2019 Zvonimir Aničić
It is with great pride and pleasure that this year’s Outstanding Croatian is being awarded to someone who has given selflessly of himself to the Croatian community of Vancouver, the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Each year CroatiaFest recognizes an individual who has made contributions to the growth of our community by volunteering their time and resources to preserve Croatian identity, culture and heritage. This year’s recipient is an example of such dedication.
Through his work as a teacher, performer, community organizer and representative, he has left an indelible mark on the growth of the community, engaging youth and building bridges between the Croatian communities in Canada, The United States and Croatia. His efforts are most deserving of recognition.
Zvonimir Aničić was born in Vancouver as the third child of Croatian emigrants. As many Croatian children, he got involved with the “Hrvatski Vitezovi” / Croatian Knights in Vancouver at an early age. At just five years old, he became an alter server at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Croatian Catholic parish, where he served with joy and seriousness until he was 16 years old. Over the last few years, he has taken on the singing of the Passion of Christ (following the style from his parents’ home town of Sumartin on the Island of Brač), maintaining a tradition that has been nurtured in the Vancouver community since the beginning of the parish.
As his musical interest grew, in 1984, Zvonimir joined the folklore ensemble “Tamburica Orchestra Kardinal Stepinac” (TOKS), where he is still active today, 34 years later, performing the duty of the President and Music Director.
After graduating from high school, Zvonimir went on to attend and completed the Management Information System program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. He started his career in 1996 with Best Buy (Canada), leading several departments in the company's headquarters until 2013. In 2014, he began working as a Project Manager for a retail solutions company, managing jobs in western Canada, until he was invited back to Best Buy to run the operations of the Canadian head office in February 2019.
During the aggression on Croatia, like all Croats in the emigration, Zvonimir actively involved himself in the community to help the Homeland. As the Vice President and performing member of TOKS, he participated in a tour of Croatia in 1995 where TOKS performed at several festivals, as well as for wounded veterans and refugees.
In 2003, Zvonimir was elected to the position of President of the Croatian-Canadian Folklore Federation - West (CCFFW), a role he performed for 12 years. In 2010, he was invited by the then Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to be part of the Canadian delegation on the first visit of a Canadian Prime Minister to the Republic of Croatia.
Zvonimir was elected to the Advisory Council of the Croatian Government for Croats living outside of the Republic of Croatia at the first session in 2013, and was re-elected for a second term in September 2017, representing Croatian Canadians. During the recent visit by Her Excellency Kolinda Grabar Kitarović, President of the Republic of Croatia in May 2019, Zvonimir received the “Charter of Croatia” from the President on behalf of the Parish. The charter is awarded to organizations, communities and legal entities in appreciation of everything that they do for the fostering of the Croatian culture, language, tradition and customs and the develoment of the Republic of Croatia.
Zvonimir and his wife Kristina continue to carry on the traditions with their children Martin, Dominik & Luka, all whom are current members of TOKS.