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Bosnia’s Paralysed Peace – a new book by Christopher Bennett, a member of BSS

  • Christopher Bennett: Bosnia's Paralysed Peace

Two decades after the Dayton Peace Agreement came into force, Bosnia is not at war. However, the absence of war is not peace. Bosnia has failed to move on from conflict. Political processes are deadlocked. The country is in a state of political, social and economic paralysis. As the international community has downgraded its presence, conditions have deteriorated, irredentist agendas have resurfaced and the outlook is increasingly negative. War remains a risk because of myriad unresolved issues, zero-sum politics and incompatible positions among rival ethno-national elites.

Christopher Bennett, a member of the British-Slovene Society,  presents a cautionary  political history of Bosnia’s disintegration, war and peace process. He concludes by proposing a paradigm shift aimed at building ethno-national security and making the peace settlement self-sustaining.

See full text

Presentations by author:

1st November – London School of Economics

2nd November – De Montfort University (Leicester)

3rd November – University of Oxford

4th November – University of Kent (Canterbury)

Buy for £12.99 with free shipping worldwide

By the Slovene hayrack at the annual Oxford picnic

As has become a custom, the sun shone once again on the annual British-Slovene Society picnic at the Oxford University Arboretum on the last Sunday of a very rainy June.

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The event is proving ever more popular with families with children, who can run around, kick balls, and climb over a mighty tree trunk.

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For grown-ups and children alike, there were sumptuous spreads of food and drink laid out on blankets under two gazebos – and many pleasant hours to renew friendships, meet new acquaintances and network.

And all in the presence of Slovenia’s national symbol, the kozolec (hayrack).

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For Members of the British-Slovene Society only:

Notice is hereby given that the The Annual General Meeting of the British-Slovene Society will be held at 7.00pm on Wednesday 27 July 2016 at the offices of:

The Middle East Association

27 St James’s Street / 6th Floor

London SW1 1HA


 Ordinary Business

  1.  To receive and adopt the Report of the Trustees and Accounts for the year ended 30 Sept 2015
  2. To re-elect the following  as  a Trustee, who retires by rotation and is offered for re-election:  Michael Chant.
  3. To re-elect the following  as  a Trustee, who retires by rotation and is offered for re-election:  Gorazd Kert.
  4. To re-elect the following  as  a Trustee, who retires by rotation and is offered for re-election:  Simona Bennett.
  5. To re-elect the following  as  a Trustee, who retires by rotation and is offered for re-election:  Mojca Sanjenbam.
  6. To re-elect the following  as  a Trustee, who retires by rotation and is offered for re-election:  Igor Cesarec.
  7. To re-elect the following  as  a Trustee, who was appointed during the year: Marcus Ferrar.
  8. To appoint a Secretary for the forthcoming year. Alan Banes has indicated his willingness to continue in office.
  9. To appoint Gray & Co. Partners Ltd as our accounting advisers to hold office until  the conclusion of the 2017 AGM.
  10.  Any Other Business

David Lloyd

Chairman                                                                              Dated: 29 June  2016

In case you cannot attend the AGM and wish to vote, please use the Form of Proxy: BSS 2016 AGM Form of proxy

“Praznujmo s slovensko domovino” – “Let’s Celebrate with the Slovenian Homeland”

Slovenia is celebrating 25 years of its independence and will hold an All-Slovene Meeting on 30 June in the Slovenian Parliament.

To mark this occasion, young Slovenians living abroad are invited to assess relations between their new homeland and Slovenia. You can either come in person or send a video. Please see the invitation: Vabilo XVI. Vseslovensko srecanje 2016

Our Lisa Hirsch has left us

We are sad to report the death of our oldest member, Lisa Hirsch, who has passed away in her home in Porthcawl, Wales, at the age of 96.


Her funeral will take place at 2 pm on Thursday 2nd June at Acton Cemetery, Park Royal Rd, London W3 6XA. There is plenty of room for parking cars.

Diana Poberaj, who knew Lisa for many years, writes:

Lisa Hirsch spent her pre-war teenage years in Maribor, now Slovenia and then part of Yugoslavia. However that’s not where the family originated from. Born in 1919, she spent her first years in Fürth in Bavaria. When Hitler came to power in 1933, the family had to leave, for they were Jews.

