Dragan Primorac

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Dragan Primorac
Primorac, portret.jpg
Dragan Primorac, photo by: Jadran Lazic
Minister of Science, Education and Sports
In office
December 23, 2003 – January 2, 2009
Preceded by Vladimir Strugar, Minister of Education and Sports
Gvozden Flego, Minister of Science and Technology
Succeeded by Radovan Fuchs
Personal details
Born (1965-06-07)June 7, 1965
Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Political party independent
Spouse(s) Jadranka Primorac

Dragan Primorac[pronunciation?] (born June 7, 1965) is a university professor, pediatrician, geneticist and forensic science expert who became a politician as a member of Croatian Government, serving as the Minister of Science, Education and Sports between 2003 and 2009. He completed his first term (2003–2007) without any party affiliation. According to the International Republican Institute survey of October 1, 2007, he was rated as the most successful minister in the Croatian Government with 31% approval rate.[1] Primorac was at first not a member of a political party, before he joined the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) in Septemberg 2007.[2] At the Croatian parliamentary election, 2007, he ran as a candidate of HDZ in the 11th electoral unit (the so-called Croatian diaspora list), and their list won almost 82% of the votes. After elections he did not join the Parliament and was named a minister again in January 2008. Because of proposed reduction of the budget for the Ministry of education, science and sports, and especially due to the canceling the project of free textbooks and free transport for pupils of primary and secondary schools in Croatia he announced his resignation.[3] He resigned on July 7, 2009. Soon after, he made an unprecedented move, and he gave up his seat in the Croatian parliament to the Party.[4] The Party then gave the seat to Goran Maric, who replaced Primorac while he was minister. On November 9, 2009, Primorac formally announced his candidacy in the Croatian presidential election, 2009. He was subsequently summarily removed from HDZ membership. In the first round of the election he won 5.93% of the vote and did not qualify for the second round.

Early life and career[edit]

Primorac was born in Banja Luka (Bosnia and Herzegovina) but his family soon moved to Split where he graduated from elementary and high school[5] While he was living in Split he was trained in soccer clubs “Split”, “Hajduk” and “Solin”, as well as track and field in the athletic club “Split 80” (today Hajduk)[6] On November 17. 1987 he founded the Tae kwon do club “Kocunar” and since then he is president of the club.[7] Shortly thereafter, Robert Prusac, vicepresident and Mile Mamic, second vicepresident joined the club. Since 1987 more than 6000 participants have been trained in the Club, and many of them won a number of medals in national and international competitions.[8]

Education[edit]

Dragan Primorac graduated from the University of Zagreb, Split Medical School in 1991. The same year he emigrated to the United States where he worked several years as a postdoctoral fellow and later also as an instructor at the University of Connecticut Medical School.[9] He defended his doctoral dissertation, entitled „Osteogenesis Imperfecta as a Result of Faulty Processing of Messenger RNA“, in 1997 at the University of Zagreb, Medical School (results were obtained at the University of Connecticut Medical School in Farmington, CT, USA). He was also trained at the Connecticut State Police Forensic Science Laboratory, Meriden, the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP), Rockville, the Analytical Genetic Testing Center, Inc., Denver, the University hospital St. Christopher's, Allegheny University, Philadelphia, and the Roche Molecular Systems, Alameda, all in the United States.

Career in science and education[edit]

Primorac is professor of pediatric medicine at University of Split and University of Osijek, Croatia; professor of forensic sciences at University of Split, Croatia; adjunct assistant professor of forensic sciences at The Pennsylvania State University, USA and adjunct associate professor of forensic sciences at the University of New Haven, USA. Currently, Primorac is a fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Science, a member of the American Society of Human Genetics, Croatian Society of Human Genetics, and the Croatian Society for Osteogenesis Imperfecta.

Primorac received the Young Investigator Award of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research in 1992, the Michael Geisman Fellowship Award of the Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation in 1993, the Life Time Achievement Award by the Henry C. Lee’s Institute of Forensic Science in 2002, The Award of the Italian Region Veneto for Special Achievements in Promoting Science in the EU in 2007, and the University of New Haven’s International Award for Excellence in 2010[10] During 1992/1993 Primorac and Simun Andelinovic founded the Laboratory for Clinical and Forensic Genetics at the Clinical Hospital in Split.[11] That laboratory was the first in the region where identification of war victims discovered in mass graves by DNA technology took place. For their efforts they won a joint Award of the City of Split in 1995.

