Established in July of 1993 as a non-profit, non-governmental and non-party international organization, the Canadian Croatian Congress (CWC) aims to unite and network Croatian associations and institutions throughout the world so as to assist in their successful functioning and to promote the Croatian heritage world-wide. The CWC works in the interests of both the Croatian Homeland and its Diaspora.
Being of a volunteer character and functioning according to its statute and the mutual agreement of its member countries, the activities of the associated institutions and associations remain totally independent and function according to their own rules and regulations.
The CWC membership consists of national branches which have been established in countries throughout the world. These national bodies function according to their own needs, mainly through five working-portfolios:
- Humanitarian activities;
- Reconstruction and investment;
- The promotion of culture, education and relations with the Homeland;
- Public relations and lobbying; and
- Issues relating to the youth.
The following are some of the aims, past achievements and projects of the Canadian Croatian Congress:
- The Canadian Croatian Congress, although a young institution, unites numerous Croatian associations world-wide as no other Croatian body has succeeded nor attempted to achieve to date. (4.5 million Croats and people of Croatian heritage live outside of the Republic of Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina). The CWC has been established and functions on all continents and in all countries of the world where there exist Croatian communities. The CWC is growing in membership as new national bodies are constantly being formed.
- Being a non-governmental and non-party body, the Canadian Croatian Congress has the right to a personal advisory envoy to the United Nations, and is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC since 1998.
- The Canadian Croatian Congress profiles itself as a unique Croatian organization which exists outside the Homeland and can be described as the authentic voice of the Croatian Diaspora, not only in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, but also throughout the rest of the world.
- With more than two hundred working branch offices operating on a voluntary basis throughout the world and with the full cooperation and generosity of non-governmental organizations such as the Croatian Information Centre, the Canadian Croatian Congress has employed eight persons who are full or part-time professional activists. The CWC aims to professionals in the future by establishing new branch offices and employing five to six professional active members.
- The initiative of the CWC to spread the word about the Diaspora in the Croatian National Parliament was made possible with the appointment of a parliamentary representative and with the election of parliamentary members from Croatian communities abroad. The CWC President is also active in promoting and presenting the Croatian Diaspora in the Parliament.
- The CWC proposed and initiated the 42 million US$ æIsland ConnectionÆ (Otocna veza) project for Dalmatia, which was established (on a business basis) during the Homeland War. Investment in the project was completed at the end of 1995. The CWC alone managed to secure for the project approximately 1 million US$ in investments.
- The CWC significantly influenced the Croatian Government to establish The Ministry of Immigration Affairs.
- The CWC established the StudentÆs Fund of the Canadian Croatian Congress. The fund has provided twenty students in the country with scholarships. The number of scholarships being offered is increasing.
- A program of “sorority countries” has also been established according to which Croatian communities from prosperous countries “adopt” a community from the developing countries (eg. Romania, Vojvodina, and some Latin-American countries). This program ensures that no country is excluded from the Croatian unity.
- Publishing activity of the CWC commenced with the release of the World-Wide Directory of Croatian Associations and InstitutionsÆ.
- Although the CWC membership consists of associations and institutions, individuals are also welcome to join, no matter what affiliations they have with other associations and institutions. Individuals can become a CWC friend, CWC Mecena or CWC sponsor.
- The CWC is a publisher of ‘CONGRESS’.
- According to its statue, country members of the CWC are obliged to hold at least twice a year promotions of newly released books.
- The CWC recommends to the Croatian President foreigners who have greatly promoted and supported Croatian interests, as well as Croats who have played a significant role in Croatian communities, for the annual state decorations and awards.
- The CWC firmly believes that the Internet is a solid base for lobbying and public relations.