The Carolinum is a unique medieval building. Originally a college, it has been an inseparable part of the history of Prague's university since 1386. Charles University has a natural obligation to care for it, both as a glorious part of its own heritage and as a national monument. The most recent reconstruction, planned and implemented by a Commission for the Conservation and Use of the Carolinum (acting as an advisory body to the Rector), has fully respected all the medieval elements that were found during the earlier reconstruction in 1945-1959 and very carefully preserved by the architect Jaroslav Fragner. The CCUC agreed with the chief architect of the recent reconstruction, arch. Tomas Santavy, in regarding Fragner's achievement as an historic work of monument renewal that should not be undermined by insensitive modifications. Two important figures were also involved in drawing up the reconstruction plans: Fragner's pupil the architect Marian Belohradsky and Dr. Miloslav Truc, a member of the Monument Commission. Unfortunately, neither lived to see the reconstruction completed...
The year-long works concentrated on the twin tasks of practical augmentation of the building and providing the finishing touches to the overall monumental effect of the Carolinum. An essential aspect of the project was the technical reconstruction of fittings that were now almost fifty years old, and the whole operational infrastructure, in order that these should be adequate to today's requirements and regulations. The building was equipped with two lifts, one of these allowing the disabled to enjoy barrier-free access to the reception rooms. The large number of floors in the buildings, and multiple changes of level on individual floors, made the construction of barrier-free access-ways a major and very difficult task. The visitor to the Carolinum will now be able to use a new lift from the entrance hall to the Rector's offices and the Patriotic Hall. Disabled visitors may now also gain entrance to the Magna Aula by using a lifting platform installed alongside the stairs from the exhibition hall on the ground floor.
The greatest problem in the Carolinum had been the building's inefficient and antiquated technical infrastructure. It was necessary to replace the electrical system, the central heating system, the air-conditioning and the water and sewage system. The new air-conditioning system will make temperatures in the building more comfortable and both the air-conditioning and heating apparatus is centrally controlled by computer. There have been acoustic modifications in the reception rooms, and the sound system in the Magna Aula has been completely overhauled. There is now more mobile equipment for interpreters and equipment for visitors with hearing disabilities. The whole building is protected by an electronic security and fire alarm system. The architectural plan behind the present reconstruction draws on Fragner's vision, with additions made principally for practical purposes. Today the Carolinum is no longer used purely for formal occasions, but must provide an effective working centre for the running of the university. For this reason, while care has been taken to preserve the historic face of the building, any conception of the Carolinum as a museum has been avoided. Instead, the reconstruction has been based on the idea of the Carolinum as a living centre for the work of the university and the broader cultural life of the metropolis that it has served from the Middle Ages, and will continue to serve. We believe that the project has been accomplished in such a way as to fulfill the current generation's obligations to the traditions of the university. It is also a fitting contribution to the celebrations of the university's 650th anniversary.
At a meeting on the 31st of January 1997 the Charles University Academic Senate approved the Rector's proposal for the appointment of new pro-rectors for the term of office from the 1st of February 1997 to the 30th of January 2000. The new Pro-Rector for External Relations is Prof. MUDr. Josef Koutecky, DrSc. - former Dean of the Second Medical Faculty; the new Pro-Rector for Study Matters is Prof. PhDr. Miloslav Petrusek, DrSc. - former Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences; the new Pro-Rector for International Relations is the historian Prof. PhDr. Jaroslav Panek, DrSc. Prof. MUDr. Pavel Klener, DrSc. and Doc. Ing. Ivan Wilhelm, CSc. were confirmed for a second term of office in their functions as Pro-Rector for Science and Research and Pro-Rector for Development, respectively.
On the 6th of February 1997 Charles University provided the venue for this year's 1st meeting of the assembly of the Council of Universities, the official representative of the academic communities of Czech universities and their faculties. The meeting elected a new Chairman for the Council - Charles University Pro-Rector Doc. Ing. Ivan Wilhelm CSc.Czech Minister of Education Ivan Pilip made a brief appearance at the meeting, and wished both the Council of Universities and Doc. Wilhelm every success in their work for higher education.
