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Ing. Silvia Gašparovičová
wife of the President of the Slovak Republic
Ceremonial duties, charity events, professional and education conferences or visits abroad – all of these, to name but a few, are activities tackled by Silvia Gašparovičová, wife of the President of the Slovak Republic. As the First Lady, the role she embarked on after her husband Ivan Gašparovič was elected president in 2004, she handles issues in many disciplines. The gamut of her activities is wide; however, first and foremost, the First Lady is visibly at the service of people. “There are a great number of people who face difficult situations which they are unable to handle themselves, and they hope for a helping hand. These are the people I do my best to help,” says Silvia Gašparovičová, whose agenda is also full of daily duties. She spends every minute of her spare time attending to the problems of citizens, replying to their letters and requests, or assessing projects in the fields of education, healthcare and social affairs.
Her daily schedule includes various social events and meetings focusing on the cultural and professional aspects of society. She frequently attends many kinds of expert seminars, lectures, and conferences of professional organisations held under her auspices. In her opinion, the possibility of discussing important issues directly with the people involved is a valuable asset. Knowledge and experience gained in this manner is highly inspirational, allowing her to take stances and express informed opinions, which can in turn be utilised in the preparation of drafts or legislation in the areas of education, welfare and healthcare.
In addition to ceremonial duties during visits abroad, Silvia Gašparovičová also attends meetings and holds talks with top representatives of societies and organisations active in the areas of education and healthcare, or social and cultural life. These represent a source of new and interesting experiences that can then be brought to Slovakia.
Having learnt about the important position of the National Women’s Council during her visit to Ireland, she intends to establish a similar association in Slovakia which would be able to raise comment and opinion on legislation prepared concerning women, children and the family. According to Silvia Gašparovičová, “women should be afforded equal opportunities in their professional career and be remunerated for their work on an equal footing with men. The position of women deserves more respect and an appropriate involvement in all family and society related matters.” For this reason she is trying to promote a principle that the spouses of Visegrad Four presidents also be present at their working meetings, in the position of an equal partner.
Silvia Gašparovičová actively supports a host of charity organisations and events, awareness-raising and prevention efforts in health affairs, the activities of the Slovak Red Cross, business women, mothers’ centres and many others.
She became honorary president of the TOP Centrum Podnikateliek (a businesswomen’s association), where experienced businesswomen assist other women in starting their own businesses. This is a place where they share experience and engage in international activities. Furthermore, she is an honorary member of the International Women’s Club which aims to bring together the wives of diplomats in Slovakia. Silvia Gašparovičová also assumed patronage over the Slovanské gymnázium (Private Slavic Grammar School) and promotes the studies of Slavic languages at secondary schools.
As the First Lady, she runs her own foundation – the Silvia Gašparovičová Foundation – Education and Health for All. Her own projects within the foundation focus on education, improving the quality of life of disabled people, and the improvement of healthcare and healthy lifestyles through promoting healthy nutrition and physical fitness for children and young people. In a project entitled “Life without Violence” she helps women who are the victims of domestic violence to seek shelter, educate themselves and muster courage for a new life and a new start in job or career.
One of the most important activities undertaken by Silvia Gašparovičová at present is making education accessible to citizens by means of forms of e-learning available on the Internet. For this purpose she initiated the establishment of the Virtual Internet University in Slovakia, to increase the options for education and study for people living in remote regions who have difficulties accessing educational institutions.
As the First Lady, Silvia Gašparovičová has received important awards, decorations and plaques.
Order of Catherine the Great, First Class, No. 15 – the Russian Federation, for merits and major contribution to Slovak-Russian relations (2006)
Grand Cross of Isabella of Castile – the Kingdom of Spain, for merits in the furthering of Slovak-Spanish relations (2007)
Ruby Cross – the International Commission on Public Awards and Perpetuation of Names of Individuals, States and Settlements, the Russian Federation, for exceptional public benefit activities in the field of charity and humanity (2010)
Royal Norwegian Order of Merit – the Kingdom of Norway (2010)
Henry Dunant Medal – Slovak Red Cross, for activities in favor of SRC (2011)
Order of Danneborg - the Kingdom of Denmark (2012)
Plaque of Academician Ladislav Dérer – FNsP Akad. L. Dérera, Bratislava, for special support to healthcare (2007)
Honorary Plaque to the XX. anniversary of the DFNsP in Kramáre - Children´s Faculty Hospital, Bratislava (2011)
Golden Heart – Slovak Wheelchair Dance Sport Association (2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012)
White Heart – Slovak Chamber of Nurses and Midwives (2008)
Commemorative medal – Faculty of Civil Engineering, Bratislava (2008)
Gift of the Year 2008 – thank and moral appreciation for the Slovak Foundation of Silvia Gašparovičová, Slovak Humanitarian Council (2008)
Recognition for the work for sick and poor people – Sovereign Military Order of Malta (2010)
Commemorative medal – University of Central Europe in Skalica (2010)
Humanitarian Oscar – Slovak Wheelchair Dance Sport Association (2011)
Commemorative medal – Office for Slovaks Living Abroad, for significant merits in favor of the Slovak foreign and especially in favor of the Slovaks living in Hungary (2012)
TCP Award – Top Centre of Businesswomen, for long-term support and cooperation (2013)