The Slovak Republic. A Decade of Independence (1993-2002)

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M. Mark Stolarik, ed. The Slovak Republic. A Decade of Independence (1993-2002). Wauconda, IL: Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, 2004. xiv, 168 pp. Index. $15.00, paper.

A decade in the life of a new state is certainly worth a celebration, but above all a good scholarly examination, especially when the inhabitants of this state had a past history that did not necessarily predispose its creation nor ensure its survival. The international community received the creation of the Slovak Republic in 1993, the second modem state in Slovakia's history, with surprise and also with scepticism. But, as President Rudolf Schuster indicates in the volume's first essay: "none of the predicted catastrophic scenarios occurred." Ten years later, there were grounds for celebration.

This volume is the compilation of the presentations given at a conference in June 2002 organized by the Chair in Slovak Culture and History at the University of Ottawa on the occasion of the first official visit of a President the Slovak Republic to Canada. The Ottawa Chair is just a little older than the Slovak Republic and this volume is its first major publication. Invited to speak were Slovak public officials, beginning with the President of the Slovak Republic, Rudolf Schuster, who had been the last ambassador of Czechoslovakia to Canada, the Slovak ambassador to Canada, a deputy prime minister, five cabinet ministers, and another ambassador of the Slovak Republic; a Canadian federal official or an academic was invited to comment each presentation. The resulting volume is a curious mix of some history, some analysis of the contemporary situation in 2002, hopes for the future, and a good dose of celebration.

The nine presentations cover topics like a decade of independence by President Schuster, the political situation by Ambassador Miroslav Mikolásik, the economy by Ambassador of the Slovak Republic at the World Trade Organization Peter Brno, the justice system by Justice Minister Ján Carnogursky, health care by the Health Minister Roman Kovác, education by Education Minister Martin Frone, human rights and intergroup relations by Deputy Prime Minister Pál Csaky, culture and politics by Culture Minister Milan Knazko, and the place of Slovakia in Europe and in the world by Foreign Minister Eduard Kukan. …