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President of the Slovak Republic
Born in Poltár on 27th March 1941, President Gašparovič is married and has two adult children – Denisa and Ivo. After studying at the Comenius University Faculty of Law from 1959 to 1964, he earned his PhD in 1968 and he was appointed Associate Professor at the very same faculty. 1964 saw Ivan Gašparovič working at the Martin District Prosecutor’s Office and subsequently at the Municipal Prosecutor’s Office in Bratislava. Between 1966 and 1989, Ivan Gašparovič served as the Vice-Chairman of the Czechoslovak Ice Hockey Federation International Commission. He began lecturing at the Comenius University Faculty of Law, Department of Criminal Law, Criminology, and Criminalistics in 1968. He became Co-Chairman of the Independent Slovak Lawyers Forum in 1989 and the Vice-Rector of Comenius University in 1990. From 1990 to 1992, he served as the Prosecutor General of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic in Prague. In 1992, Ivan Gašparovič worked as a professor at the Comenius University Faculty of Law and he also was a member of its Scientific Council. He was elected Speaker of the National Council of the Slovak Republic the same year and he also co-authored the Slovak Constitution. He held the post of Speaker of the National Council of the Slovak Republic (the Slovak Parliament) from 1994 to 1998, and he served as the acting President of the Slovak Republic between March and October 1998 – the year in which, Ivan Gašparovič also worked as Member of the National Council of the Slovak Republic, Member of the Parliamentary Committee for Constitutional Law, Political Mandates and Immunity and Member of the Parliamentary Delegation to the Inter-Parliamentary Union. Between July and October 2002, Ivan Gašparovič was an independent Member of the National Council of the Slovak Republic. He founded the HZD (Movement for Democracy) Party in 2002, becoming its leader. In the same year – following the end of his electoral term in the Slovak Parliament – he returned to his previous vocation as a pedagogue at the Comenius University Faculty of Law.
He ran in the 2004 presidential elections, emerging as the victor in second round on 17th April. He was officially inaugurated as President of the Slovak Republic on 15th June 2004.
During his tenure as Head of State, Ivan Gašparovič received an honorary doctorate “Doctor Honoris Causa” from the State University of Moldova, the Plekhanov Russian Academy of Economics in Moscow, and the University of Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Ivan Gašparovič was awarded the Sigillum Magnum award of the University of Bologna in Italy. The Slovak President was made the protector of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts.
President Ivan Gašparovič is the holder of the highest foreign state decorations. The Knight Grand Cross presented by the British Queen Elizabeth II represents an extraordinary honour. He was also awarded the Grand Cross of the Civil and Military Order of Merit of Adolphe of Nassau by Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, and received the Grand Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic with Collar, Spain’s highest decoration, from Juan Carlos I, King of Spain.
Further honours conferred to Ivan Gašparovič were the Grand Collar of the Order of Prince Henry from Portugal and the Order of the Cross of St. Mary’s Land from Estonia. The Order of Viesturs was awarded by the Republic of Lithuania and the Order of the Three Stars by the Republic of Latvia. Ivan Gašparovič is the holder of the highest honour of the Republic of Croatia – the Grand Order of King Tomislav with sash and Grand Star, and the Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, or the highest decoration of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Other important foreign decorations include the Grand Cross of the Order of the Dutch Lion and the Grand Collar of the Order of Makarios III from Cyprus. In Greece, Gašparovič received the Grand Cross of the Order of the Redeemer, Gold Key of Thessaloniki and the Gold Medal of Merit of the City of Athens. Ivan Gašparovič received Danish Order of the Elephant from Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II et received also Order of the Republic of Serbia and Order of the White Lion- decoration of the Czech Republic.
St. Elizabeth University of Healthcare and Social Work in Bratislava awarded Gašparovič with the Golden Medal for his opinions, and he also received the Chatam Sofer Medal from the Museum of Jewish Culture for his merits in the development of the museum. The head of the Slovak Republic was also awarded a degree honoris causa by the University of St. Cyril and Methodius in Trnava. Slovak Union of Anti-Fascist Fighters awarded Ivan Gašparovič Golden Cross for Loyalty. Ivan Gašparovič is a holder of the Raoul Wallenberg Centennial Medal awarded to him by the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Raoul Wallenberg’s birth to honour the courage of Slovak rescuers who did not lose their humanity even in the darkest time of human history and helped to save people during the Holocaust.
President Gašparovič was awarded Honorary Membership of Cork City Council (Ireland) and honorary citizenship of the Slovak towns of Veľká Lomnica, Humenné, Myjava, Svit, Kežmarok, Pruské, Moravské Lieskové, Krajné, Banská Štiavnica and Turzovka. For personal contribution to spreading the good word and the message of Alexander Dubček he received an award of the town of Uhrovec and also the Gold Medal of the Alexander Dubček Society. As a token of appreciation for the development of intensive bilateral cooperation, the Polish President awarded Gašparovič with the Order of the White Eagle, Poland’s highest decoration.
During his official visit in Japan, the head of the Slovak Republic was also awarded a degree honoris causa by the International University of Tokyo for the development and promotion of JapaneseSlovak relations.
For his merits in the formation of the Slovak Republic, President Ivan Gašparovič was awarded the Order of Andrej Hlinka, First Class, and in accordance with the State Decorations Act, he is also the holder of the Order of Ľudovít Štúr, First Class; the Cross of Milan Rastislav Štefánik, First Class; and the Pribina Cross, First Class.
The Slovak President is the author of two publications:
- Ivan Gašparovič: Thinking nationally, feeling socially
The Matica slovenská publishing house, 2006
- Ivan Gašparovič: Decent Life for All
The Matica slovenská publishing house, 2009
Ivan Gašparovič has been President of the Slovak Republic since 15 June 2004, and was re-elected in the presidential election on 4 April 2009. Gašparovič’s inauguration to his second term as President was held on 15 June 2009.