He is the author of numerous articles and scientific abstracts and has been cited about 1200 times (,[12][13]) Furthermore, as a guest lecturer he participated in more than 30 professional conferences. He has taught and continues to teach undergraduate classes at the University medical schools in Zagreb and Split as well as teaching both research and professional graduate seminars at the Medical schools in Zagreb, Split, Osijek and Verona, Italy.[14]

Primorac is a longtime member of the Government Office for Detained and Missing Persons and served as a member of the Council for Technology at the previous Ministry of Science and Technology of the Republic of Croatia before 2003 when he became a government minister. For two years (2000–2002) he was the main coordinator of an international project supported by Promega, that brought together six European countries with the aim of applying and analyzing new DNA methods for the purpose of identification. Primorac is the founder of the American-European School for Clinical and Forensic Genetics which is being held bi-annually in Croatia. Moreover, for the years 2003, 2005, 2011, the U.S. Mayo Clinic, is actively participating in the work of this Congress as a co-organizer (until now about 2000 scientists from nearly 60 countries have participated in the work of the Congress.[15] Since 2007 ISABS (International Society of Applied Biological Sciences) become the organizer of the Congress, whose official journal is Croatian Medical Journal.[16]

He is the author of the original results on the genetic origins of the Europeans with the special focus on the South Eastern European population. He has also published extensively in the fields of forensic science, population genetics, and molecular genetics of bone diseases in children, etc. Several renowned media outlets, both electronic and print, have reported on the results of his research work, such as the New York Times,[17] USA Today, Chicago Tribune,[18] Hartford Courant, JAMA, Lancet, Science, NBC, Channel 8 (Connecticut TV Station), etc. Primorac worked at the Clinic for Pediatrics and served for several years (1996–2001) as the head of the Laboratory for Clinical and Forensic Genetics, both at Split Clinical Hospital. He was also director of the Polyclinic " Holy Spirit II " in Zagreb, which is now majority-owned by an Israeli private company.

Politics[edit]

Primorac entered the first government of Ivo Sanader in December 2003. Primorac's commitment to build a society based on knowledge and to acknowledge the key role of education and science has been reflected in a growing investment into the education and science system, with the budget increase between 2004 and 2009 totaling 56% (€ EUR 600,000,000). At the same time an additional (approx. € 600,000,000) have been approved and used for building University Campuses in Croatia. Within the education and science system, over 9,900 new jobs have been created since 2004 in order to ensure optimum implementation of reforms (,[19][20][21]). All together it represents the biggest investment in the education and science sector as well as the largest creation of jobs in this sector in the recent history of Croatia

In 2005, the Ministry of Education under Primorac started a project called the Croatian national education standard for elementary schools ("HNOS") which was supposed to be applied in all schools in 2006, but was applied during 2007,.[22][23] He also completed one of the most important projects during his term: Implementation of two foreign languages in Croatian primary schools.

Primorac proposed the National Programme of Measures for the Implementation of Compulsory Secondary Education to Croatian Parliament, based on Article 80 Constitution of the Republic of Croatia. During its session on June 21, 2007, Parliament adopted the program as the optimal model to solve the problems of poor education structure of Croatian population, and the frequency of early school dropouts.[24]

Within the National Programme of Measures for the Implementation of Compulsory Secondary Education, a series of incentives, such as free textbooks, free transport and housing in student dormitories have been offered to make secondary education accessible to everyone. In 2006, Minister Primorac introduced the concept of free textbooks and announced that all pupils of elementary schools and pupils of the first class of secondary schools will have their schoolbooks funded by the Government,[25][26] On May 12, 2009, Primorac announced that the Ministry reached a deal with the publishers of schoolbooks in Croatia so that the Government would pay for the schoolbooks of all classes (including second, third and fourth grades of secondary schools), for the sum of 440 million kunas, the same prices as the year before[27]

During 2008 he introduced for the first time in Croatia, independent external evaluation of education “National exams”, while in 2009, he launched the State Matura (national standard tests equal to SAT) for all students who are planning to continue their education in Universities.[28]

Under his leadership, the Ministry also applied the Bologna process in the academic year 2005/2006.

