Over 4,000 Czechs stranded around the world by the coronavirus crisis have been repatriated this month, many on special government planes. The latest such flight will leave from Chicago on Tuesday evening, taking 170 Czech citizens in difficult situations to Prague. I discussed the special flight and related issues with Zdeněk Beránek, deputy chief of mission at the Czech Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Thirty years ago on this day, February 21, then Czechoslovak president Václav Havel addressed a specially convened joint session of the United States Congress. Only a few months earlier, Havel was in prison. Paradoxically, he devoted much of his historic speech that day appealing to Washington to help – not Czechoslovakia but the Soviet Union. Doing so, he said, was the best hope to ensure newfound freedoms.
A series of events are set to take place in New York and Washington this week to mark the upcoming 75th anniversary of the liberation of Pilsen by US troops. The main goal of the events, which culminate on Wednesday at the National Bohemian Hall, is to invite Americans to take part in the annual freedom celebrations, which are going to be even bigger this year.
Czech journalist Jana Ciglerová recently published the book Americký Deník (American Diary), compiling a series of columns she wrote during a stay in Florida between late 2016 and last summer. When she came to our studios, the conversation took in US and Czech attitudes to parenting, education and friendship, as well as Ciglerová’s experience of reporting from Trump’s America. But I first asked her what had been the hardest single thing to get used to in the US.
Václav Havel’s relationship to the United States is the focus of the recently issued book Havel v Americe (Havel in America) by historian Rosamund Johnston and journalist Lenka Kabrhelová. Mainly based on Q&A-style interviews, it contains insights and anecdotes from Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright, both presidents Bush and a host of others and is the first publication to concentrate on the subject. When I met the authors, I first asked Johnston about the genesis of Havel v Americe.
The 17th Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International (CGSI) Conference
will take place from October 15-19 in Lincoln, Nebraska.
The focus of the biennial conference is to learn techniques for genealogical research in both the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and to explore the region’s history and culture.
Mila Šašková-Pierce, professor emerita at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, will present the keynote address "Czech Immigration and Language Influence in Lincoln."
Chicago has been a major centre of Czech immigration to the United States since the 1850s. Today, the district of Pilsen which those settlers founded in the 19th century is decidedly Bohemian – in the sense of being offbeat and arty – but predominately Mexican. In celebration of the two cultures, students from the original Plzeň have installed street murals in its namesake sister city, depicting Czech history and culture – with a Latino flair.
For the first time ever, ten Czech students were admitted to the Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) program this year, giving them the chance to spend an academic year in the United States living with a volunteer host family and attending a U.S. high school. As they embarked on their adventure on Monday, the US ambassador to Prague, Stephen King, came to Prague airport to wish them a great year.
Hundreds of Czech scouts are currently in the United States taking part in the movement’s World Jamboree, which is being attended by 40,000 people from all around the globe. I spoke to Czech Radio’s reporter Jakub Lucký, who is on the ground in West Virginia, and asked him to tell me more about the Czech presence at this year’s international gathering:
The Czech Centres in London and New York are getting new directors this spring, with Přemysl Pela assuming control in the UK capital and Miroslav Konvalina taking the helm in the Big Apple. We spoke to both before their departure for the key branches of the Czech Republic’s cultural diplomacy network in the English-speaking world.
Economist Tomáš Sedláček: A positive look at the coronavirus crisis
Country’s leading epidemiologist makes U-turn on strategy of herd immunity
Fall in coronavirus reproduction number shows efficacy of strict measures
How is coronavirus affecting Prague’s real estate market?
Prague’s public transport vehicles get anti-viral coating