As we approach
the year 2,000, we must prepare ourselves for the
different society we will be, and the different
lifestyle we will lead.
Not all parts of the globe will be advancing
at the same rate as North America and Europe, but
the advances being made in communications will
affect every person on this planet.
For some years, there has been a significant
drop in attendance at meetings of every
organization, business, religious or fraternal,
and not just in the Slovak community. It's
happening everywhere. There are just too many
things of interest going on, and not enough time
to attend them all. Besides the couch is so
appealing after a hard day's effort.
In recognition of what was happening to our
society, corporate law was change to permit
directors to hold meetings by telephone because
it was becoming so difficult to schedule at a
time when all could be present.
Today meetings are being held by
video-teleconferencing in which people, go to
centres to watch the proceedings by satellite
television. A few weeks ago, I watched one
company wanting to make an announcement to its
employees in New York and Los Angeles using a
two-way satellite hook-up so employees in both
cities could see and hear what was happening and
speak back and forth to each other, and to see
themselves as they did it!
The number of university courses now available
on satellite is astounding and by telephone one
can contact the teacher to get clarifications and
explanations while the teacher is teaching, just
as if one was in the traditional classroom.
In our Slovak communities, it is not unusual
to have just a handful of members show up at
fraternal or other parish organization meetings.
In the year 2000 these meetings will involve
participation by computers through Internet.
While the personal contact will be somewhat
diminished, the true feelings of the community
about topics will be better known because more
people will be participating in these kinds of
meetings from the comfort of their homes.
In addition, services such as Internet, are
making more readily available information that
was buried in libraries and museums. With the
push of a button, one can get access to major
libraries, universities and commercial
information providers. All of this makes of the
people of 2000 very informed in making decisions.
Our Slovak communities are making their
presence felt on Internet. Even as this is
written, there are directories showing more than
200 entries for things Slovak. Even Slovakia is
preparing a page in the WEB (World Wide Web). Our
Embassy in Ottawa is currently developing a page
giving information about Slovakia.
The Slovak Canadian Information Centre opened
a centralized home page whose address is
http://www.slovak.com/scic/ as part of Slovaks
and Slovakia WEB site managed by Ondro Mihal. On
this service one can get information about
Slovakia in overview (history and statistical
information), Slovakia viewed from the outside
(Ondro Mihal's pictorial view of Slovakia),
Slovak Cultural and Information Centre activities
and resources, Slovak Art in Canada (works by
Miroslav Dvorksy and Jozef Stefanka now on it)
and Slovak Related Internet Resources (Slovak
related users around the world).
In a matter of months more than 1100 users had
logged on, and the usage will only climb.
While this is happening our people have to
adapt themselves to these new technologies. Our
presence on Internet proves our Slovak community
will thrive into the year 2000 and beyond.