,500 members around Slovakia - mostly students and entrepreneurs 16-28 years old - the forum organizes lectures and events to link up Slovaks and Americans. Its president, Economics University student Marián Meško, just presented an award to USAID Representative Patricia Lerner for her organization's work building bridges between young Slovaks and Americans.

Bratislava's expat community must be growing, because the QSI International School of Bratislava is just about bursting at the seams. According to director Robert Jones, the school, which closed out last spring with 55 students, will open the new school year with a grand total of 85 kids from 18 different countries. Plus, Jones added, about 20 French families will be joining the fold between now and the first of December,

"We can really see the changes in Bratislava," Jones said. QSI, which started up just two years ago with nine students, has had to double its space in the Iuventa building. Now they are finalizing plans to build their own school, to the tune of $1.3 million. Still, there's always room for more.

Come on out to the International Women's Club of Bratislava's first meeting of the fall, at the Danube Hotel on September 16 at 6 p.m. The "open house"-style meeting will introduce the club and its activities, and offer a chance to sign up for its special interest group and events, such as a historical walking tour of Bratislava to be held on Thursday, September 19. Other plans include a cocktail party for charity on September 27, and a "goose evening" in Slovenský Grob at the end of October.

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