Rainer Kreissl, a native of Dekov by Rakovnik, holder of an Honorary Doctorate from Charles University, former Director of the Weinmuller-Neumeister Auction House in Munich, collector and patron of the arts (in our photograph) is well-known at Charles University as the donor of the Armenian Royal Crown. This is a precious Armenian ecclesiastical antiquity of the 10th Century AD, of immense artistic value, which is now on show in the re-opened Treasury of the Carolinum. Rainer Kreissl is a connoisseur not only of European art, but also of the art of other continents and civilizations (mainly Egypt and the Middle and Far East). He has published frequently and is respected and much read in the world of art connoisseurs. He visited Charles University at the beginning of May 1997 and the television station Bayern 3, well-known for its cultural and intellectual orientation, took the opportunity to film a television portrait of Rainer Kreissl in the precincts of the Carolinum. This programme presented Dr. h.c. Rainer Kreissl as a Sudeten German who in his actions and opinions has been making a real contribution to Czech-German dialogue, understanding and coexistence. He stands on the same positive platform as Charles University, for example in its arrangement of the cycle of lectures "Conversations on Neighbourliness" by leading Czech and German figures (1995) and in this year's cycle "Conversations on Europe." In the course of filming, Rainer Kreissl spoke to Forum Magazine and recalled many fascinating incidents in his life. Sometimes brutal and sometimes amusing, these all illuminated the fate of Germans in the Czech Lands both before and after the Second World War. We asked why he had made so many important donations, such as the Armenian Crown (Charles University), rare Anatolian carpets (Naprstek Museum) and the collection of Chinese and Japanese art (Libechov Chateau) to the Czech Lands. Mr. Kreissl replied, "The Czech Lands are my home. I feel wonderful here," and added that "for me, Charles University is what a holy cathedral church is for believers, the place where they go to pray..."
On the 10th of April 1997 the Ringier Inc. Press Group, which publishes a whole range of periodicals in the Czech Republic including the daily Lidove noviny, Reflex and Profit magazines, became Charles University's first official media partner for the celebrations of the 650th anniversary of its founding. The event was marked by a small celebration in the reception rooms of the Carolinum, attended by the CU Rector, Prof. Karel Maly, the CU Questor, Ing, Josef Kubicek and the CU Pro-Rector for External Relations, Prof. Josef Koutecky. The Ringier Group was represented by Managing Director, Christian Muller, the Head of the Directorial Office, Ing. Milan Kopecky, and JUDr. Milan Budovic, Consultant to the Directorial Office. Only a few days later (on the 17th of April) MaFra, Inc. - publisher of the daily Mlada fronta dnes - became a second partner for the celebrations. The ceremonial signing of the agreement in the Carolinum was attended, for Mafra, by its Managing Director Clemens Bauer and Ing. Hana Zavadilova. Clemens Bauer expressed his pleasure at the signing of the agreement and showed a lively interest in all the plans for the celebrations. After an official toast, the CU Rector presented him with the new publication Conversations on Neighbourliness and Clemens Bauer gave him a letter confirming that he would act as a member of the honorary committee for the celebrations.
Both the contracts with publishers as well as the media partnership now under negotiation with Czech Television and Czech Radio should provide Charles University with sufficient media support over the period of the celebrations of the 650th anniversary. These celebrations, which will involve a comprehensive programme of dozens of academic, cultural and social events, will undoubtedly be in the forefront of public attention in 1998.
