Ideas and experiences shared at Week of Czechs Living Abroad

Week of Czechs Living Abroad

Around 200 Czechs from around the world are currently meeting in Prague at the Tyden zahranicnich Cechu (Week of Czechs Living Abroad), which is taking place at Prague's Charles University. The event, which was first held in 1998, provides a unique forum for Czechs abroad to discuss everything from their position as minorities in European Union states to the Czech language publications they produce. On Wednesday I discussed the meeting with one of its delegates, Dr Mila Saskova-Pierce from the University of Nebraska.

Dr. Mila Saskova-Pierce
"It is organised to allow people who are the movers and shakers in Czech communities around the world to learn about the resources that are prepared for them by the Czech Republic, but also to be able to exchange experiences, ways to solve problems, perhaps even to share resources and especially to share ideas."

What are you yourself doing here?

"I came to present a little description of the Czech newsletter that students of the Czech language in Nebraska are publishing and which actually is a bridge between generations of former students and students who are just now studying at the university.

"But outside of that I also came to learn about other problems, other activities of other groups and of Czechs living abroad."

Week of Czechs Living Abroad 2006, photo: Martina Stejskalova
Today the main theme is media in general. What other subjects are being discussed this week?

"So far we have discussed financial problems, contacts, support from the Czech Republic, resources on the internet. So, so far we've been mainly talking about 'give me, give me, give me'. In the next half of the week we will talk about what we can offer."

What is the value of meetings like this?

"Oh, the value is just incalculable. Firs of all, you never know what you will find out. I came, I had my preconceived notions - what I could expect and what I couldn't expect. And then I talked with people from all places - Bulgaria, Serbia - I realised that they have quite a lot of smart ideas to offer. Without their presence here, without my presence here, I wouldn't have ever thought about it."

Are there any similar events like this that take place around the world?

"Yes, there are other organisations like the SVU, the Spolecnost pro Vedy a Umeni, the Society for Arts and Sciences, which is a world organisation. But to tell the truth that organisation is heavily American, Canadian and west European.

"Here we have a chance to talk with people from Egypt, people from Syria - we even didn't know they existed, that there is a Czech organisation in Egypt."

A full list of events can be found at the website www.krajane.net, which is run by Radio Prague.