Asian evenings gain popularity in Prague

This year, the Solidarita Theatre in the Prague 10 district will play host to "Asian Evenings" - a series of lectures, films and performances devoted to the countries of Eastern Asia. The first evening will focus on Mongolia, and will be organized by the Mongolian Friends' Association. Alena Skodova spoke with the association's deputy chairman, Mojmir Krauter:

"We are organizing 'Asian Evenings' to acquaint people with countries that are not often mentioned by the Czech mass media. The first evening, devoted to Mongolia, will take place on Tuesday, January 30th. This will include a lecture by a native Mongolian about the past, present and the future of his country. This will be followed by a concert by Mongolian artists, and a question and answer session with visitors. We hope that young people and children will come, because we'll have a small competition and the winners will receive presents with a Mongolian theme. The other evenings, which will be held in March, May, September and November, will be devoted to China, Vietnam, North and South Korea, and Japan."

The Mongolian Friends' Association works closely with the Asian Friends' Club, whose main objective is to promote mutual knowledge, understanding and tolerance between Czechs and the peoples of Eastern Asia, and enhance political, economic and cultural relations. The Club now has a new office in Prague 10, where people can see a genuine Mongolian yurt, or hut. It's fully furnished in Mongolian style, and you can taste typical Mongolian meals here as well. The Club also organizes courses of shao-lin and tchai-chi exercises, led by a native Chinese instructor, plus trips to Mongolia and China. Mr. Krauter told me that around 10 percent of the Club's members were Mongolians, so I asked him how many Mongolians there are in the Czech Republic and what they are doing here?

"At present there are some 2,000 Mongolians living in Prague, and they are mostly students at Czech universities. Altogether, there are some 20,000 Mongols in the Czech Republic, mostly women, who work in the leather-processing industry. Czech companies like to employ Mongolian women, as they are hard workers."