Within the area of science project for the return of Croatian scientists from abroad was started and since 2004 over 120 scientists have returned to Croatia. The programme Unity through Knowledge yielded approximately 40 competitive research projects with returnee and Diaspora (Croatian professionals working abroad) participation.

On June 16, 2009, weekly magazine Nacional announced that “Primorac will soon become the first minister in the history of Croatia to resign at the peak of his political career”[29] On July 1, 2009 he resigned together with Ivo Sanader, although the media had reported him planning to resign several weeks prior to the abrupt departure of Sanader. Primorac also gave back his Parliament seat to the party, and was replaced by Goran Marić. In the newly formed government of Jadranka Kosor, he was replaced by his former state-secretary Radovan Fuchs, who reversed the Primorac’s free schoolbook policy in his first week in office[30]

The award for numerous efforts made in the Croatian educational system is the recent survey of the famous Newsweek which rated Croatia 22nd in education ahead of 12 countries from the G20 group.[31]

The „Touareg Affair“[edit]

After his withdrawal from politics, Primorac subsequently became embroiled in a controversy about allegations of corruption relating to his term of office as Minister for Science, Education and Sports under the former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader.

The so-called “Touareg Affair” involves allegations that Primorac abused his authority as Minister to induce a subordinate civil servant, Dragutin Funda, the former Director of the National Standards Institute, to provide a luxury Volkswagen Touareg SUV for Primorac’s use. The National Standards Institute came under Primorac’s remit as Minister of Science and the Touareg was allegedly leased at the expense of the Institute between 16 July 2008 and 13 July 2009. In 2011, the affair was reported on by the Croatian media and it became the subject of court proceedings against a number of individuals including Primorac. According to the indictment, the state budget of the Republic of Croatia suffered losses totalling 456,454 HRK, in particular due to the premature termination of the leasing contract. [32]

In September 2011, Primorac issued a statement strongly criticising the Croatian newspaper “Jutarnji list” for alleged inaccuracies and a breach of journalistic ethics in its reporting of the affair. [33]

In April 2013, the Croatian Supreme Court rejected an attempt by Primorac to force the State Prosecutor to drop the criminal charges against him and it ruled that the proceedings should continue. [34]

Primorac has emphatically rejected all of the charges raised against him in connection with the “Touareg Affair”. He has also claimed that the State Prosecutor improperly obtained testimony from witnesses under duress. [35] [36]

On 16 May 2014 a hearing was held before the County Court of Zagreb (Županijski sud u Zagrebu). According to Croatian press reports, Primorac pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against him whereas his co-accused Dragutin Funda pleaded guilty. [37] [38]

Humanitarian work[edit]

