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.
Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček, who is on a working visit to
the United States, on Friday met for talks with his US
counterpart,Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The two officials discussed cyber-security, the situation in Syria and Afghanistan and the US administration’s stated intention to impose tariffs on European car-makers.
Minister Petříček tweeted shortly after the meeting that the two sides had praised the state of bilateral relations and cooperation in third countries. He said he had taken a strong stand against tariffs and a possible trade war between Europe and the US, expressing the hope that this scenario could be averted in the coming weeks and months.
The Czech foreign minister said the US had welcomed the fact that the Czech Republic took cyber-security and the warnings regarding the Chinese company Huawei seriously.
He said he had extended an invitation for US Secretary of State Pompeo to visit the Czech Republic.
Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček, who is on an official visit to
the US, is due to meet for talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on
The two sides are expected to discuss trade relations, in particular the tariffs that the US administration is planning to impose on European car makers, cyber-security, and the situation in Syria and Afghanistan, among others.
It is the first visit by a Czech foreign minister to the US since 2012.
Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Tomáš Petříček is due to visit Washington this month to discuss a bilateral and global issues with the U.S. secretaries of state and defence, and President Trump’s national security advisor. Cybersecurity issues – not least concerning Chinese telecoms giant Huawei – are high on the Czech agenda. So too is securing an invitation to the White House.
The Václav Havel Library in Prague follows the US presidential library model in gathering and archiving materials relating to the late Czech dissident turned head of state. In the US, Havel’s legacy is promoted by sister organisation the Václav Havel Library Foundation, which is based at the Bohemian National Hall in New York. The latter is headed by Pavla Niklová, a former director of the city’s Czech Center. When we met, Niklová explained the relationship between the foundation and the library itself.
When I visited New York in September I heard nothing but praise for the work of the city’s Czech Center in recent years. Much of the credit for this belongs to Barbara Karpetová, its tireless director, whose tenure is now coming to a close. The Czech Center is located in the magnificent Bohemian National Hall on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. When we spoke at its well-stocked, stylish library, I asked Karpetová who the institution’s visitors tended to be.
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