The pharmaceutical company Medicom International Ltd., which has an associated Medicom Foundation aimed at supporting education, research and science in healthcare, has sponsored a competition for the best scientific dissertation by a student in the field of medicine. The competition was open to undergraduate and postgraduate students of medicine, and the work that entrants submitted was assessed by referees chosen by the pro-deans for science from all the medical faculties. In the undergraduate category, the winner was Pavel Klener, a student at the CU 1st Medical Faculty, for his dissertation, "The Metabolism of Cyclical Adenosine Diphosphate of Ribose in the Rat Kidney." The first prize in the postgraduate category went to MUDr. Milana Beranova from the CU Medical Faculty in Plzen on her dissertation, "Contribution to the Problem of Immunoneuro-endocrine Relations in Ontogenesis". Both winners were presented with their prizes by the Director of Medicom International, Inc., RNDr. Jan Blatny, CSc., and CU Pro-Rector Prof. MUDr. Pavel Klener, at a meeting of the CU Research Board on the 24th of March 1997.
At the invitation of the Rector of Charles University, the Director of the EU Erasmus Office in Brussels, Bernd Wachter, visited Prague from the 9th to the 11th of March 1997. The main reason for the invitation was the arrangement of specialist lectures and consultations as part of preparation for the entry of CU into the Erasmus programme. Before Mr. Wachter's arrival, the European Office of the CU Rectorate's International Relations Department, on the basis of discussions with faculty co-ordinators, had drawn up a list of the most frequent problems that and questions that CU staff were encountering with the introduction of the Erasmus programme. Mr. Wachter then spent his first morning discussing and resolving these points with staff at the International Relations Department. Later he was formally welcomed by the Rector of Charles University, accompanied by Pro-rectors Prof. Panek and Prof. Cepek and the CU Erasmus Guarantor, Prof. Drobnik. At this reception Mr. Wachter, whose status corresponds to that of a European Union commissioner, expressed satisfaction with the state of preparations. He was impressed by the concrete and well-informed approach of Charles University, testifying to the university's serious interest in participating in European Union activities. Maly expressed the deep interest of the university in increasing student mobility, especially, and underlined its importance for improving the quality and international profile of university studies. Mr. Wachter told his hosts that he appreciated the broad basis that Charles University had created with its existing international activities, and he expressed the hope that this basis would provide a starting-point for the extension of the European dimension in Czech higher education. The engagement of the young intelligentsia will have positive effects in the context of plans for the admission of the Czech Republic into the European Union. In the afternoon Mr. Wachter gave a lecture in the Rectorate's Green Room on the theme of the basic activities of the Erasmus programme and the preparation of an institutional agreement. In the subsequent lively and wide-ranging discussion he answered questions from representatives of the CU faculties pro-deans, Erasmus co-ordinators, representatives of the International and Study departments and others). Those who attended the lecture heard information on the principles of financing the programme, the overall position in associated countries newly affiliated to the programme (the CR, Hungary, Rumania), the date of the formal approval of new Erasmus members by the Board of Commissioners of the European Parliament (March 1997), the shifting forward of the deadline for the institutional agreement to the 15th of November 1997 and the date for completion of the new application forms. They also listened to an analysis of the opportunities and procedures for joining in individual activities. The Erasmus co-ordinators in all the CU faculties were subsequently given a report containing concrete information and an explanation of disputed questions. Mr. Wachter's clear and highly informative exposition received a very positive response. His lecture was one of the successful and useful of its kind. On the second day of his visit, the national Socrates/Erasmus Office took advantage of Mr. Wachter's presence to arrange a working meeting with Erasmus co-ordinators from all the universities in the Czech Republic. The meeting was held in the Czech Technical University and also met with a warm and lively reaction from a packed lecture-hall.
At the end of his visit the Director of the EU Erasmus Office in Brussels was happy to tell us:
"I am agreeably surprised by the interest and initiative of Czech universities. It shows a serious approach and thorough preparation, which is more than I can say, unfortunately, for all the newly affiliated countries."
