Donald Pafko

On December 9th, 10th and 11th a delegation from the Slovak government visited Minnesota and its purpose was twofold: Inauguration of Donald Pafko as Honorary Slovak Consul for Minnesota and business and economic networking with the Minnesota business community.

The delegation was led by Slovak Ambassador to the United States Peter Burian and included, Mr. Radomir Bohac, Director General for Economic Cooperation and Development Aid Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic, Mr. Igor Pokojny, Consul General, General Consulate of the Slovak Republic in New York, Mr. Vit Koziak, Second Secretary, Economic Office, Slovak Embassy to the US, Mr. Peter Petian, Head of the Commercial and Economic Section in New York, Slovak Embassy to the US, Ms. Karin Jassova, Director, Department of Strategic Investments, Slovak Ministry of Economy, Slovakia , Ms. Andrea Chovancova, Director, Foreign Direct Investments Section, Slovak Investment and Trade Development Agency in Slovakia, Mr. Jake Slegers, Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Slovakia and Mr. Fedor Roll, Head of the Consular and EU JHA Section, Embassy of the Slovak Republic to the US.

The delegation arrived in Minenapolis on Wednesday, December 9th and all members of the delegation stayed at the Radisson Plaza Hotel in downtown Minneapolis. An informal planning session was held that evening to outline the next two days of events. On Thursday morning, December 10th the delegation traveled to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development . A meeting was held with Commissioner Dan McElroy at which time the delegation discussed business interfacing between the Minnesota business community and the business community in the Slovak Republic. Commissioner McElroy presented the delegation with some of the various investment opportunities and economic developments that are taking place in our state.

We then departed for the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul for a tour of the Capitol building. We were able to see the legislative meeting room and were explained how the legislative process is implemented. Following the tour, the Lt. Governor Carol Molnau, met with the delegation and had further discussions regarding cooperation between the Slovak Republic and Minnesota.

Following the visit at the State Capitol we traveled to the University of Minnesota where a luncheon was held at the Coffman Memorial Union Campus Club. Various staff and faculty of the University were in attendance, and once again, discussion took place regarding cooperation between Minnesota and the Slovak Republic.

Thursday evening a gala reception was held at the Radisson Plaza Hotel at which time the Honorary Slovak Consulate for Minnesota was officially opened and Donald Pafko was appointed and presented with papers signaling his appointment as Honorary Consul. Several speakers made a presentation at this gala including the Slovak Ambassador, Mr. Radomir Bohac, Mr. Dan McElroy and Ms. Lydia Stassart, President of the Minnesota Consular Corps. Master of Ceremony for the event was Mark Pafko, son of Honorary Consul Donald Pafko. The ceremony was opened with the singing of the American and Slovak National Anthems and we were honored to have Ms. Georgiana Dolejsi accompanying us on the piano. The final speaker was Honorary Consul Pafko who indicated his goals and hopes as he begins his duties, and he assured Ambassador Burian that he will endeavor to justify the honor that has been given to him.

Friday morning the delegation attended a business breakfast hosted by the law firm of Gray Plant Moo ty and took place in the IDS building. In attendance were approximately twenty leaders of the Minnesota Business community who heard presentations from the members of the delegation regarding the many opportunities available for doing business in Slovakia.

The final event was a luncheon hosted by the Ambassador to which various members of the business community were invited and this provided one last opportunity for the delegation to network with business leaders.

Following the luncheon several members of the delegation left Minneapolis to either return to Slovakia, Washington, D.C., and/or New York City. The delegation received a very warm welcome in Minnesota and were very pleased with the business contacts that were made.