The ASEF Gala is a great occasion to celebrate the organization’s progress and to recognize Slovenians of exceptional and inspiring accomplishments.
We invite you to join us in celebrating the ASEF Lifetime Achievement Award Winner and present ASEF programs which build bridges between Slovenian students, educators and researchers around the world.
Captain Sunita Williams.
Captain Williams is a Slovene American astronaut, born to a Slovene American mother, Ursuline Bonnie Zalokar Pandya. Captain Williams formerly held the records for total spacewalks by a woman (7) and most spacewalk time for a woman (50 hours, 40 minutes).
NASA Astronaut of Slovenian Descent
Sunita Williams is American astronaut who set records on her two flights to the International Space Station (ISS). In 1983 Williams entered the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland. She was made an ensign in 1987 and reported for aviator training at the Naval Aviation Training Command. In July 1989 she began combat helicopter training. She flew in helicopter support squadrons during the preparations for the Persian Gulf War and the establishment of no-fly zones over Kurdish areas of Iraq, as well as in relief missions during Hurricane Andrew in 1992 in Miami. In 1993 she became a naval test pilot, and she later became a test pilot instructor, flying more than 30 different aircraft and logging more than 2,770 flight hours.
On December 9, 2006, Williams flew aboard the space shuttle Discovery on the STS-116 mission to the ISS, where she was a flight engineer for Expeditions 14 and 15. During her stay at the space station, she made four space walks, totaling more than 29 hours outside the spacecraft, and spent a total of more than 195 days in space, both of which were records for women in space. She also participated in the Boston Marathon by running 26.2 miles on the station’s treadmill.
Williams flew to the ISS again on July 15, 2012, as part of the crew of Soyuz TMA-05M. She was a flight engineer on Expedition 32, and on September 16 she became commander of Expedition 33. She made three more space walks, totaling more than 21 hours, retaining her space walk record with a total time outside the ISS between her two flights of more than 50 hours. She also completed a triathlon in orbit by using a treadmill, a stationary bicycle, and a weightlifting machine to simulate the swimming portion of the race. Williams returned to Earth on November 11 after nearly 127 days in space. Her two spaceflights combined lasted more than 321 days, ranking her second, after American astronaut Peggy Whitson, for the most time spent in space by a woman.
In 2015 Williams was selected as one of four astronauts to make the first test flights in NASA’s Commercial Crew program, in which two new private crewed spacecraft, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon and Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner, would take astronauts and supplies to the ISS. She was chosen in 2018 for the first crewed Starliner flight to the ISS, which was scheduled for 2020.
Art Performance by:
Eva Petrič, born in Slovenia, lives and works in between New York City, Vienna, and Ljubljana. She is a trans medial artist, known for her creative use of photography, interweaving with other media, exploring with it the language of shadows, decoding our existence also on ephemeral levels. Her motivation to expose the multidimensional architecture of space, defined by atmosphere, lead her to apply a trans medial approach in her art. This resulted in over 30 large scale site-specific found lace recycled assemblages exhibited at various, mostly public spaces around the world, interweaving video, sound, performance, and movement. Her trans medial project Eden, Transplanted, received Best Art Performance Award at the United Solo Festival in New York City in 2017 and was awarded in 2019 at the tenth anniversary of this festival, with the Best of Ten Years recognition. Her current projects EVAcuate@EVOLUTION – Siren Odyssey (to be premiered at Kin Siska Center for Urban Culture in Ljubljana, Slovenia), and RE@EVOLUTION are the continuation of Eden, Transplanted.