published: 19.07.2012, 16:35 | updated: 19.07.2012 16:36:14
Prague - The Central European branch of the prestigious U.S. educational organisation, Aspen Institute, was inaugurated in Prague today also thanks to the former U.S. secretary of state, the Czech-born Madeleine Albright.
She will make a speech as an honorary guest to the conference "Crisis as an Opportunity."
The preparation of the project took about one year and its establishment was supported by Czech financier Zdenek Bakala.
The institutes´ branch will focus not only on the Czech Republic, but also on the other three Visegrad Four (V4) countries, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.
It can be a centre of discussions about developments in Central Europe and about how democracy, business and other fields work together, Albright said before the conference.
"The aim of the institute is to create an independent impartial organisation that would prepare a space and atmosphere for discussion on the most important political, social and other questions of the current society," former ambassador to the United States Michael Zantovsky said.
Zantovsky is president of the institute´s Prague branch board.
Radek Spicar, director of Aspen Prague, said the organisation would like to educate top experts in business, politics, science, culture, NGO sector and sport from promising people from Central Europe.
It wants to send the selected individuals to Aspen, Colorado, where the institute holds Socrates seminars focusing on the development of leadership abilities.
The Prague branch will also hold behind-the-closed-door seminars at which experts from various fields will discuss current social and political themes.
The institute also wants to organise conferences for the broad public, invite interesting personalities to Prague and issue the quarterly Aspen Review.
Albright received a brooch from Zantovsky, made by Zdenek Vacek and Daniel Posta, winners of Czech Grand Design award. It is made of manually cut opal-coloured perspex and gilded steel.
Albright collects brooches with which she often expresses her attitude to the country she is visiting. She wrote the book Secret Language of Brooches that was also issued in the Czech Republic in 2010.
Today, she wore a brooch featuring the Hradcany (Prague Castle) silhouette that she also wore in December at the funeral of former president Vaclav Havel.
Aspen Institute was founded as an international non-profit organisation in 1950. It focuses on the education of leading personalities and development of dialogue on important social and political issues. It has its seat in Washington and branches in many countries of the world.
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