NIKO HAZDOVAC was born in 1946 in Blato on the island of Mljet. He completed primary and secondary school in Dubrovnik. After graduating from the Naval School, he sailed on merchant ships for 6 years.
In 1971 he immigrated to the USA in Watsonville, California. In 1974, he founded the travel agency “Adriatic Travel” in Los Angeles, which after a year was moved to San Pedro, where the largest number of Croatian expatriates live, and which will celebrate 50 years of successful business next year.
In 1991, together with his wife Luca and several friends, he founded the humanitarian foundation “Libertas Foundation”, with the aim of helping the homeland of Croatia during the Homeland War. The aid consisted of shipments of food, medicine and other necessities. The main source of income was achieved through the organization of the celebration of St. Vlaho and voluntary contributions.
In 1992, the “Libertas Foundation” founded and equipped a kitchen at St. Peter’s Church in Dubrovnik and sent several containers of food. As part of the foundation, for the past 20 years or so, students in deficit occupations have been awarded scholarships in vocational schools in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County. All members of the foundation’s management are volunteers.
Niko is active in the Croatian community in California and the USA, as a member of the Croatian-American Club and the Dalmatian American Club in San Pedro. He is the vice-president of the Croatian National Association and Foundation in Los Angeles and is a member of the CFU, NFCA and ACAP organizations.
Through business and social activities, Niko is in constant contact with Croatian expatriates. His agency is known as “Everything Croatia”, where you can get all the information related to travel to Croatia. The agency also provides notary services, translations and helps in the process of acquiring Croatian citizenship.
For their many years of professional and humanitarian work, Niko and Luce received several certificates of appreciation and recognition.
In 2010, Niko was awarded the Order of the Croatian Knitter by the President of the Republic of Croatia.
Niko is especially proud of his family, who support him in everything, and especially his wife Luce, who is the main administrator and Spiritus movens of all actions.
Daughters Mariana and Nicole and son Peter are also very active in the Croatian community through various cultural activities such as organizing concerts, learning the Croatian language, folklore and sports competitions.
Peter is the winner of the NFCA award “40 under 40” as a successful entrepreneur and an active member of the Croatian community.
Niko and his family regularly visit their homeland and spend most of their time in Dubrovnik, that is, in Konavle and Mljet, where they come from.
Niko and Luce pass on to their children and grandchildren their love for the new and old homeland and the importance of learning the Croatian language, culture, religion and customs, in order to preserve the identity and heritage of their ancestors.