On Wednesday the 12th of March 1997, the newly reconstructed interiors of the historical Carolinum were the scene for the reception of several visitors from France. Teachers of the Paris Ecole pratique des Hautes Etudes (EPHE) - Prof. Francois Monnier, the President of the University, Venceslas Kruta, the co-ordinator of co-operation, and Prof. Michel Fleury - were greeted by the Rector of Charles University, Prof. Karel Maly, and the CU pro-Rector for International Affairs, Prof. Jaroslav Panek.
The meeting and current contacts between CU and EPHE represent the positive results of a university agreement signed eighteen months ago (October 1995). So far, this co-operation has been developed exclusively on the basis of the exchange of visiting lecturers. Last year four Charles University academics visited the French institution to give lectures. This year, French academics gave a lecture cycle in Prague. The cycle was held at Charles University throughout the day on the 13th of March under the title, "Aspects of the History of Paris" and was very successful, especially among students.
Commenting on the development of Czech-French relations, the CU Rector declared: "We do not forget that the Czech Republic came into existence through the will of France, that we fought side by side in two world wars, and that it was Charles de Gaulle who was the first to declare the Munich agreement null and void. Now after many years in which our relations have been brutally curtailed, it is necessary to restore our mutual contacts." Professor Maly added that co-operation should be primarily based on the development of joint projects, including the possibility of joint Czech-French supervision of some doctoral studies.
On the 19th of December, 1996, a Charles University Silver Commemorative Medal was awarded to Prof. RNDr. Josef Kral for his lifelong work and exceptional achievements in research and teaching. He was nominated for the award by the Dean of the Mathematics and Physics Faculty, Bedrich Sedlak, and the Research Board of the same faculty.
Prof. Kral, one of the most distinguished mathematicians of the late 20th Century, received his commemorative medal from the hands of Charles University Rector, Prof. Karel Maly.
In his laudatory address, the MPF CU Pro-Dean for Research and Foreign Relations, Prof. RNDr. Ivan Netuka, DrSc. gave a short account of the recipient's career: Prof. Josef Kral studied at the CU Mathematics and Physics Faculty and afterwards remained there as an assistant lecturer at the Department of Mathematics, where he soon embarked on his own doctoral research. From the 1960s he worked at the Mathematical Institute of the Czechoslovak Academy in the Department of Partial Differential Equations and in 1980 he was appointed Head of the Department of Methods of Mathematical Physics at the same institute. Despite his move to the institute, he never lost contact with the faculty, where he founded a seminar of mathematical analysis focused on the theory of potential. This seminar and its members gradually developed an international reputation. Prof. Josef Kral has published more than one hundred pieces of work, of which more than sixty are original research papers. His monograph on the method of integral equations is very highly rated in specialist circles. In December 1996 the outstanding mathematician and teacher Prof. Josef Kral celebrated his fifty-fifth birthday.
At a meeting of the CU Research Board on the 19th of December, 1996, the CU Rector Prof. Karel Maly, DrSc. awarded two commemorative medals. The laudatory address accompanying the first of these awards, a Gold Commemorative Medal for Prof. MUDr, Vojtech Snaid, CSc., was given by Doc. MUDr. Petr Hach, CSc, Dean of the First Medical Faculty. He outlined the career of Dr. Snaid, who was a former CU Pro-Rector and Dean of the former Faculty of General Medicine, having originally graduated in 1937. This outstanding Czech medical specialist had devoted himself to gynaecological disorders and their surgical treatment. Doc. Petr. Hach had himself been one of Dr. Snaid's pupils, and recalled that, "As a teacher he was a kind and exceedingly inspiring figure for his students. He was an outstanding lecturer and enlightened author of teaching texts..." Snaid strong and humane principles were evident during the events of 1968 and after. As Dean of the Medical Faculty he gave clear support to a strike by students, and was subsequently punished in the years of "normalisation" by expulsion from the faculty, after which he practiced as an ordinary gynaecologist. In the 1990s he returned to CU where he continues to work as a consultant emeritus at the First Gynaecological-Obstetric Clinic. Here "his contributions are very enlightened and his place respected..."
