Engaging the Diaspora: 3rd Croatian Diaspora Confence to Be Held in Osijek

Total Croatia News


27 April, 2018 – New connections are being made, bringing the economic power of the Croatian diaspora into closer cooperation with the homeland. Osijek is the place to be at the end of June for the 3rd Croatian Diaspora Conference. 

The TCN inbox has never been a dull place to hang out, and the sheer wealth of fan mail and abuse we have had in the 6.5 years since I started Total Hvar has been quite staggering. It would be a very fun book to compile one day if I ever had the time. 

When I started out with Total Hvar, my naive little mind assumed that I would be writing happy tourism stories for a target audience of foreign tourists, but it quickly became apparent that there was another captive audience I had not considered at all – the Croatian diaspora. 

With a population of 4.2 million in Croatia, there are also an estimated 3 million Croats dispersed all over the world, political and economic emigres from various periods of Croatia’s turbulent history. A large number of them, probably the majority, speak little to no Croatian, having been born outside of the country, and so a new tourism portal in English, followed by a daily news portal, has given them an easy connection online to the homeland. 

And with that ease of online connectivity came the fan mail, mostly abuse from those stuck in their 1941 bubble in Australia every time anything appeared on TCN which was not to their liking, but increasingly more positive emails of thanks, of stories untold. A picture began to emerge, which had been hitherto drowned out by the 1941 diaspora haters – there was a new generation trying to work for a brighter Croatia and better links with the diaspora, while the noisier trolls continued spreading their hate. 


(Bagatin Clinic CEO Ognjen Bagatin, right, with Premier League goalkeeping legend Mark Bosnich at the recent Australian-Croatian Business Forum in Sydney recently)

Croatia is an incredibly beautiful country to live in, but not a country without its troubles. Mass emigration, a culture of cronyism and a political obsession with focusing on the past to deflect from the problems of the present, have left many disillusioned. Life in Croatia away from that idyllic two weeks on the beach on a Dalmatian island is a different reality altogether.

And the more we start to focus less on tourism and more on the realities of Croatia today, the more I admire the new breed of Croatian entrepreneur, who are committed to building a better Croatia. I have been privileged to have met and been in contact with the likes of Mate Rimac, Nenad Bakic, Andrija Colak, Sasa Cvetojevic, Ognjen Bagatin and many others, who are thriving in this most difficult business environment. 

And they are not alone, as the TCN inbox from the diaspora is showing. More contact from Australia, from Cleveland and other centres of diaspora investment potential. And a nice thing is happening – these young Croatian entrepreneurs are connecting with the vast diaspora investment potential for Croatia, concrete connections are being made, and things are starting to happen. It is a trend which TCN strongly supports and is willing to work with stakeholders to facilitate in any way we can. As an initial step, we will be looking to highlight some of the individual stories of diaspora success and investment in Croatia, as well as discuss some of the issues and challenges faced. 

And we are delighted to support the 3rd Croatian Diaspora Conference, which will take place in Osijek from June 29 – July 1 this year. Osijek, the heart of Slavonia, which is slowly being stripped of its population due to lack of economic opportunity, is the perfect symbolic location for such a conference. A city with a proud tradition and great potential, in desperate need of the types of investment such a conference can initiate. TCN will be participating in the conference, and we hope to meet and engage with anyone there who is interested in pushing these initiatives forward. 

We will be writing more about the conference in the coming weeks, but for now, here is a link to the conference website if you would like more information, or to register your attendance.

The conference already has more than 50 confirmed speakers from all over the diaspora world – check them out here


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