One heart, One Croatia

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Connecting through Games

Under this year’s slogan “One heart, one Croatia”, the fourth edition of Croatian World Games were held in Zagreb. Hundreds of Croatians for all corners of the world made their way to Croatia to compete and learn about the nation’s culture, customs, history, and some even got to meet long lost relatives.

Croatians from 31 countries compete in 16 sports at Croatian World Games (Photo: GH)

Summer has always been a time when  Croatian who live abroad flock to visit their homeland. They come with family, friends – old and new, whom they had met during their journey. They visit by the thousands, no matter which age – youngsters, teens, adults looking to learn more about their heritage or learn the language. Others are pensioners – who dream of returning to the place they once called home.

Every four years since 2006, for many such journeys have been trimmed with sports, more precisely for the Croatian World Games. The event is organized by Croatian World Congress, a nonprofit and nongovernmental organisation working to promote Croatian culture, preserve heritage, connect Croatians from around the world with homeland Croatia, and to organize cultural, business and sporting events such as the  Games.

Željko Šumera, who has been living in Los Angeles USA for the past 16 years is among the many who joins the Games regularly. He believes it is events such as these that can contribute to the idea behind the slogan “One heart, one Croatia”.

Retired Brigadier Dubravko Halovanić with Željko Šumera in Karlovac (Photo: GH)

With the Croatian Heritage Foundation, State Office for Croats Abroad and many other organizations, public and private, as well as volunteers – the Games have started to gain visibility and popularity. Over 1000 Croatian athletes, business men and women, family members from 31 countries joined the Games from July 18 – 22.

Ahead and during the Games, participants were treated to guided tours of sights in Zagreb and surroundings, visited museums and specialized events that offered insight into the country’s history, culture and customs. For example, the Canadians visited the medieval fortified town Medvedgrad, while Team USA visited Karlovac to hear about the Homeland Defense War.

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