This outstanding doctor, Prof. Vojtech Snaid, now aged eighty-five, was presented with a Golden Commemorative Medal by the Rector of the university, "for his lifelong research and teaching work and his personal courage".
The Rector also presented PhDr. Zlata Kacovska with a Bronze Commemorative Medal "for developing the theory of teaching Czech as a foreign language". Dr. Kacovska received the medal on the occasion of her own career jubilee, having spent 30 years at the Institute of Language and Specialist Preparation).
From the 29th of January to the 2nd of February 1997, the Main Hall of the La Villete Exhibition Centre in north-east Paris was the venue for the international language, culture and tourism fair known as Expolangues '97. Charles University was taking part in this important event for the third time. The CU stand, which had been prepared in collaboration with the agency, "Made in ... (Publicity)", was very handsome and attracted a great deal of interest from visitors. It was presenting textbooks, language courses, educational videoprogammes, studies at CU and even Czech courses for children. Another area of interest was dictionaries, of which there is currently an inadequate supply. Publicity materials about CU, the Institute of Language and Specialist Preparation and its branches, and the Czech Republic in general, all met with a lively response. We very much appreciated the interest of the Czech Embassy in Paris, whose staff devoted exceptional attention to our exhibition. This was in great contrast to the situation last year! Our contribution at the next Expolangues will be orientated to the 650th anniversary of Charles University. The Czech embassy will also mark the occasion by organising lectures and exhibitions on CU at the new Czech Centre in Paris.
At the beginning of January 1997 we told readers about the plans of the Charles University leadership to hold a cycle of lectures with the title "Conversations on Europe." In the course of the year a series of the most important representatives of contemporary European politics will come to Charles University to express their views on various aspects of the development of a united Europe, and will thus be contributing to the ongoing discussions about prospective Czech membership of the European Union. The first event in the cycle, which has been arranged jointly by CU and the Bohemiae Foundation, took place on the 7th of April 1997 at a gathering in the Magna Aula of the Carolinum. The first lecture, "The Challenge of Europe" was given by Doc. Ing. Josef Zieleniec, CSc., Vice-Chairman of the Czech Government and Minister of Foreign Affairs. The meeting was opened by CU Pro-Rector PhDr. Jaroslav Panek, CSc., and there were a number of short introductory addresses. The CU Rector emphasised that he welcomed the use of the university for such events because "universities are not and have never been purely national institutions." Karel Schwarzenberg, founder of the Bohemiae Foundation, stressed that conversations about Europe must inevitable include all of us, and that they are "conversations that we have with ourselves." The next to speak was Dr. Andrzej Olechowski, Chairman of the Central Europe Trust and former Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs. In his address he gave an interesting analysis of contemporary Poland and found several parallels in the Central European status of Poland and the Czech Republic: "Central Europe is only a state of mind, and so I would regard it as a mark of failure if in ten or fifteen years Czechs or Poles still considered themselves Central Europeans." The time had come for Doc. Josef Zieleniec's lecture, which was philosophically orientated, and warmly received by the audience that packed the Aula of the Carolinum, was divided into several sections: the Czech Republic and its European Neighbours; Into the European Union; Europe with an Atlantic Link. The Minister of Foreign Affairs emphasized our crucial interest in the maintenance of "the transatlantic partnership and the presence of the USA in Europe...We cannot speak of Europe without at the same time speaking of America." In his opinion, the new continent had shown a "deeper conception of civilization at a time when Europe had lost it" (in postwar history). At the end of his lecture Josef Zieleniec strongly rejected the frequent claims that Europe had embarked on a path that would lead her away from a central role in world events: "I do not believe in the end of Europe! The task that Europeans have set themselves over the last fifty years is testimony to the fact that they have understood the historical importance of the movement and actively accepted the challenge of the time. That which they have achieved over the period shows that they have lived up to the challenge. The old continent has rid itself of the ballast of aggressive nationalism that once dragged it towards the bottom. It has created a new framework for European life, in which tradition and progress, identity and continuity are linked in such a way as to provide a chance that the next century will not be a century without Europe. Europe does not have to become a museum. It is enough to take that chance. I have tried to define it. The Czech viewpoint, often ironic and skeptical, is at this moment strong and undeviating. The Czechs are looking in the same direction as the rest of Europe. We have our own European 'universitas'."