Primorac has participated in numerous humanitarian activities all around the world. Currently he is president of Charity Foundation Cro Unum[39] and he is member of Advisory Board of American International Relief Organization, Bridge Foundation[40]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Istraživanje Pulsa o Vladi RH: Primorac najuspješniji, Ivi Sanaderu pada rejting" (in Croatian). Jutarnji list. Retrieved 2007-05-14. 
  2. ^ "Ministar Primorac ušao u HDZ, kooptiran u Predsjedništvo" (in Croatian). business.hr. Retrieved 2007-09-25. 
  3. ^ "Primorac: Dao sam ostavku zbog ukidanja besplatnih udžbenika" (in Croatian). Glas Slavonije. Retrieved 2009-09-08. 
  4. ^ "Fuchs: Nikome besplatni udžbenici, a studij svim uspješnima" (in Croatian). Slobodna Dalmacija. Retrieved 2009-07-08. 
  5. ^ "Dragan Primorac: 'Tuđmana sam čuvao kad mu je prijetio državni udar'" (in Croatian). Jutarnji list. Retrieved 2007-06-16. 
  6. ^ "Dragan Primorac: 'Tuđmana sam čuvao kad mu je prijetio državni udar'" (in Croatian). Jutarnji list. Retrieved 2007-06-16. 
  7. ^ Tae kwon do club "Koncunar" video
  8. ^ Tae kwon do club "Koncunar" web page
  9. ^ University of Connecticut Health Center
  10. ^ "Dr. Dragan Primorac Awarded For International Excellence at the University of New Haven". ezadar.hr. Retrieved 2010-09-14. 
  11. ^ "Medical Team Seeks to Identify Human Remains From Mass Graves of War in Former Yugoslavia". The Journal of the American Medical Association. 
  12. ^ U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health
  13. ^ SCOPUS
  14. ^ Croatian scientific Bibliography
  15. ^ International Society for Applied Biological Sciences
  16. ^ Croatian Medical Journal
  17. ^ Browne, Malcolm W. (1994-03-15). "DNA Experts Expect to Identify Massacre Victims". The New York Times. Retrieved 1994-03-15. 
  18. ^ Myers, Linnet (1994-03-20). "Dna Test May Solve War Mysteries in Croatia". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 1994-03-20. 
  19. ^ "Innovating Education in Croatia". Science. Retrieved 2009-06-26. 
  20. ^ "Croatia: Aiming High". Science. Retrieved 2008-07-19. 
  21. ^ "U pet godina zaposlio sam 9686 novih ljudi" (in Croatian). Obzor. Retrieved 2010-01-23. 
  22. ^ hr:Hrvatski nacionalni obrazovni standard
  23. ^ Hrvatski nacionalni obrazovni standard 2
  24. ^ "Srednja škola obvezna za sve" (in Croatian). Glas Slavonije. Retrieved 2009-02-13. 
  25. ^ "Ministar Primorac najavio besplatne udžbenike za sve" (in Croatian). Index. Retrieved 2007-08-29. 
  26. ^ "Svima besplatne i nove knjige" (in Croatian). Poslovni dnevnik. Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  27. ^ "Ministar Primorac najavio besplatne udžbenike za sve" (in Croatian). Index. Retrieved 2007-08-29. 
  28. ^ Nacionalni centar za vanjsko vrednovanje obrazovanja
  29. ^ Sina Karli; Renato Baretić (June 16, 2009). "Minister Primorac to resign and is leaving both the government and politics". Nacional (weekly). Archived from the original on July 25, 2012. Retrieved July 25, 2012. 
  30. ^ "Fuchs: Nikome besplatni udžbenici, a studij svim uspješnima" (in Croatian). Slobodna Dalmacija. Retrieved 2009-07-08. 
  31. ^ Newsweek, The World's Best Countries infographic
  32. ^ “Protiv Dragana Primorca ipak se nastavlja kazneni postupak” , Novi list, 5 April 2014.
  33. ^ Statement issued by Dragan Primorac dated 27 September 2011: “Editor of Jutarnji list Mladen Pleše has brought down all principles of journalistic ethics and objectivity; he has discredited his own newspaper and joined in on the current political confrontations.”
  34. ^ “Protiv Dragana Primorca ipak se nastavlja kazneni postupak”, Novi list, 5 April 2014.
  35. ^ “Dragan Primorac se prebacivao u Audi da ga Vlada ne vidi u Touaregu, iskazi svjedoka iz optužnice”, Jutarnji list, 24 June 2013.
  36. ^ “Primorac: Optužnica je suluda, svjedoci su dali lažne iskaze”, 24sata.hr, 15 November 2013.
  37. ^ “Slučaj "Touareg": Dragan Primorac se ne osjeća krivim”, index.hr, 16 May 2014.
  38. ^ “Afera Tuareg: Bivši ministar Primorac ne osjeća se krivim za optužbe” , Večernji list, 17 May 2014.
  39. ^ Cro Unum
  40. ^ Bridge Foundation

External links[edit]


Government offices
Preceded by
Vladimir Strugar
as Minister of Education and Sports
Minister of Science, Education and Sports
December 23, 2003 – July 6, 2009
Succeeded by
Radovan Fuchs
Preceded by
Gvozden Flego
as Minister of Science and Technology