Ambassador Sterling traveled to Banska Bystrica, Poprad, Kezmarok and Stara Lubovna from February 28-March 2. In Banska Bystrica, he met with regional Governor Jan Lunter and discussed the governor’s agenda for the region following his recent election. The Ambassador also participated in a town hall with local community activists, students and business representatives, to discuss the ongoing fight against intolerance and extremism as well as local reaction to the recent murder of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak. At the SNP Museum, Ambassador Sterling delivered opening remarks at the screening of a documentary film about Slovak-American Michal Strank, who famously led the group of Marines that raised the American flag over Iwo Jima on February 28, 1944. The Ambassador concluded his visit to Banska Bystrica with a tour of the Alfa Bio factory to learn about Slovakia’s #1 producer of tofu products.
In Poprad, the Ambassador met with representatives from Whirlpool Slovakia, an American company, to learn about one of Slovakia’s premier employers and to tour their 20,000 square meter factory. In Svit, the Ambassador met with representatives from the Tatras National Park to discuss environmental conservation and cooperation with America’s Rocky Mountain National Park. In Kezmarok, the Ambassador met with Mayor Jan Ferencak and participated in a town hall with a group of municipal government employees, business representatives and students to discuss our two countries’ shared history and values, as well as U.S. Government exchange programs. Lastly, in Stara Lubovna, the Ambassador met with Mayor Lubos Tomko to learn about regional economic issues. The Ambassador and Mayor Tomko also lit candles at a vigil for Jan Kuciak. The Ambassador concluded his three-day trip with a stop at the Michal Strank WWII Museum in Stara Lubovna to check in on its development and to explore avenues for future cooperation.