Ivan Gasparovic, President of Slovakia, was
invited to the White House on Thursday, October 9, 2008. After
meeting with President Bush, Mr. & Mrs. Gasparovic came
to Pittsburgh along with Marek Madaric, Minister of Culture,
and Robert Kalinak, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior.
Also accompanying them were ten persons from Slovak media. Also
accompanying them were seven members of the Slovak Embassy from
Washington, D.C. The entourage including protocol and security
numbered over 50 people.
Upon arrival on Thursday evening, they were
hosted at a dirmer by Honorary Consul J oe Senko and his wife,
Albina. On Friday, the program arranged by J oe Senko, began
with a meeting with Luke Ravenstahl, Mayor of Pittsburgh and
his staff followed by a meeting at the national headquarters
of U.S. Steel Corp. The meeting included all of the former presidents
of U.S. Steel Kosice — John Goodish, Chris Navetta and
Dave Lohr, as well as other key executives, During the meeting
at U.S. Steel, Mrs. Gasparovicova visited a Women’s Shelter
in Pittsburgh. She was escorted to the facility by Albina Senko.
The first lady, who has a foundation in Slovakia, gathered infonnation
to start a similar shelter back home. Before lunch, Mr. Gasparovic
and his staff went to the Mellon Arena where they watched the
Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team practicing. The President, who
is an avid
hockey fan, was presented a Penguin jersey autographed by Miroslav
Satan who is from Slovakia.
After lunch, the President and his group visited
the University of Pittsburgh Cathedral of Leaming where they
met with Chancellor Mark Nordenberg. The meeting included a
discussion about the possibility of a joint program with Slovak
universities, Vtfhile at the university, the President also
visited the Czechoslovak room, one of 27 nationality classrooms
at the university. From there, the President took a tour ofthe
Heinz History Center conducted by museum President Andrew Masich.
The day concluded with a reception at the LeMont
Restaurant overlooking the city. Approximately, 150 people attended
the festive event. The world famous Duquesne University Tamburitzans
provided the entertainment. The President and his entourage
were very impressed with the energetic
and professional dancers.
On Saturday moming, the President and his group
flew back to Slovak directly from Pittsburgh.