UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


Thirty Years of Independent Slovenia: Challenges and Prospects

22 October 2021, 9:30 am–5:00 pm


Co-organised by the Central Europe Seminar Series at UCL SSEES, the University of Ljubljana, and the Embassy of Slovenia in London, this one-day symposium provides a forum for scholarly discussion of recent cultural, political, and economic developments in Slovenia as well as their historical background.

This event is free.

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This year marks thirty years since the June 1991 establishment of the independent Republic of Slovenia. In the second half of 2021, Slovenia has also assumed leadership of the European Union’s rotating presidency for the second time. This one-day symposium provides a scholarly forum for discussing the challenges and prospects facing Slovenia at this important juncture. Drawing together academics from various disciplines in Slovenia and the UK, the conference addresses 1. particularly salient aspects of Slovenia’s historical inheritance; 2. the meaning of contemporary Slovene identity in cultural and linguistic perspective; and 3. how broader European political and societal trends manifest themselves in contemporary Slovenia. The conference will devote special attention to the crises that have confronted Europe since Slovenia last presided over the EU in 2008: the Great Recession and subsequent clashes over fiscal and monetary policy within the bloc, the refugee crisis, and most recently the Covid-19 pandemic.

This will be a hybrid event. We have a limited number of in-person tickets available. Venue details/joining instructions will be shared with ticketholders.


9:30-10:00 Arrival and Coffee

10:00-10:30 Welcome Remarks

Professor Diane Koenker, Director, University College London, School of Slavonic and East European Studies

Dr Mojca Nidorfer, Head of the programme Slovene at Foreign Universities, Centre for Slovene as a Second and Foreign Language, University of Ljubljana

Her Excellency, Simona Leskovar, Ambassador of the Republic of Slovenia in London

10:30-12:00 Panel I Challenges past and present

Chair: Thomas Lorman (UCL SSEES)

Slovenes on the Move: Slovenian Refugeedom During the First World War, Petra Svoljšak (Milko Kos Historical Institute SAZU)

Healthcare and epidemics among Slovenes: 19th century to the present, Katarina Keber (Milko Kos Historical Institute SAZU)

The Lessons of Slovenia's Memory for the Present: Between the Visegrád and the EU, Peter J. Verovšek (U of Sheffield)

12:00-1:00 Lunch break

1:00-2:30 Panel II Questions of identity

Chair: Jelena Čalić (UCL SSEES)

Sixty years of Slovene women’s poetry: public reception and poetic response, Barbara Korun (Poet)

The contemporary Slovene novel: tendencies and characteristics (1990-2020), Alojzija Zupan Sosič (U of Ljubljana)

Slovenian: what's the point?, Marko Stabej (U of Ljubljana)

2:30-3:00 Coffee Break

3:00-4:30 Panel III Slovenia in Contemporary Europe

Chair: Jakub Beneš (UCL SSEES)

Slovenia - the success of the Yugoslav Breakup and the EU Accession?, Slavo Radošević (UCL SSEES)

History and Heritage in Slovenia since 1991, Cathie Carmichael (U of East Anglia)

Novel Appeal: Old and New Parties and the Dynamics of Party Politics in Slovenia, Tim Haughton (U of Birmingham)

4:30-5:00 Concluding discussion

5:00-7:00 Reception courtesy of the Embassy of Slovenia in London

Image credit: Miraze Dewan on Pexels