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Birth centenary of Slovenian-Paraguayan anthropologist Dr Branislava Sušnik

  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs
In 2020, Slovenia commemorates the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Slovenian-Paraguayan anthropologist, Dr Branislava Sušnik, whose life and achievements made an indelible mark on science and established links between Slovenia and the South American cultural area.
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Dr Branislava Sušnik was a scientist, a museologist, and a professor of ethnolinguistics and the cultural anthropology of Paraguay. She embarked on her academic career at the Faculty of Arts in Ljubljana. Later on, she studied oriental languages and cultures in Rome and also had connections with the Vienna School of Culture and History. The fateful events of the Second World War thwarted her original plans for the future and she emigrated to Argentina in 1947. Her scientific research was carried out mostly in Paraguay, where she created a new life for herself. She was director of the Andrés Barbero Ethnographic Museum for more than 40 years. In addition, she led the Chair of Ethnology and Archaeology of Paraguay and lectured at the National University of Asunción. Under the auspices of the La Piedad foundation, Dr Sušnik carried out a number of scientific and research expeditions to study the life of indigenous peoples in the north Chako and the eastern tropical forest. In 1992, she received the highest Paraguayan awards for scientific achievements and was posthumously awarded the honorary title of Gran Oficial of Paraguay for her creative contribution to the formation of the Paraguayan identity. In the same year, Dr Sušnik also received an official letter of thanks for her scientific achievements on behalf of Slovenia by the then Minister of Culture, Borut Šuklje.

Today, Dr Sušnik is regarded as a role model of individual personal and professional development, particularly for girls and young people facing grave social hardships as a result of armed conflicts, who aspire towards independence and professional empowerment. Slovenia welcomes the values reflected in her work and life, and would like to mark them in a special way.

On the occasion of the centenary of her birth, the life and work of this exceptional woman and scientist will be presented to the expert and general public of both countries and continents through a programme of events held over the entire year.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is planning to honour Dr Branislava Sušnik by organising special events at certain diplomatic missions and consular posts and by dedicating some special events to her at the Latin America and Caribbean Days 2020 international conference ("LACDays2020"), which is scheduled to take place in Ljubljana in November 2020. The cultural part of the conference, which is aimed at establishing links and enhancing comprehensive partnership between Slovenia and the Latin American region and countries, will feature two central events, i.e. an exhibition and a scientific symposium on the work of Dr Sušnik. By organising the conference, Slovenia will continue the efforts to enhance bilateral and bi-regional cooperation, especially on the environment, science, the economy, and culture, since discussions held during the previous LAC Days have shown that these are the areas with the greatest synergies.

The centenary is celebrated under the honorary patronage of the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor. In addition to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, events are organised by: the Ministry of Culture, the Government Office for Slovenians Abroad, the University of Primorska – Faculty of Humanities, the University of Ljubljana – Faculty of Arts, the Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, the Slovenian Scientific Foundation, the Slovene Ethnographic Museum, the National and University Library, the Cankarjev Dom Cultural and Congress Centre, the Municipality of Medvode and the Sotočje Public Institute, the School Sisters of St Francis of Christ the King and numerous individuals both in Slovenia and Paraguay, including the Andrés Barbero Museum and the "La Piedad" foundation in Asunçion, the Slovenian Embassy in Buenos Aires, and the Slovenian Honorary Consul in Asunçion, Mr Luis Alberto Boh.

The video is available here.