The signing of an agreement on direct co-operation was the main reason for a meeting between the Rector of Charles University, Prof. Karel Maly, and the Rector and representatives of the Universidad Autonoma de Queretaro in Mexico. The meeting took place on the 28th of March 1997 in the reception rooms of the Carolinum. The Rector of the Mexican university, prof. Jose Alfredo Zepeda Garrida and his colleagues were welcomed by Prof. Maly and other leading university figures. The foreign guests were interested in establishing contacts with the oldest of Czech universities, drawing up a joint exchange programme similar to those that the Mexican university already enjoys with universities in America and Cuba, and, of course, in signing the agreement on co-operation - the third so far. Both sides hope that this trans-oceanic co-operation will work well since, as Prof. Maly said, "thanks to technology we are not so distant".
Almost forty representatives of the international relations departments of German universities in Berlin, Bonn, Dortmund, Heidelberg, Munich, Passau, Postdam, and Stuttgart, and their counterparts from Czech universities gathered, from the 19th - 23rd of April 1997, for a seminar on Czech-German co-operation in the field of university education. The seminar programme was drawn up by the Charles University Department of International Relations in collaboration with the important German organisation, the DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst), which among its other activities finances German inter-university co-operation. Charles University became the joint seminar organiser, providing the space where the seminar was held, together with the DAAD, which - with the German Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Technology - covered the travel and lodging expenses of the participants.
The main aim of the seminar was for the Germans to familiarize themselves with the Czech higher educational system (structure, financing, legal aspects, accreditation) and for both sides to exchange experience about student, teacher and researcher mobility between German and Czech centres, including such aspects as professional or study content, length of stays, financial support etc. In the course of the seminar the representatives of the Czech and German universities got to know a great deal more about the theoretical and practical aspects of the Czech university system, its developmental trends and directions in international relations. The participants from abroad had the opportunity not only to look at Charles University, but also to visit other Czech universities and higher educational institutions.
The Germans paid careful attention to the needs expressed on the Czech side, and there was also great interest in the information provided by Hans Golombek on the possibilities of DAAD support for Czech-German university co-operation and the new DAAD programmes designed for the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Representatives of Czech higher educational institutions were particularly interested by the explanation of the way that the German government implements foreign policy in the field of education, specifically the financing of inter-university co-operation, through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The travel costs of German participants in such co-operation and the board and lodging of guests from abroad (students and teachers) are fully covered from the funds allocated by the government to the DAAD organisation. The Czech government does not provide Czech students with this kind of help, and the matter would certainly be worth considering.
The seminar was accompanied by a social programme, including the reception of the participants by the German Ambassador Anton Rossbach at the German embassy. The results of the well-prepared seminar will be put together and published shortly in a special brochure.
On the 7th of May, 1977, the CU Pro-Rector for International Relations, Prof. PhDr. Jaroslav Panek, DrSc., attended a leave-taking ceremony at Passau University for the outgoing Rector, Prof. Dr. Karl-Heinz Pollok. Prof. Panek presented Prof. Pollok with a Charles University Commemorative Medal on behalf of the CU Rector, in recognition of his contributions to the development of co-operation between our universities and the development of Czech-German relations in general. The medal was presented at the Rectorate of Passau University in the presence of the new Rector prof. Dr. Walter Schweitzer and other university representatives. Prof. Pollok expressed himself deeply moved that as a founder of the second youngest German university he should be receiving such an award from the oldest Central European university.
