Slovakia Pennsylvania WPSCA Sister Cities Program Links


Joe Senko, Honorary Consul and Tod Sedgwick
U.S. Ambassador to Slovakia

Joe Senko, a Slovak American, has been a resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania since his birth in 1935. He is the youngest child of seven born to Slovak immigrants, John Senko and Mary Stropkaj. The two young Slovaks left the Michalovce area early in the 1900's looking for a better life. They married in 1914 and made their home in Pittsburgh. Although they became American citizens, they were always proud of their Slovak heritage.

John and Mary made sure that all of their children attended the Slovak parish school and all the Senkos were very aware of their Slovak heritage. Joe attended an all boys Catholic high school where he graduated in the upper tenth of his class. While there, he was the editor of the school paper and assistant editor of the school year book. Joe was the only one in his family to attend a University. He received his Bachelors Degree from Duquesne University and his Masters Degree from Robert Morris University.

After graduating as an accountant, he worked for the Internal Revenue Service, then with an international accounting firm before starting his own accounting firm. He is now a partner in the public accounting firm of McKeever Varga & Senko. He is licensed as a certified public accountant in Pennsylvania, Ohio and the District of Columbia. He is also a certified financial planner. Over the years, he has received numerous awards in the accounting profession. He received the Distinguished Service award from the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Pennsylvania Institute of CPAs and he was twice selected as the local “Accounting Advocate of the Year” by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

In addition to his family and professional life, Joe does volunteer work for many non-profit organizations.
He shared
Prime Minister Robert Fico
and Joe and Albina Senko
his years of professional experience by serving on the boards of many of these organizations. He presently serves on the board or on the advisory committee of eleven non-profit organizations. Joe is also a member of numerous Slovak organizations (attached).

In 1955, Joe married Albina Kolodzej, a native of Slovakia. Albina was born in the Spis area of Slovakia and together they raised six children. In June, 1998 the entire Senko family, a group of 13, visited Slovakia. Joe and Albina have visited Slovakia 15 times since 1995. Over the years, at the gentle urging of Albina, the Senko house was open to many Slovak students, professionals and cultural delegations. Slovak visitors to Pittsburgh are always welcome in the Senko home. They are introduced to the Pittsburgh region with a tour, many times given in Slovak by Albina. Business contacts and appointments are also scheduled for them if desired.


Slovak Abassador to the U.S Peter Kmec

Welcome to the Embassy

According to the 2000 Census, 243,009 Pennsylvanians are of Slovak ancestry, the highest of the 50 states. Of these, approximately 212,000 reside in the greater Pittsburgh area. In order to expedite relations between the Slovak Republic and the United States, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic announced the establishment of a consulate in Pennsylvania in July, 1997 to be headquartered in Pittsburgh. Joseph Senko of Pittsburgh was appointed Honorary Consul of the Slovak Republic for Pennsylvania.

The main task of the honorary consul is to promote economic, scientific, cultural, educational, athletic and other relations between the Slovak Republic and the United States. Mr. Senko maintains a Consulate adjacent to his main accounting office located at Manor Oak Two, Suite 500, 1910 Cochran Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15220-1102.

Since his appointment, he has assisted numerous Slovaks through telephone calls, correspondence, visits and notarization of documents. He and his wife attend many Slovak functions in Western Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C..

Andrej Kiska , President of Slovakia and Joe Senko

On March 17, 1997, Joseph Senko formed a non-profit, organization, Western Pennsylvania Slovak Cultural Association (WPSCA). It was formed to bring diverse authentic Slovak cultural programs to Western Pennsylvania for not only Slovak-Americans, but for the entire public to enjoy. Their mission is to bring the majority of the Slovak cultural programs to be presented, whether they be performers or exhibits, directly from Slovakia so that the attendees could appreciate the rich cultural talent that is available in the Slovak Republic; secondly, the cultural programs presented are highly diversified in order to appeal to a variety of cultural tastes of Western Pennsylvanians; and thirdly, the programs are marketed to acquaint the general public with the geography, history and culture of the Slovak Republic.

Some of the events that the WPSCA has sponsored to date in Pittsburgh were performances by the Bratislava Choir, concert violinist Ondrej Janoska, two Slovak film festivals, ten Slovak language classes, Easter and Christmas Slovak cooking demonstrations, various exhibits of Slovak artifacts and jointly sponsored events with the Czechoslovak Genealogical Society and the Jewish Community Center. WPSCA’s first event was the formal presentation of the Slovak flag for permanent display in the Court House to the Mayor of Pittsburgh and the Allegheny County Commissioners.

 

SENKO AWARDED PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL

At a recent reception at the Slovak Embassy in Washington D.C., Joseph Senko of Pittsburgh, PA was awarded the Medal of the President of the Slovak Republic for extraordinary merit in the development of friendly relations with the Slovak Republic, as well as promoting Slovakia throughout the world. This is the highest award that the Slovak government awards to foreigners.
Joe Senko has been the Slovak Honorary Consul for Pennsylvania since 1997. In this capacity, he receives and responds to approximately 100 inquires each year. Shortly after becoming Honorary Consul, he formed the Western Pennsylvania Slovak Cultural Association, a non-profit organization, that presents approximately ten Slovak cultural programs each year.
He is also a charter member of the executive committee of the Washington D.C. based non-profit organization, Friends of Slovakia, which was formed in 2001 to seek friendship and understanding between Slovakia and the United States. Joe is the Chairman and Treasurer. This organization has sponsored over 125 events since it was formed including scholarships for Slovak students, annual freedom lectures, receptions for dignitaries from Slovakia and artistic and cultural events.
Some of the more notable programs which Joe has accomplished were:
* The collection, repair and shipment of 250 computers to Slovakia which were distributed to 45 schools
* Shipment of 60,000 copies of an American children's magazine which were distributed to 830 schools to assist in learning English
* Shipment of medical supplies to hospitals in Svidník, Bardejov and Bratislava.

Senko is presently arranging his tenth tour to Slovakia. Over 250 people from the United States have participated in his previous tours


    • Friends of Slovakia, Inc. - Chairman and Treasurer
    • Western Pennsylvania Slovak Cultural Association - Executive Director
    • National Slovak Society Heritage Museum - Vice President
    • Jankola Library - Vice Chairman
    • First Catholic Slovak Union of the U.S.
    • Slovak Catholic Federation - Life member
    • Slovak League of America - Life member
    • Ladies Pennsylvania Slovak Catholic Union
    • First Catholic Slovak Ladies Association
    • National Slovak Society
    • Slovak Catholic Sokol
    • Jan Kollar Literary Society
    • Czechoslovak Nationality Room Committee
    • National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library