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This year’s titles were awarded on the 30th November during an online ceremony. The awards honour dedication, hard-work, international links and perseverance of exceptional individuals, who have helped Ljubljana and Slovenia to host numerous international scientific, business and sports events.

Due to the epidemiological conditions, this year’s ceremony could not take place live. For this reason, the organisers decided to create an event in the virtual environment, and that way still honours the recipients of the esteemed accolades.

Online event

In light of this, the newly set-up studio 20.20 at the GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre was the perfect choice to host the online ceremony, which was attended by select guests in the studio, who shared their views on the future of scientific events and business meetings with the online participants. The guests also explained how event organisation has changed and how they adapted to the new reality, as well as sharing their experience with the events of this year (virtual, hybrid, online or live).

The hosts in the studio were joined by two of last year’s Slovenian Congress Ambassadors: Rado Pišot, PhD, head of Science and Research Center of Koper and Prof. Marko Anderluh, PhD, M.Sc. Pharm., University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Pharmacy. Joining them in sharing their opinion with the online audience was Prof. Maja Rupnik, PhD, National Laboratory of Health, Environment and Food (NLZOH), whose interview was filmed beforehand.

The online audience and co-speakers in the studio were greeted by Miha Kovačič, CEO of the Slovenian Convention Bureau, as well as M.Sc. Maja Pak, director of the Slovenian Tourist Board and M.Sc. Petra Stušek, Managing Director of Ljubljana Tourism – two representatives of the institutions which enabled the successful execution of the ceremony in cooperation with the 15 project partners.

Interviews with title recipients

Due to current conditions, the technical team recorded the interviews with every Slovenian Congress Ambassador 2020 beforehand. As part of the event, short statements and excerpts were shown to the attendees, whereas the full interviews will be available at the website of Slovenian Ambassador Programme.

Prof. Igor Papič, Chancellor of the University of Ljubljana, joined the studio live. Through his work, as part of CIGRE, CIRED and IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) he helped to attract several meetings to Ljubljana and Slovenia. The University of Ljubljana, under Prof. Igor Papič’s leadership, is further strengthening its strategic collaboration with important Slovenian scientific and research institutions as well as the international environment.

Selection criteria

Seven members of the Slovenian Ambassador Programme Committee, composed of representatives of destinations and members of the Slovenian Convention Bureau, selected the 25 recipients of the esteemed title at the end of October. Among the newly-awarded Ambassadors, are also four congress ambassadors in the field of sports events. The majority of ambassadors were nominated in the field of scientific events, which took place between 2017 and 2019. The required number of participants for a scientific event to be eligible for the selection was 100, and if at least a half of all participants were foreign. Regional, European and international events of global organisations that brought as many international attendees and had the biggest impact, were favoured in the selection. Similarly to last year, as part of the Slovenian Ambassador Programme, one representative of each profession received the honourable title.

Slovenian Ambassador Programme as a meetings industry cornerstone

The programme promotes Slovenia as a destination for organisation of international scientific events, as well as a destination suitable for hosting business events that create excellent networking opportunities, sharing knowledge, innovations and experience. With the Programme, Slovenian scientific, economic and sports sector is being promoted in the international market.

By offering marketing support to individual doctors, scientists, professors, sportspersons and other experts from their respectable fields, who are crucial for attracting international events to Slovenia, the Programme can increase the number of international events in Slovenia. 

The Slovenian Ambassador Programme was established in 2019 with the help of Slovenian Convention Bureau and in cooperation with Ljubljana Tourism and 16 other partners. It functions on the basis of close cooperation with 6 destination ambassador clubs, working on a local and regional level (Ljubljana, Maribor, Nova Gorica, Portorož, Bled, Kranjska Gora).

Slovenian Congress Ambassadors 2020

(in alphabetical order):

Honorary Congress Ambassador of Slovenia 2020:

Prof. Igor Papič, PhD, University of Ljubljana, chancellor

Congress ambassadors, scientific events:

Msc. Dejan Bratuš, MD-PhD, University Medical Centre Maribor
Msc. Violeta Bulc, Vibacom d.o.o., InCo gibanje
Prof. Marko Čepin, PhD, University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Electrical Engineering
Prof. Zlatko Fras, MD-PhD, MD, PhD, FESC, FACC, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, President of Slovenian Society of Cardiology
Prof. Primož Gradišek, MD-PhD, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Chair of Slovenian Resuscitation Council
Prof. Mitjan Kalin, PhD, University of Ljubljana, Faculy of Mechanical Engineering
Prof. Matjaž Kavčič, PhD, Institute Jožef Stefan
Prof. Izidor Kern, MD-PhD, University Clinic of Respiratory and Allergic Diseases Golnik
Prof. Blaž Koritnik, MD-PhDUniversity Medical Centre Ljubljana
Msc. Aleksandra Majić Skrbinšek, PhD, University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Biotechnology 
Prof. Matjaž Mikoš, PhD, University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering
Ms Vesna Nahtigal, The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia
Prof. Albin Pintar, PhD, Slovenian Chemical Society, National Institute of Chemistry
Saša Podgoršek, PhD, University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts
Prof. Marko Pokorn, MD-PhD, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Pediatric Clinic
Prof. Andreja Pucihar, PhD, University of Maribor, Faculty of Organizational Sciences Kranj
Prof. Andrej Simončič, PhD, Agricultural Institute of Slovenia
Aleksander Šinigoj, PhD, Palsit d.o.o.
Prof. Polona Šprajc, PhD, University of Maribor, Faculty of Organizational Sciences Kranj
Prof. Joško Valentinčič, PhD, University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering

Congress ambassadors, sport events:

Mr Tomaž Barada, Sport centre Barada
Mr Franci Petek, PhD, Institute of Sports of the Republic of Slovenia Planica
Mr Jernej Slivnik, Slovenian Rowing Federation
Mr Uroš Zupan, Ski Association of Slovenia

Miha Kovačič, CEO, Slovenian Convention Bureau

“We are proud that the Slovenian Ambassador Programme now includes 50 exceptional individuals, who cover different scientific, expert, business and other fields. Despite the challenging situation we are faced worldwide, we believe that we will continue to create positive stories, organise international events while respecting new guidelines. We will strive to promote Slovenia as a competitive destination for all types of business and other events.”

Petra Stušek, Managing Director, Ljubljana Tourism

 “These exceptional individuals help to strengthen Ljubljana and Slovenia’s position as one of the centres of intellectual capital and innovativeness in the region. They help to do so with their active participation in the international scientific and business environment. I am proud of the fact that 16 out of 25 Slovenian Congress Ambassadors in 2020 are actively working as active members of the University of Ljubljana or national scientific-research and economic institutions, situated in Ljubljana. Slovenian Ambassador Programme was conceived as a strategic partnership project of Tourism Ljubljana, which will contribute to Slovenia’s greater success in the internationalization of science, professional areas of expertise, economy and sports.”

 More info on the Ljubljana Ambassador Club is available here.