Other representatives of Passau university and speakers emphasised the importance of this award, and their appreciation of the fact that a Pro-Rector of CU was attending the leave-taking ceremony (the rectors of numerous German universities, and universities in Budapest, Esztergom and Ceske Budejovice were also present).
The third annual announcement of the Ibero-American prize - Premio Iberoamerica 1996 - was another of the celebratory events in the university calendar. On the 10th of March, 1997 the prize-giving took place in the Patriotic Hall of the Carolinum, attended by the ambassadors of twelve Ibero-American countries (the countries of Latin America, Spain and Portugal) and the rectors of two Czech universities - Charles University and the Economics University, Prof. Karel Maly and Prof. Jan Seger respectively.
The organiser of this year's awards was the Venezuelan embassy headed by Ambassador German Carrera Damas, who opened the ceremony and presented the prizes.
The Premio Iberoamerica is open to Czech university students, and is designed to deepen co-operation between the Czech Republic and the countries of Latin America. In preceding years it was held purely in the category of the Humanities, but this year the scope of the competition was extended to include economic sciences, and so to entries from the Economics University.
The jury, composed of Latin American ambassadors, considered the work of a total of twenty students, and the decision was no easy matter.
In the field of economic sciences, ten students of the Economics University had submitted work on the theme of Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries. In the field of literature and history, entries came from a total of eleven students (five from Charles University and six from the Palacky University in Olomouc).
The prize-giving took place in what was almost a family atmosphere. After opening addresses from the CU Rector Prof. Karel Maly and the Venezuelan ambassador G.Damas, the prizes were presented:
The 1st Prize in the field of the Humanities, a total of USD 1,000, was won by Martina Kukelkova, a student of the CU Philosophical Faculty, for her work "Humanidade", written in Portuguese. The 2nd Prize (USD 500) in this category went to Jana Kubecova, also a student at the CU Philosophical Faculty, for her work "Las Poetizas del Cono Sur", written in Spanish.
The 1st Prize in the economic section of the competition was not awarded, but the 2nd Prize was won by Barbora Benesova, a student of the Economics University, for her work, "La cooperacion economica entre America y la Republica Checa", written in Spanish.
The winning students expressed their thanks for the prizes in the languages in which they had written their entries.
Congratulating the winners, the CU Rector said that "...these awards honour not only the students themselves, but the universities they represent."
Before the end of the event the Venezuelan Ambassador passed on the baton to the Brazilian Ambassador, Sergio Paulo Rouanet, who is to be the secretary and organiser of next year's Premio Iberoamerica.
The anniversary of the founding of CU was a fitting context for the publication, by the university's Carolinum Press, of the third volume of the ambitious project, The History of Charles University. The book is conceived chronologically and provides an account of the major events and developments in university life in the period 1802-1918. The book was formally presented and its publication welcomed by CU Rector Prof. Karel Maly at a meeting of the CU Research Board (24th of April 1997). He thanked the co-authors and wished the new volume "the same public recognition and appreciation as the first and second volumes". On this occasion he also mentioned another Carolinum Press publication - the book, Conversations on Neighbourliness, which reflected the commitment of Charles University to "taking the road to mutual understanding" (between Czechs and Germans: for more details see page...).
The meeting was attended by the co-authors of the new historical publication, Carolinum Press staff, and representatives of the Czech Savings Bank, the sponsored of the project. After the Rector's introductory address, all present heard more about the background to the History of Charles University. The Director of the Institute for the History of Charles University and the University Archives, Prof. Josef Petran, said that twenty-two authors had contributed to work on the project. One of them, Dr. Miroslav Truc, had, alas, not lived to see this celebratory moment. Professor Petran thanked all the authors and the main sponsor, the Czech Savings Bank.
