Minister Selaković to Serbs in the USA: Diaspora is one of the priorities of the state

13. Jan 2022.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikola Selaković told the Serbs in Chicago that the compatriots in the diaspora and the region are one of the absolute priorities for the state of Serbia and for him personally.

Minister Selakovic, who is spending the Christmas holidays with Serbs living in Chicago, spoke with representatives of associations, organizations and prominent individuals from the Serbian diaspora at the headquarters of the Serbian National Defense Council (SND).

In the conversation, he stated that Serbia's attitude towards the largest Serbian community outside the homeland, in the United States, went through different phases - from the persecution of people who had different views and different ideals through complete negligence to the time periods when some state officials visited the diaspora only to seek for help for themselves or for the people.

He also pointed out that Serbia has not had a Consul General in Chicago for eight years, whose duty is to meet with citizens, talk to them and to listen to them as there is a huge potential in the Serbian community in that city.

Saying that there will not be many of us if we divide, quarrel and do not understand each other, the Minister stated that last year he had about 400 meetings with foreign officials who were interested in how Serbia grew from a country with no perspective into what it is today, which, he said, it had succeeded through work and the creation of unity.

"After we managed to consolidate the situation at home, we can now turn to other things and our diaspora and expatriates take an important place in this context," Selaković said.

He also conveyed to the those gathered that President Aleksandar Vučić said that last year Serbia attracted more than four billion dollars of direct foreign investments, which is a record that surpassed the best 2019 so far. 

Minister Selaković said that he came to Chicago on Christmas, a holiday that is spent with the family and not visiting, because he was among his own people.

"I feel that way from the very first moment. I came to hear what you have to say, to hear what your troubles are, problems, how you see Serbia today and in what context and in which way it needs to pay more attention to you," the Minister said.

Welcoming the guests, the President of the SND in the USA, Dragan Vujosevic, said that this was a historic event since for the first time official representatives of the motherland met Serbs at the headquarters of this oldest Serbian association in the USA, which was founded by Mihajlo Pupin at the beginning of the last century.

The Consul General of Serbia in Chicago Damnjan Jovic said that the goal was to save Serbian organizations from extinction, to restore the old splendor and importance of SND and other associations.

The Director of the Directorate for Cooperation with the Diaspora and Serbs in the Region Arnaud Gouillon pointed out that for him Christmas was a holiday when the family gathers and that since 2015, when he decided to be converted to Orthodox religion together with his daughter Milena, Christmas has been the Orthodox and spiritual holiday for him that he likes to celebrate where he feels more spiritual.

That is why, he said, he often celebrated Christmas in Kosovo and Metohija, in the Gracanica or Visoki Decani monasteries.

"When we celebrated Christmas, this time in the Holy Resurrection Cathedral in Chicago, the feeling was the same as in Kosovo and Metohija, the feeling that we were all in a great sanctuary, even though this one was not in Serbia, but it was spiritually connected with the Serbian people" he underlined.

He also mentioned the famous scientist Mihajlo Pupin, the founder of the SND, saying that today the people who speak, think and dream in Serbian and live in the USA are his successors.

"Many other communities have blended into, but you are proof that the Serbian community, although well integrated, has not forgotten its roots. That's because Serbs, in addition to preserving their language, also have their Orthodox faith, Saintsavahood, the Kosovo Myth and associations that have been functioning and bringing together all people on this continent for decades," Gouillon said.