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Experts discussed “The Shape of (Central) Europe 2018″

November 22, 2018
Aspen Institute Central Europe, in cooperation with Economia media house, held another annual conference of leading professionals “The Shape of (Central) Europe 2018”. This time, the panelists and the guests gathered at Prague Crossroads (St. Anne’s Church), to assess the political, economic and social development of the Czech Republic within the context of Central Europe. Discussions were based on the work of expert groups in five areas – Competitiveness, Quality of Governance, Education, Defense and Security, and Quality of Life. The main partner of the conference was, as a tradition, the Bakala Philanthropy.
The event attracted important personalities of the Czech political scene, public administration and business as well as several world experts. Discussion participants were not afraid to go deep, along with their concepts and visions to introduce specific solutions, and the discussions did not lack controversial opinions either. Building a university city? Changing the system of investment incentives? Improving public-private sector cooperation? In search of answers, a common theme ran through all the panels – the unsatisfactory situation in education. Increase investment in the educational system and match teacher salaries with salaries of other university graduates were chosen as key recommendations for the Czech Republic, during a conference vote. Eighty-one percent of the conference's participants agreed with this, as well as Michaela Bakala, chairwoman of the Bakala Foundation's Board of Trustees. "To me, this confirms that it was right to focus our philanthropy on educating and supporting talented people", said Michaela. She, as well as other participants like General Petr Pavel and education expert Bob Kartous, expressed their opinions in the poll about the future and main challenges of the Czech Republic. The Bakala Foundation is a key partner of Aspen; Zdenek and Michaela Bakala were present at the establishment in Prague of the regional branch of this institution. The conference concluded with a gala evening, whose key guest was Timothy Snyder, a professor of history at Yale University and a permanent member of the Institute of Human Sciences in Vienna. Timothy, among other things, is the author of On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century in which he advises how to cope with modern tyrannies. During the evening, he gave a speech: "Central Europe: Memory or History", for which he received a standing ovation. His inspirational thoughts about the importance of history for the future sparked a lively debate, which will resonate for a long time.


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