Recently I stumbled across an interview with internationally renowned Croatian physicist, Dr Davor Pavuna. To give you a bit of context, Dr Pavuna was hand-picked by the Obama Administration as a consultant responsible for reviewing clean energy projects. In short, he’s at the top of his game, in a field where only the truly talented excel.
For anyone who hasn’t seen Dr Pavuna in action, he’s a very lively and entertaining personality, a dream for any interviewer. And so it was that in amongst all these earth shattering subjects, he considered the potential of the Croatian people. He proceeded to wax lyrical about the individual brilliance that Croatian people often demonstrate across a wide variety of fields.
He noted how many outrageously talented footballers Croatia produced relative to its size and claimed that Croatians demonstrated huge ability in areas of science and information technology.
Having grown up in Melbourne’s Croatian community, I believe that that flair for individual brilliance also exists here.
Once he’d made that point, Dr Pavuna changed tack. Despite the evident individual talent, Dr Pavuna claimed that Croatian’s had a fundamental problem with working together. He further claimed that Croatian’s are fine in a team with non-Croatians, but put a few of them together and it all falls apart pretty quickly.
That leads to two questions: First, is there any merit to Dr Pavuna’s thinking, and secondly, if there is, what can we do to change it, given that any such change could only benefit us as a community?
Without getting philosophical, I accept that what Dr Pavuna says is true. To substantiate this, I could rely upon evidence provided by several Croatian governments since independence, but that would be too easy a target.
Instead, I’d like to focus on our local Victorian Croatian community and in particular, the professionals and business people of second and third generation Croatian immigrants. Why have we isolated ourselves as talented individuals when communities all around us have seen great value in cooperation?
Let me give you some examples:
– The Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce (AICC) has over 1,000 corproate members. Fifteen of the top 25 companies in Australia are currently members or sponsors of the AICC.
– The Italian Chamber of Commerce in Australia is one of 76 Italian Chambers around the world, with a global turnover of 75 million euros.
– The Greek, Turkish, Irish, French, Chilean, Spanish, Chinese and many other ethnic communities all have long standing, commercially successful chambers of commerce.
Why are these communities so much more advanced in organising themselves? Why are we so apathetic towards cooperation for mutual and wider benefit? Is it really because we have difficulty in working together? I’d genuinely like to hear people’s thoughts on these questions.
The VCCC for its part thinks that not only is there scope for greater community cooperation, but also that it’s absolutely necessary. To that end we’ll keep promoting the organisation, strong in the belief that what we’re doing has real value.
Having worked with my fellow committee members, I can only attest to what an incredibly fulfilling experience it has been. I also remember the way that this community came together in the early 90’s when a Saturday night couldn’t pass without there being a fund-raising event of sorts. Without wishing to get up on a soap box to do my best Martin Luther King impersonation, I think I’ve seen a glimpse of the promised land.
I remind you all that the VCCC is holding a networking seminar with the express purpose of upskilling our community . The details are noted here on Upcoming Event page. I challenge people to take a leap of faith and trust in our ability and potential as a community by attending either tomorrow night or one of our future events.
Hope to see you there.