Domen V. (19 years)
How would you describe Slovenia to a foreigner?
One of its primary features is its size, its minuteness, which is actually in stark contrast with Slovenia's diversity. First, I would try to introduce its geographic features, which are all combined on such a small surface. One of the first things to mention would also be our language that I truly love and respect very much. I really find it interesting and suitable for the introduction of our country.
How would you motivate a foreigner to move to Slovenia?
Slovenia is a peaceful country and scarcely populated, yet still developed with regard to its economy and education. Still, a person may find their peace. They may live in nature and even towns are not so full and crowded with people that this would cause tension. A person may live here with a certain degree of relaxation and may find a place of their own. Whether it be on the coast, in the mountains or in the countryside.
If Slovenia were an animal, which animal would it be?
It would be a small mouse that likes to hide. We do not dare to show the world what we know and what we are capable of. On the one hand, we are brave when no one is looking. On the other hand, when we should show the world our true colours and stand up for ourselves, we are too quick to crawl into a hole.
What are some of Slovenia's advantages?
Geographically, we are in a great location. We are very accessible, we are in Europe, we are in its central part, which means that we have access to big cities and this enables us to have great economic ties. We have many natural resources that could be used for economic purposes. Our education is also very well-developed. Our young people, that is to say the youth of the country, have given us new impetus to set new goals and develop new plans. We have attempted to cut the cord connecting us with our history. Now, we are starting anew, with fresh ideas and new momentum. In the past 25 years of independence, we have been attempting to fulfil our goals and our desire to become a second Switzerland.
What has Slovenia achieved in its 25 years of independence?
Slowly, despite being a small mouse, we began occasionally showing ourselves to the world, with some achievements. For example, Tina Maze. In some areas, we have already begun to prove ourselves and have established ourselves in the world. Many people know that Slovenia exists, that we have our own worth, our integrity, and that we have something to show others.
What are Slovenia's weaknesses and how can they be improved?
In Slovenia, there are many economic niches and natural resources that could be used. For example, timber could be better capitalised in an economic sense, thus contributing to the economic growth of Slovenia. In my opinion, the second weakness is the psychological condition of our people who are too pessimistic. After a while, if Jung were to provide his explanation, we might change our collective unconscious and begin viewing things and our future with a brighter outlook, with even greater plans, more optimistically, with less negativity against that or the other, with fewer divisions, with some kind of unity. I think we need greater unity. In order for Slovenians, the Slovenian nation, to feel more Slovenian, therefore more unified in our Slovenian identity, in order for this to mean more to us and that we would then know how to express this.
How would you address the citizens of Slovenia in light of its 25th anniversary?
In general, I would tell the citizens not to be so pessimistic and negative with regard to the problems and issues that arise. They should have a lighter, more relaxed outlook, with fewer obstacles.
How would you address young people on this occasion?
I would tell young people to look forward more optimistically and with more respect, to have an outlook with some basic interpersonal respect and respect for the integrity of their fellow man. This is something that we should develop further and collectively think about what this means to us, Slovenians.
Where are Slovenia's hidden reserves and how do we encourage them?
Knowledge, projects, these are our reserves. We have a catalogue of knowledge and projects being realised and carried out in Slovenia, even new developments. It is very important to begin encouraging young people and children from a very early age to research, learn and think, so thinking and broad-mindedness should be emphasised as early as primary school, so that there would be less factual learning, repetition, and learning textbooks by heart in school. There should be more independent thinking, argumentation, thinking about global issues, and thus some broader view of humans, of oneself in the world and in one's surroundings and of individuals in the position of a Slovenian citizen.
Where will Slovenia be in 25 years?
In the past few years the 25-year-old Slovenia has led a student way of life, fun-loving, not entirely mature. When Slovenia approaches 30, it will become slightly more serious, it will begin to be aware of its duties, its responsibilities in the world, its roots and its potential; it will calm down and also begin its internal growth. By the time it turns 50, it will have fully developed. I believe that we will solidify and enhance our position in the world, in Europe, in the EU, yet we will not turn into a big bulldozer or some big elephant from this little mouse over night. But we will grow and strengthen ourselves. And most of all, Slovenians will solidify internally, as a nation.
Why are Slovenian men and women so successful in international competitions?
Young people have an inherent desire to explore, a momentum which we use to find new paths, new ideas. I believe that young people do not feel trapped due to any issues in Slovenia, which is an obstacle to some other generations. Older people feel trapped and limited all the time due to economic and financial issues in Slovenia. This affects young people to a lesser degree or they take it with a pinch of salt. Therefore, they have the possibility of developing their skills and potential, explore, join competitions, prove their success, and do what interests them. This is a primal momentum that people have in them. This is most developed in our childhood. If we do not manage to suppress it, it remains with us for many years. For some people, for one reason or another, this momentum becomes limited, small, hidden and insufficiently used quite quickly. And some people, those who allow this momentum and these interests to develop, achieve something in this area.
How can we make sure not to allow this momentum to disappear?
People should have an optimistic outlook on the world. This should motivate them to face problems and solve them. In order to have an optimistic outlook, we should not be upset, feel defeated when experiencing a small loss, but we should move on and feel motivated to solve problems believing that we can solve them and not believing that they are unsolvable.