We are an independent non-profit organization
which supports highly talented students and scholars.
We aim to enhance Slovenian education activities and unite Slovenian scholars and educators across the globe. We offer a variety of high-impact grants and endowment programs, teaching and learning materials, as well as international exchange of students and faculty.
We also strive to support and coordinate business and investment opportunities in Slovenia and other Central and Eastern European countries.
Our three core values are permeated by a special care for Slovenian heritage.
We seek an uncompromising standard of excellence in teaching, learning, and scholarship within and across disciplines.
We seek to form the whole person: men and women distinguished by intellectual rigor, moral character, community building and the ability to make ethical decisions.
We seek to prepare global citizens who advocate for the benefit of humanity and contribute to the intellectual, economic and cultural vitality of society by serving those in need and promoting the flourishing of all.
Former President Pahor’s Letter
Ladies and Gentlemen,
it is with great honour and pride that I welcome your initiative to integrate the potential of young Slovenian academics working in the United States, mainly because I sincerely believe that the knowledge society is the only society of the future, and that our existence and development depend on the foundations that we build for such a society. I have repeatedly stressed that young people should seek knowledge abroad if they wish to do so, while the state must create the conditions for them to be able to, and wish to, return…
Former President Pahor’s Letter
Ladies and Gentlemen,
it is with great honour and pride that I welcome your initiative to integrate the potential of young Slovenian academics working in the United States, mainly because I sincerely believe that the knowledge society is the only society of the future, and that our existence and development depend on the foundations that we build for such a society. I have repeatedly stressed that young people should seek knowledge abroad if they wish to do so, while the state must create the conditions for them to be able to, and wish to, return when they wish. I am convinced that the intellectual potential of Slovenian youth, enriched with experience obtained abroad, may give Slovenia the impetus to rank among the most developed European countries.
Therefore, I believe that the establishment of the Foundation is a small but resolute step in this direction, and that Slovenia will benefit greatly from intercontinental integration in scientific and educational fields. The relatively confined Slovenian education system offers a great challenge for future organisation of this field, while the strengthened partnership at this level will be an excellent stepping stone for students and researchers in Slovenia in their personal as well as institutional development and better integration. In the future society, i.e. the knowledge society, not only will the integration of young people be welcome, but necessary.
Therefore, I see the establishment of the American-Slovenian Education Foundation primarily as great support for young scientists in maintaining contact with their homeland, and at the same time as contributing significantly to the integration of Slovenian scientists in the USA and vice versa.
Further to that, it should be noted that, not only is the Foundation a valuable acquisition in the scientific and educational field, but also a platform for strengthening economic cooperation through the exchange of students and professors and the integration of potential investors.
I hope that this type of cooperation in particular will become a key element in closer political relations between the USA and Slovenia.
As President of the Republic, I support initiatives that facilitate and enable young people to enter a world of new and better opportunities. Therefore, I extend my sincere thanks to those who will support the activities of the Foundation and thus contribute to making the future society a society of knowledge rather than the society of a lost generation.
The President of the Republic of Slovenia
Embassy of Slovenia in Washington
The Foundation strives to strengthen the link between Slovenia and the U.S. by advancing programs for students and educators that will encourage growth, exchange of ideas, character formation, and community building. ASEF links promising students in Slovenia with university and industry mentors in America and does the same for American students in Slovenia; it sponsors individuals educated in the U.S. to give back by participating in the academic and professional spheres in Slovenia; and it fosters shorter cultural exchange programs for students.
Board of directors
Advisory board members
ASEF Institute for Education and Research
Other members of the executive committee at the ASEF Institute
Past Board Members
Deceased Advisory Board Members
Meet Our Junior Fellows
Professors Hosting Junior Fellows
Fon Tacer Klementina
Golob Deeb Janina
Professors and Mentors in Slovenia
Pajk Žontar Tanja
Šraj Lebar Tanja
Tamara Pavasović Trošt
Meet Our Lifetime Achivement Award Recipients
Sunita L. Williams
Sunita Williams was born in Euclid, Ohio, to Indian American neuroanatomist Deepak Pandya and Slovene American Ursuline Bonnie (Zalokar) Pandya, who reside in Falmouth, Massachusetts. Williams’s paternal family is from Jhulasan in the Mehsana district in Gujarat, India, while her maternal great-grandmother Mary Bohinc (originally Marija Bohinjec), born in Slovenia, immigrated to America as an 11-year-old with her mother, 1891 Slovene emigrant Ursula (Strajhar) Bohinac. Williams graduated from Needham High School in Needham, Massachusetts, in 1983. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in physical science from the United States Naval Academy in 1987 and a Master of Science degree in engineering management from Florida Institute of Technology in 1995. Sunita L. Williams (Suni) was selected as an astronaut by NASA in 1998 and is a veteran of two space missions Expeditions 14/15 and 32/33. She is currently training for the first post-certification mission of Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft – the second crewed flight for that vehicle – and her third long-duration mission aboard the International Space Station. Williams and her crewmates are working closely with Boeing to develop their new spacecraft systems, which will provide roundtrip crew transportation services to the International Space Station and, along with SpaceX’s CrewDragon, return the ability to launch humans into space from United States soil.
