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Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek Launched Annual Series at the University of Chicago

Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek hosted the inaugural evening of the “Czech Series”, an annual event celebrating the University of Chicago’s historical contribution to Czech Statehood and nation-building efforts in the last century.

The Czech Series is designed to honor Czechoslovakia’s important ties to University of Chicago. The country’s first two presidents, Tomas Garrigue Masaryk and Edvard Benes, were professors at the University of Chicago. Their tenures were of great importance for creating and sustaining the modern Czech statehood. Masaryk wrote the outlines for his country’s first constitution, which he primarily based on the Constitution of the United States. The University supported the Czech nation in other ways – During WWII, University of Chicago sponsored scholars and students from Czechoslovakia at a time when their own universities and colleges were shut down. And again opened its doors to Czech scholars forced to escape Czechoslovakia after the 1948 Communist takeover.

“The world-renowned University of Chicago has been an incredible friend of our nation. Its support on multiple occasions during the 20th century deserves our great thanks,” said Dr. Lubomír Zaorálek, the Czech Foreign Minister.

“Additionally, this event was a great opportunity to celebrate the unique contribution of Czechs to the history of the city of Chicago – a second home to tens of thousands of Czech immigrants,” added Dr. Borek Lizec, Consul General of the Czech Republic in Chicago. “The Czech Chicago stories has been largely forgotten because the Nazi and Communist regimes tried to erase the democratic part of Czech history, but now we have an opportunity to tell it again and celebrate it,” explained further Consul General Lizec.

Chicagoans of Czech heritage include former Mayor Anton Cermak; founder of the Chicago Bears, George Halas; founder of McDonald’s Ray Kroc; actress Kim Novak; politician Judy Baar Topinka; astronauts Eugene Cernan and James Lovell; and many others.

Guests of Honor at the Czech Series included Mr. Daniel Diermeier, Provost of the University of Chicago, Ms. Charlotta Kotík, great-granddaughter of President Masaryk and Ms. Frances Crane Manson, great-granddaughter of Chicago Industrialist Charles Crane, without whose help Czechoslovakia might not have been created in 1918.


Youtube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-Q-EVkw_Yo


Sponsors :

Prague Committee – Chicago Sister Cities

BOHO – Bohemian House Restaurant www.bohochicago.com

Baker and McKenzie http://www.bakermckenzie.com/en/

Chicagoland Czech American Community Center http://www.chicagocacc.org/

Lasvit http://lasvit.com/

Czechvar http://www.czechvar.com/index.html

Thomas Morel

Ivan Dvořák


Czech Mint

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic Mr. Lubomír Zaorálek and Mayor of Chicago Mr. Rahm Emanuel

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic Mr. Lubomír Zaorálek and Mayor of Chicago Mr. Rahm Emanuel

Press Release (PDF, 53 KB)





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