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Czech National Day reception and performances of the Ondráš Military Art Ensemble in Baku

On 28 October 2019, the Czech Embassy in Baku commemorated the 101st anniversary of Czechoslovak independence by a traditional National Day reception. Following the opening speeches by the Ambassador of the Czech Republic, H.E. Milan Ekert and the First Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan, H.E. Yaqub Eyyubov, some 350 guests of the reception listened to a music performance by the Ondráš Military Art Ensemble from Brno. On 29 October, „Ondráš“ followed up by a folk music and dance performance for guests and students of the National Conservatory of Azerbaijan.

Receptions on the anniversary of the 1918 establishment of independent Czechoslovakia are the traditional highlight of the annual program of the Czech Embassy in Azerbaijan. As in the previous year, the Embassy decided to celebrate the 2019 National Day at the Boulevard Hotel in Baku, inviting representatives of Azerbaijani state institutions, academia, business and culture as well as the diplomatic community. The reception took place with generous support of the Ministry of Defense of the Czech Republic and companies including Moravia Steel, SUEZ, Česká zbrojovka, Dekonta, J4, Robertson&Blums and Škoda.

In his opening speech, Ambassador Ekert recalled the role of the ideas upon which the Czechoslovak state was bulit in 1918 in perpetuating the character of the Czech Republic as its heir, highlighting the milestones along the way the country has made over the last 30 years, particularly the 1989 Velvet Revolution and the accession of the Czech Republic to NATO in 1999 and the EU in 2004. Turning to the development of Czech-Azerbaijani strategic partnership in 2019 and beyond, the Ambassador focused on the successful visit of the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Parliament Radek Vondráček to Baku in 2019 as well as the upcoming meeting of the bilateral Intergovernmental Commission and expressed his confidence that these meeting will help in the further development of economic cooperation. Looking back upon the last 12 months, the Ambassador highlighted two successful projects implemented in Azerbaijan by Czech companies with the support of the Czech state – the completion of the work on the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway Corridor in June 2019 and the reopening of the Qaravəlli village school in the Şamaxı rayon, restored in the framework of a pilot “Energy Efficient School” project, by Deputy Ministers of Education of Azerbaijan and the Czech Republic in November 2018. The Ambassador also touched upon the inscription of the Ore Mountain (Krušnohoří/Erzgebirge) Mining Region and the Ceremonial Carriage Horses Breeding and Training Landscape at Kladruby to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list by the World Heritage Committee at its July 2019 session in Baku, inviting guests to an exhibition of photos of Czech World Heritage sites by the Azerbaijani photographer Aydın Sadıxov in the foyer of the reception hall.

Congratulating the Czech Republic on its National Day, First Deputy Prime Minister Eyyubov hailed the development of mutually beneficial relations between the Czech Republic and Azerbaijan as strategic partners, highlighting the involvement of Czech companies in various fields of Azerbaijan's economy and of his country in Europe's energy supply, covering some 30 % of Czech demand for oil products. The First Deputy Prime Minister also referred to Azerbaijan's participation in the Eastern Partnership and in the Partnership for Peace.

Guests of the reception had the opportunity to taste fine examples of Czech culinary art prepared under the supervision of master chefs Jan Havel and Jiří Svoboda.

The musical part of the National Day reception was in the hands of the renowned Brno-based Ondráš Military Art Ensemble. On 29 October, „Ondráš“ continued its program in Baku by a music and dance performance at the premises of the National Conservatory of Azerbaijan, allowing its faculty and students as well as guests and the media to get acquainted with the richness of Moravian folklore traditions.

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Czech 2019 National Day Reception and Performances by Ondráš