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Woman of the Year 2003
Ljubljana (Slovenia), 11. january 2004
Benka has been selected as Slovene Woman of The Year by the readers of Jana magazine. Benka was chosen from 15 nominees and received over 23 percent of the votes.

"Benka Pulko is a lady, married to a motorcycle, and a woman who has the world in her hand", were the words of Jana's editor Melita Berlezak as she announced this year´s winner. More than 6,500 votes were mailed in by the readers of Jana between November 4th and December 25th.

The other nominees included activist Marta Gregoric, painter Marta Jakopic Kunaver, actress Polona Juh, meteorologist Lucka Kajfez Bogataj, writer Svetlana Makarovic, researcher Zmaga Kumer, sportswoman Branka Mijatovic, singer and actress Vita Mavric, columnist Vesna Milek, advocate Irena Vidic, poet Zagoricnik Simonovic, poet Erika Vouk, painter Ejti Stih, and journalist Barbara Zrimsek.

The 16th Slovenian Woman of the Year was held in the Ljubljana Opera House. The event was attended by members of Slovenia's cultural and political worlds. Seen in the audience were Borut Pahor, Head of Parliament; Danica Simcic, the Mayor of Ljubljana; Franci But, the Minister of Agriculturale; Dusan Keber, the Minister of Health; and former first lady Stefka Kucan, who was chosen as 2002's Woman of the Year.

The event's entertainment included an enjoyable mixture of music and comedy. Television personality Mario Galunic hosted the evening. Matjaz Breznik conducted the Student Symphony Orchestra of Celje, violin virtuoso Anja Bukovec amazed the crowd, and singer Darja Svajger capped off the proceedings with a beautiful rendition of "Somewhere".

Benka was dressed for the evening, not in her motorcycle gear, but in an elegant outfit designed entirely in Slovenia. Fellow Ptuj native Stanislava Vauda Bencevic created Benka's dress, incorporating styles and details from many countries Benka had visited. Slovene shoemaker Mario Herzog fashioned a stunning pair of matching shoes.

Slovenian Woman of the Year was started in 1988 and the first recipient of the award was journalist Mojca Drcar Murko.


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