Prof. Mia Rode
Prof. Mija Rode has dedicated her whole life to promote Slovenia, Slovenian language and culture in the US. Her extraordinary work is recognized by ASEF as extremely important and the one which is deeply connected with ASEF’s mission of building bridges between Slovenia and Slovenes all around the world. Prof. Rode was born and raised in Slovenia, moving with her family to Chicago at the age of 20. She obtained her master’s degree in library studies at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania. She then got a job at the Stanford University Library, where she was quickly promoted to head the department, managing successful projects such as Early American Imprints and Goldsmiths’-Kress Library of Economic Literature. She was also appointed Stanford’s representative in the Library of Congress and Senior Librarian Emerita at the university. After her retirement, she worked on upgrading the Slovenian language syllabus and taught Slovenian in the Slovenian community in San Francisco and northern California. Prof. Rode also played an important role in founding the Slovenian course at Stanford last year as part of Stanford’s Language Center, which was a project of the Ljubljana Faculty of Arts. The program has proved popular and is already attended not only by Slovenians living abroad or their descendants but also by other young people interested in Slovenia.
Prof. Dr. Duncan Haldane
In 2016 Prof. Dr. Duncan M. Haldane became the first Slovenian to receive the Nobel Prize in Physics. He is the Eugene Higgins Professor of Physics at Princeton University, where his research focuses on topological states of quantum condensed matter, such as topological insulators. Prof. Haldane was born in London in 1951, in a medical family who greatly valued science and education. His mother, Ljudmila Renko, came from the Slovenian village Borovlje, located today in the Austrian side of Koroška (Carinthia). His father was a psychiatrist and came from Scotland. Ljudmila was a medical student working in a hospital when she met Prof. Haldane’s father, at the time an army doctor in the British Occupation Forces at the Austria-Slovenia border. Prof. Haldane’s parents’ backgrounds gave him a multicultural heritage, with relatives in both Scotland and in Slovenia/Austria. His family often visited Borovlje for summer holidays, so he became reasonably fluent in German. Prof. Haldane says his command of Slovenian sadly remained very basic. His mother was very proud of her heritage. Although Prof. Haldane grew up in London, without a trace of a Scottish or Slovenian accent, he self-identified as half-Scottish, half-Slovenian. Haldane earned his B.A. in 1973 and Ph.D. in 1978, both from the University of Cambridge. From 1977 to 1981 he was a physicist at Institut Laue-Langevin in Grenoble, France. He joined the faculty at the University of Southern California in 1981. He served as a member of the technical staff at AT&T Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill from 1985 to 1988, and was a professor at the University of California-San Diego from 1986 to 1992. He was elected a fellow of the American Physical Society in 1986 and awarded a Sloan Foundation fellowship from 1984 to 1988. He is known for a wide variety of fundamental contributions to condensed matter physics including the theory of Luttinger liquids, the theory of one-dimensional spin chains, the theory of fractional quantum hall effect, exclusion statistics, entanglement spectra and much more.
Dr. Edi Gobec
Dr. Edi Gobec’s life work has been to study, document, and preserve the influence of Slovenian culture all over the world. Dr. Gobec published a book named “Slovenian American Inventors and Innovators” which catalogs the tremendous achievements of Americans of Slovenian lineage. This book is replete with biographical information on the people responsible for the development of some of the most interesting innovations of the last 50 years. Dr. Gobec is also the founding director of the Slovenian Research Center in Cleveland. In 2020 The President of the Republic of Slovenia Borut Pahor awarded the Order of Merit to Dr. Gobec, for his life’s work and contribution to the recognition of Slovenia and the enrichment of knowledge about the achievements of Slovenes abroad.