As the war drew near, Maribor wasn’t safe either. Sponsored by her uncle, a founder member of Marks & Spencer, she was able to come to England at the age of 19 in 1938. Soon her family could join her in London. Lisa was supposed to study English, but applied for a job at the BBC.

After a brief interview to test whether she could speak clearly in Slovene, she landed a job with the Yugoslav section of the BBC, and was soon broadcasting back to where she had just come from. At the BBC, she met my father, Anton Poberaj, who recounts this story of Lisa’s wartime years:

“One afternoon on a fire-training exercise, she was instructed to carry heavy pails of water. The Polish contingent at the BBC, by nature most gallant, rushed to her aid each time, as dignity would not allow them to leave a lady in such dire need. Finally a supercilious English voice barked out: ‘Gentlemen! For the purpose of this exercise, Miss Hirsch is NOT a lady!’”

In the 1950s, Lisa married Philip Houlton and converted to the Orthodox Christian faith. She continued working for the BBC for many years and remained the consummate journalist until the end of her days.

In later years, Lisa left Acton to live in the seaside town of Porthcawl in Wales, near her son David and his wife Anne.

The Trustees of the British-Slovene Society express their heartfelt condolences to David and his family. We will miss Lisa at our Prešeren evenings and Oxford picnics.

The British-Slovene Society Annual Picnic

Dear Slovenes, friends and families,

We warmly invite you to join us from 12 noon till 4.30 p.m. on Sunday 26th June for the Annual Picnic in the Oxford University Arboretum at Nuneham Courtenay. We will meet again by the kozolec (Slovene hay rack).

Bring your own picnic and drinks, deckchairs, picnic blankets, your kids, grandchildren and friends. As is usual among Slovenes, we encourage you to bring plenty to eat and drink and share it with everyone!


This splendid Arboretum is close to Nuneham Courtenay House, where Lewis Carroll would row the young Alice Liddell (Alice in Wonderland) and her sisters on the River Thames on a summer afternoon.

It is situated just south of the village of Nuneham Courtenay on the A4074 road from Reading, eight miles south of Oxford. The postal code is OX44 9PX. From London it can be reached by the M40, exit 8, A40 to Oxford, then southwards round the Ring Road (A4142) on to the A4074 towards Reading.

If you come by train to Oxford or Reading, you can then take the bus X39/X40 to the Arboretum. If you have problems please mail to or call 07584 199 177 and we will do what we can to help.

The Arboretum has kindly agreed to mow the area around the hayrack, which has recently suffered some damage and we are not allowed to climb on it. Adults attending the British-Slovene picnic pay £5, concessions £3.50. You can pay by cash, credit/debit card or cheque. Children and Members of Oxford University (bring your card) enter for free.

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More information on the Arboretum can be found at

We must leave by 4:30 p.m. when the Arboretum closes. However, if you wish to come earlier, you can do so from 10 a.m. onwards.

We hope we can welcome many of you as we celebrate and enjoy an afternoon around the kozolec – one of the most traditional symbols of Slovenia and its culture.

Peace by Piece – London concert for children of Syria 15 April

On Friday 15 April at 7 pm, in the Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church in London, a concert will be held in support of the children of Syria. A wealth of great music and poetry will be performed by exceptional young Slovene artists of London and their friends from around the world. You will hear the world premiere of a piece by Jan Gorjanc and another world premiere by British-Australian composer Nicholas Hennell-Foley. Also, two Slovenian cellists from Trinity, Aristel Škrbić playing marimba, Spanish harp player Anna Quiroga, and much more.

Before the concert, at 6 pm, you can meet and talk with the artists.

Join us in the exciting experience! There is no charge for entry, but please contribute generously to the collection for the children of Syria.

Peace by Peace


Slovene organises Blackheath International Chamber Music Festival

The 2nd edition of the Blackheath International Chamber Music Festival will take place at the All Saints’ Church Blackheath, SE3 0TY and the Church of the Ascension Blackheath, SE10 8AN from 9 to 24 April 2016.

The festival is organised by the Slovene Violinist Lana Trotovšek and features six concerts played by musician from Slovenia, UK, Japan, Belarus, Spain, China and Argentina.

2016 Chamber music festival

For more information see:

Tickets can be obtained from: or before the concert at the venue.

Members of The British-Slovene Society have 25% discount.

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