Summer School of European Studies
22.02.2013 / 09:16
In 1994, Professor Ferdinand Kinsky, vice-president of International Centre of European Education (CIFE) in France, decided to organise a series of lectures about European integration and cooperation. He wanted these to take place in his hometown of Horažďovice. This decision was the start of a successful tradition of summer education sponsored by the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs. For the first six years, between 1994 and 1999 the Summer School was only attended by university students from CIFE.
Since 2000 the Diplomatic Academy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs began assisting with the organisation of the Summer School. From 2006, the Diplomatic Academy has taken over the administration for the event. The change in organisers was reflected in a change of the participants. CIFE students have now been replaced by Czech and foreign junior diplomats and Czech administration officials since 2001. The official chronological numbering of the Summer Schools was only introduced in 2001. Therefore, even though the 10th anniversary of the Summer School of European Studies was celebrated in 2010, the event actually took place for the 17th time.
During the existence of the Summer School, the South-Bohemian town of Horažďovice has become renowned for supporting European education, in addition to being a meeting spot for tourists and water-rafting enthusiasts. The Summer School has also opened up this charming town and pristine region of the Czech Republic to foreign visitors. Working together, the Diplomatic Academy and the mayor's office in Horažďovice have excellent cooperation. The Summer School has always been a popular, well organised event and a great opportunity to market and promote the town.
Every year, the Summer School focuses on a different, yet contemporary European topic. In 2010, the focus was on security and explored the question: "How Safe Are We in Europe?" In 2012, the question of: "The Future of Europe: Problems & Options" reflected the current challenges in Europe today.
Traditionally, about 40 people participate in the Summer School, of which half come from partner Diplomatic Academies and Ministries of Foreign Affairs in Europe / around the world. The other half is comprised of Czech junior diplomats and representatives of other areas of Czech state administration.
Apart from the official academic programme, the Summer School has been enriched by cultural and social events. The tour of Horažďovice castle by professor Ferdinand Kinsky and the tour of Rabí castle were are very popular, while folk music in a local church or a friendly football match against the local sports club adds a dimension of fun to the event.
Since its inception, the Summer School of European Studies has proven to be a prestigious educational and academic event. The high quality of the lecturers from the Czech Republic and abroad, who have repeatedly accepted the invitation to give lectures in Horažďovice, serves as a proof of this. Some of the regular lectures include: Professor Jacques Rupnik from Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales (CERI) in Paris, Professor Hans W. Maull from Trier University, renowned former Czech diplomat Karel Kovanda, special Ambassador for Energy Václav Bartuška, Economist Tomáš Sedláček, former Deputy Minister of Defence Jiří Šedivý or the long-term Chair of the Academic Council of the Czech Diplomatic Academy, Professor Otto Pick.