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The founding inspiration for the Czech and Slovak Cultural Center of Minnesota was provided by the former Czech President Václav Havel during his visit to Minnesota in 1999. CSCC was legally incorporated in the State of Minnesota in February 2001 and full public operation of CSCC started in November 2002.
The Czech and Slovak Cultural Center of Minnesota does not have a building. Czechs, Slovaks, those with Czech and Slovak heritage and those with no Czech or Slovak heritage who have an interest meet regularly to help educate others about the modern Czech and Slovak Republics. CSCC creates cultural, educational and relationship opportunities for Minnesotans and citizens of the Czech and Slovak Republics to become active agents of local and global change.
Havel challenged us to focus on building a “civil society” in which we each take practical concrete steps toward realizing the ideals of mutual respect and understanding. This pursuit takes many forms in today’s highly globalized world, and the CSCC strives to offer innovative programming in areas ranging from political and economic; to social, cultural and educational.
The goals of the CSCC are:
- To act as a point of contact for people from the Czech and Slovak Republics.
- To be a resource for Minnesotans interested in Central Europe.
- Develop and sponsor symposia, educational courses, literary circles, concerts, exhibits, and theater performances.
- Maintain a content-rich website that will help strengthen the Czech and Slovak community in Minnesota.
- Partner with embassies, government agencies, the Minnesota International Center, Universities, other Central European groups, and other cultural organizations to bring Czech and Slovak exhibits, artists, performing groups, and speakers to Minnesota.
- Promote business relationships between Minnesota and the Czech and Slovak Republics.
- Facilitate exchange programs for teachers, students, and professionals.
Cíle CSCC jsou:
- Být zdrojem informací pro občany Minnesoty, kteří mají zájem o střední Evropu
- Působit jako kontaktní bod pro krajany z České republiky a Slovenské republiky
- Rozvíjet a sponzorovat sympozia, vzdělávací kurzy, literární kruhy, koncerty , výstavy a divadelní představení
- Provozovat obsahově bohaté webové stránky, která pomáhá posílit české a slovenské komunity v Minnesotě
- Spolupracovat s velvyslanectvími, vládními agenturami, mezinárodními centry, univerzitami, ostatními středoevropskými skupinami, a dalšími kulturními organizacemi
- Představovat v Minnesotě česká a slovenská dílam umělce, divadelní skupiny a hudebníky
- Přinést české a slovenské exponáty, umělce , divadelní skupiny , a hudebníky do Minnesoty
- Podporovat obchodní vazby mezi Minnesotou a Českou a Slovenskou republikou
- Currently are involved in major effort to celebrate the US-EU relationships.
- Co-hosted (with the Václav Havel Symposium for Civil Society) the memorable visit to the Twin Cities of President Václav Havel.
- Cooperated with the annual programs of the Václav Havel Symposium for Civil Society located at the University of St. Thomas and the House of Hope Presbyterian Church. This symposium brought to the Twin Cities such distinguished personalities as former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Czech Ambassador Martin Palouš, and Slovak Ambassador Martin Bútora, and his wife Zora Bútorová, a distinguished sociologist in her own right.
- Hosted and programmed Czech Ambassadors: Michael Žantovský, Alexandr Vondra, Petr Kolář and Martin Palouš.
- Hosted several Slovak delegations, including the Ambassador, Minister of Education and other cabinet ministers and government officials.
- Hosted and programmed several visits of the Consuls General of the Czech Republic from Chicago, Ambassadors Marek Skolil and Dana Hunatova.
- Plan on inviting the new Ambassadors for the Slovak Republic (Ivan Korčok) and the Czech Republic (Hynek Kmoníček).
- Hosted and provided several forums for distinguished Czech and Slovak personalities: Peter Sis, Ivan Moravec, Paul Wilson, Jake Slegers, Martin Bútora, Zora Bútorová, Tomáš Klvaňa, Jiří Pehe, and the US diplomat Skoug whose assignment at the US Embassy in Prague included working with Alexander Dubček and was witness of the “Prague Spring” of 1968, one of the key events that eventually lead to the end of communist rule.
- Organized major conference on doing business with the Czech Republic.
- Hosted and programmed a Czech Trade Delegation to Minnesota.
- Assisted Governor Pawlenty in organizing a trade mission to the Czech Republic.
- Since 2003 organized a total of 32 Lectures on selected topics related to the Czech and Slovak Republics and their relations with the USA. Lectures were given by prominent US academics and Czech and Slovak public personalities and included topics related to the history of the Czech and Slovak Republics, their recent developments, relations with the EU, relations with the USA, and aspects of transition from communism to democracy.
- Developed a technically sophisticated Lectures program via SKYPE to bring prominent Czech and Slovak personalities to our audiences. This included the last surviving citizens of the village of Lidice that was leveled by the Nazis. More are planned in the future.
- Wrote and distributed on the web page and in the Sokol’s SLOVO a total of 44 articles about current topics of interest to the public. These articles are available for downloading.
- Members of the Board have made many presentations about the Czech and Slovak Republics to the public.
- Co-sponsored with the Film Society several annual film festivals that featured the “best” Czech and Slovak Films and plan on doing so annually.
- Co-sponsored with a volunteer theater group three Czech plays (two of Havel’s).
- Assisted the Perpich Academy of Performing Arts in producing several performances of Čapek’s play, The Insects, 2011.
- Sponsored a major art exhibit of a local Czech artist Ms. Nemcová and a photo exhibit of Misa Daniel, the photographer of the Guthrie Theater.
- Organized and promoted many Musical Performances of prominent Czech groups: Čechomor, Drúha Tráva, and the famous Plastic People of the Universe.
- Other distinguished musical programs included presentations by: Ivan Moravec, Jordan Sramek, Joel Blahnik, Anita Smisek, Vladislav Bláha, and a member of the retired opera singers who sang famous Czech opera arias.
- Jointly sponsored with Sokol a Literary Ventures group whose members, meeting one per month, read and discuss prominent pieces of Czech and Slovak literature. On several occasions they heard presentations about the Czech and Slovak Literature from prominent literary scholars.
- Actively supported the Czech and Slovak Sokol Minnesota with the annual Czech and Slovak Fall Festival.
- Cooperated with the Slovak and Czech Honorary Consuls in performing their functions, including the awards of prestigious Czernin Palace Memorial Award for several prominent members of the CSCC and SOKOL. Awards have been given to: Milan Sebek, Libby Imbrone, Joyce Tesarek, Norman Sladek, Kent Wilson, Georgiana Dolejsi, Jeanette Pafko, Arnold and Deb Ziskovsky.