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President of Czech Senate Miloš Vystrčil visited Chicago

A Senate delegation led by the chairman of the upper parliamentary chamber, Miloš Vystrčil, spent the first half of the international tour to the United States of America on June 2-5 in Chicago. They were mainly excited about assisting Czech citizens and fostering business relationships. The President of the Senate was accompanied by Pavel Fischer, a Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Security, present was also Tomáš Czernin, a Chairman of the Standing Committee on Compatriots Living Abroad. The delegation was further accompanied by representatives of the Czech Academy of Sciences, and a business delegation led by the Confederation of Industry and Transport.

"We traveled to Chicago primarily to support our regions, but we also come with a business delegation and representatives from Czech science," Senate President Miloš Vystrčil highlighted the significance of the trip. "Even in the face of Russian aggression, we recognize that the world has changed and must continue to adapt. We need to strengthen our ties with those we can rely on, such as the United States, which is a promise of democracy and freedom that will not let us down in difficult times. At the same time, I would like to remind you that the Czech Republic is a relatively small nation," he continues, "so from July 1, we will head the EU, we will chair the EU Council, and so we will have a significant influence on how the rest of Europe behaves in the coming six months.". Miloš Vytrčil added: “'Stronger together,' as they say in America”

The visit to the University of Chicago and a meeting with its vice-rector, Juan de Pablo, was the first stop after arriving on Thursday, June 2. Czech professors of mathematics, econometrics, and statistics also attended the gathering, establishing themselves on the world's university grounds. One of the main topics of discussion was the possibility of scientific cooperation or a shared past at one of the world's greatest colleges. "Through the then-rector of the University of Chicago, T. G. Masaryk made contact with US President Wilson in Chicago. Their encounter helped to pave the path for the establishment of a free Czechoslovakia in 1918 "Chairman Vystrčil used one of the historical examples of mutual relations as an example. T.G.M. was honored by Czech senators at a T.G.M. memorial on the university grounds.

On Friday, June 3, the Senate group visited Fermilab, the United States National Laboratory for Particle Physics and Accelerator Research. The delegation visited several campuses in the area, looking into neutrino physics, super hydrogen quantum materials, and systems, including muon research. In addition to their director Lily Merminga, the senators were guided through the laboratories by Czech scientists working at Fermilab, Miloš Lokajíček, Jaroslav Zálešák, and CTU students. "It once again proves that cooperation between free and democratic countries in the realm of science can be the basis of our maturity and hence of resilience," the Senate President said of the visit.

Later in the day, the Senate delegation attended a business round table discussion held by the Confederation of Industry and Trade in partnership with World Business Chicago, just after viewing one of the world's most important physics centers. Samir Mayekar, the Deputy Mayor for Trade and Regional Development, and Johnson S. Chiang, the CEO of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Chicago, were among those the delegation met.

The senators finished the day in Chicago with a round table discussion hosted by the Global Affairs Council. Russian aggression in Ukraine, the new geopolitical order, the effects of trade dependence on politics, and the potential for reducing reliance on trade with non-democratic nations while expanding transatlantic cooperation were among the subjects discussed by experts.

Czech Catholic Mission's Dušan Hladík guided the Senate delegation through the Church of St. Adalbert and Methodius on Saturday, June 4. The Senate delegation then proceeded to one of the world's largest Czech cemeteries, where former Chicago mayor Anton Čermák is buried. Later in the day, they honored the memory of K. H. Borovský at his memorial near Lake Michigan. Senators met briefly with Jess White, Illinois' longest-serving Secretary of State, during a follow-up meeting with an American group of Czech Republic friends.

The 10th Annual Conference of Czech Schools in North America, held at the Czech TGM School, was the highlight of the day. Until the break caused by the covid-19 pandemic in 2019, representatives from the upper house of the Parliament generally attend this customary meeting of Czech teachers, which takes place in a different location every year. “I'm delighted to see you again, as it's been three years since our last encounter. It also makes me proud that we're meeting in Chicago for the annual conference, because it's historically the third-largest Czech city, and it's clear that Czechness still has a presence here. We Czechs will never get lost in the world," Tomáš Czernin continues, "Czech language is cool and will stay cool."

The senators honored the tragic episode in Czech history, the burning of Lidice, at the Crest Hill Memorial, which was established on the site barely two days later after the tragic event in 1942, on the last day of their visit to Chicago before leaving for Washington. A large memorial service will be held at the same location on June 12 to celebrate the 80th anniversary, which the President of the Senate, together with other Senate members, will commemorate in the Czech Republic at the Lidice Memorial.


Senát 2022