Dr. Ronald Sega
Dr. Ronald Sega is an American astronaut with Slovenian roots (his grand-parents were born in Loški potok). He is currently a professor of systems engineering and Vice President for Energy and the Environment at the Colorado State University Research Foundation but is known by all the outstanding achievements during his work as the astronaut at NASA since 1991. From November 1994 to March 1995, Sega was the NASA Director of Operations, Star City, Russia (The Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center) responsible for managing NASA activities at Star City. These activities involved building an organization and infrastructure to support astronaut and cosmonaut mission and science training for flight on the Russian Space Station Mir. He also participated in training on Russian Space Systems and was the first American to train in the Russian EVA suit (Orlan) in their underwater facility (Hydrolaboratory). A veteran of two space flights (STS-60 in 1994 and STS-76 in 1996), Sega logged over 420 hours in space. (Source: US Embassy)
Dr. Zvonko Fazarinc
Dr. Zvonko Fazarinc became interested in electronics during his schooling in Celje. The path took him to America, where he moved with his entire family. His hitherto successful work enabled him to enroll at Stanford University in California. In 1965, he began to work at Hewlett-Packard Laboratory. Because of the great development opportunities and a good income remained loyal to the small firm at the time. However, he began lecturing certain fields of physics and electrical engineering in the electrical engineering department at Stanford University. At Hewlett – Packard Company, he has led a number of research projects since 1972 with medical, analytical, communication and systems fields. He participated in many inventions, including the important development of the minicomputer and GPS.
Dr. France Rode
Dr. France Rode studied electrical engineering at the University of Ljubljana and after completing his studies gained experience in Germany. In 1960, he moved to the USA and made San Francisco his home. He successfully completed his Master’s Degree in Biomedicine at NorthwesternUniversity in Illinois in 1962 and, in the same year, started working at Hewlett-Packard in California, where his exceptional scientific path began. He was one of the leading engineers for more than twenty years. Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard included Dr. Rode in the team of engineers focusing on the development of computing devices of the smallest dimensions. One day, Hewlett pointed to a clumsy desk calculator weighing almost 20 kilograms and said to the group of development engineers, including Dr. Rode, that he wanted to see that in a size which would fit into his shirt pocket. The engineers began developing a new device by first measuring the size of their boss’s pocket. The innovative HP-35 pocket calculator was then created. The greatest credits for producing the first integrated circuit and the design of a miniature processor were ascribed to Dr. Rode. Dr. Rode constantly developed new challenging products. After leaving the Hewlett-Packard company, he started his own business and was involved in the development of contactless radio frequency identification chips (RFID) and satellite signal receivers (GPS), which are used today in the majority of mobile phones and navigational devices for vehicles. One of his ingenious inventions was also the workplace entry card. Dr. Rode also participated in the development of the first laptop. He worked on the electronic lock and key system and some other security devices.
The ASEF Institute carries out the activities of education, research, consulting and publishing mainly in the field of social sciences and humanities. The purpose of the institute is non-formal education of young people in their professional field as well as in the field of personal growth. The vision of the ASEF Institute is to promote the autonomy of young people, care for young people with fewer opportunities in society, promote volunteering, solidarity and intergenerational cooperation, and enable young people to move and participate internationally.
The ASEF Institute promotes and creates activities and programs in which it unites young Slovenians in Slovenia, abroad and around the world. Through the 3-year non-formal education program (ASEF Junior Fellows), the Institute enables young people to acquire important skills and experience for personal and professional growth, charity and volunteering, as well as informal professional (research, academic and work) activities. Young people acquire competencies such as the art of communication, international cooperation, advanced competencies in various fields, communication in foreign languages, participation in international groups, self-initiative and entrepreneurship, cultural and civic awareness and digital literacy. The mission of the ASEF Institute is to provide young people with these competencies in an informal, extracurricular and casual way of learning.
Introduction to Slovenia
The capital Ljubljana is the country’s largest city with approximately 300,000 inhabitants with the river Ljubljanica cutting it in the middle. For bikers and runners, there are long well-tended paths on both sides of the river. Unlike many world’s cities, one can feel secure walking alone at night. The experience in Slovenia will offer students the great opportunity to discover their family roots.
Students can take advantage of Slovenia’s central location to explore other European countries. Because it is part of the Schengen area travel to Hungary, Austria, Italy, and others is simply a matter of crossing the border. No visa is needed. Vienna is approximately 150 miles to the north, Budapest 200 miles to the northeast, Venice 230 miles to the southwest, and Zagreb 75 miles south. Slovenia is a mountainous country with a tradition of skiing as well as hosting World Cup skiing competitions.
Finally, the cost of living and studying in Slovenia is affordable.
As a country, Slovenia places a high premium on education. Many prominent people have come from Slovenia and left their mark in the United States. Among many others, they include Zvonko Fazarinc and France Rode (inventors of HP calculator), Tom Harkin, Amy Klobuchar and George Voinovich (U.S. Senators), Željko Ivanek (Emmy Award-winning actor), Luka Doncic and Goran Dragic (NBA Stars), Anže Kopitar (Stanley Cup Winner), Anton Mavretič (Voyager 1 and 2 Projects), as well as Sunita Williams and Ronald Šega (NASA Astronauts). Slovenians are known as excellent engineers, talented artists, innovative thinkers, hard workers, smart entrepreneurs and enthusiastic learners.
We want to broaden the horizons for highly talented students by ensuring access to quality education, helping them learn how to be successful on a global scale and building a community of educators and leaders of excellence, character and service.