Having served as US secretary of state from 1997 to 2001, Madeleine Albright ranks as one of the most accomplished of all Czech-Americans. I got to speak to the Prague-born politician recently when she was special guest at the Reality Czech evening in New York, organised by the Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association and the Václav Havel Library Foundation to mark the centenary of the founding of Czechoslovakia. Our conversation eventually turned to that landmark anniversary – but it began with Secretary Albright’s recently published book Fascism:
Václav Havel has just received a major honour, with the unveiling of a bronze bust of the late dissident turned president at Columbia University in New York. Speaking at the ceremony, Havel’s friend Madeleine Albright said he would have been alarmed at some aspects of today’s world – but would not have succumbed to despair.
A number of Czech politicians have paid tribute to US Senator John McCain,
a Vietnam veteran and former presidential candidate, who died on Saturday
from brain cancer at the age of 81.
In various statements, political leaders described the outspoken Republican as role model, freedom fighter and defender of democracy. Civic Democrat (ODS) chairman Petr Fiala described him as a brave man and friend of the Czech Republic while Top 09 party chairman Miroslav Kalousek described him as a principled leader admired around the world.
McCain will be missed not only by Americans, said the head of the foreign policy section of the presidential chancellery, Rudolf Jindrák.
The US decision to pull out of the United Nations Human Rights Council
means that the Czech Republic is losing an important partner in protection
of human rights and freedoms, Irena Valentová of the Czech Foreign
Ministry’s press department told the Czech News Agency on Wednesday.
According to the ministry, the Czech Republic shares some of Washington’s concerns over the functioning of the council, but it wants to remain a member to take part in its reform.
The US on Wednesday withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council, calling it hypocritical and self-serving and accusing it of political bias against Israel.
Tom Dine is the president of the American Friends of the Czech Republic. The Washington-based foreign policy expert doesn’t have Czech roots. But he does have close ties to Prague, having been president of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – which is based in the city – between 1997 and 2005. After a tree-planting ceremony by the Woodrow Wilson statue opposite the Main Train Station, which the American Friends helped restore, Dine shared some recollections of his years in the Czech capital.
Steve Bannon, a former chief strategist to President Donald Trump, says
Europe should not be a protectorate of the United States but should
contribute more financially to its own defence. He made the comment in
Prague, where he was taking part in a public debate with Lanny Davis, a
Democrat and ex-White House special counsel.
Mr. Bannon said the US had fought on Europe’s behalf in the two world wars and the Cold War. He said Europeans should be ashamed with regard to the present situation and ought to become a partner to the US in military matters.
Steve Bannon, Republican and Former White House chief strategist to
President Trump, and Lanny Davis, Democrat and Former White House special
counsel and Hillary Clinton supporter will take part in a debate in
Prague´s Žofín Palace on Tuesday.
The debate, titled "What the heck is going on in America?" will cover globalism, international trade, economic nationalism and immigration.
It will be moderated by former Czech minister of defense and ambassador to USA Alexandr Vondra. Both influential Americans were invited to Prague by the industrial holding CZECHOSLOVAK GROUP in cooperation with CEVRO University.
Artist Sonya Darrow spends her time in the Czech Republic and in Iowa, two places where she feels at home. Her interesting exhibition “Stezky/Pathways” recently opened at the American Center in Prague. I spoke to her about how she explores the questions of identity and cultural connections though her work and started off by asking her how she become involved in the Czech community.
The Speaker of the US House of Representatives Paul Ryan is in the Czech Republic on a two-day visit, the highest-placed US official to visit the country in nine years. Although the visit has been labelled as private, the US House Speaker has a packed agenda of meetings with Czech politicians and he will be the first foreign official ever to address a session of the Czech lower house. I spoke with Jan Hornát, an expert on Czech-American relations at the Prague-based Institute of International Relations and asked him to comment on the significance
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