Meanwhile, the fourth and final volume of the History of Charles University has yet to be published. It exists only in manuscript, and according to the authors it is the greatest challenge of the whole series. A summary of the first two volumes of the History of Charles University will be appearing in English.
is a handsomely produced book that has just been published by Charles University at the Carolinum Press. It is principally important for the contribution that it makes to the current dialogue on Czech-German reconciliation, and it came out shortly after Czech President Vaclav Havel addressed the German Bundestag (24th of April 1997) and the FRG President Roman Herzog spoke at Prague Castle (29th of April 1997) on the subject of the Czech-German Declaration. The publication is a collection of the ideas of Czech and German politicians who are trying to find a path to full reconciliation. These politicians formulated their veiwpoints at a series of six meetings held in 1995 at Charles University in the Aula Magna of the Carolinum.
The book, which bears the same title as the lecture series, Rozhovory o sousedstvi (Gesprache mit dem Nachbarn) is published in a dual language Czech-German edition. It is a reminder of the series of meetings and prints the lectures given by all the participants: Czech President Vaclav Havel, former Federal President Richard von Weizsacker, Vice-Chairman of the Federal Parliament Antje Vollmer, Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Josef Zieleniec, Prime Minister of Saxony Kurt Biedenkopf and Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, Archbishop of Prague.
Something Happened, (1974), Good as Gold (1979), God Knows (1984), Closing Time, 1994), and other works have made him a literary legend throughout the world. Recently he celebrated his seventy-fourth birthday and he is still an active writer. There are very few people who don't know his blackly humorous anti-war novel Catch 22 (1961). He is the literary colossus Joseph Heller.
He was born in Brooklyn in 1923, and studied at universities in California, New York, Oxford, and Columbia University. He found academic life so congenial that he decided not to leave it, and in the nineteen-sixties he taught literature and drama and Yale and Pennsylvania University.
Joseph Heller has been in the Czech Republic several times; first in 1995, when he visited the first "World of Books" fair to present his new book Closing Time. It is a novel that describes the further adventures of the now ageing and world-weary heroes of Catch 22. The world has changed a great deal since the war... This year Heller once again visited the Prague "World of Books" fair. "I am not working on anything. I've come for a vacation," the American writer announced after flying in to Ruzyne. His programme in the Czech Republic did not, however, allow him much leisure. He attended the book fair where he signed copies of his books, read extracts, and met his translators. He also decided to give lectures. At the CU Philosophical Faculty Department of English he spoke on the theme of "My Fiction and Non-Fiction", and also lectured at the American Centre in Hybernska Street in Prague and at Palacky University in Olomouc.
Recently Joseph Heller finished another book which is being prepared for publication in the USE and should appear in Czech bookstores within a year. It is an autobiographical novel which includes reflections on how one becomes a writer.
After the major Forum of the European Union and Countries of Central and Eastern Europe on the Information Society, held in September last year at Prague Castle, our capital city will once again be hosting an important international event on the same theme. Preparations are already going ahead for a conference called, "The Role of Universities in the Future Information Society" (RUFIS '97) to be held from the 24th-27th of September 1997. The organizing body will be a Czech-Slovak Programme Committee, in which the main organisations represented will be the Czech Technical University and the Slovak Technical University. In view of the broad and not purely technical theme of the conference, however, the committee will include representatives of other institutions of higher education, including Charles University.
Last year, the international conference at the Castle, which was attended by government delegations from the countries participating, discussed questions related to humanity's entry into a new century which will also represent a new stage in social development that can be generally defined as the "information society". Charles University, through its Institute for Information Studies and Librarianship at the Philosophical Faculty, co-ordinated the participation of Prague students and the preparation of themes for discussion.
The RUFIS '97 conference will be wholly concerned with problems related to the function of universities in an environment that will be ever more influenced by information technologies. The majority of the questions addressed have been under discussion in recent years, mainly on the initiative of the European Union. One important platform, for example, has been the European Commission White Book on Training and Education, submitted to the public by Commissioner Edith Cresson and supported by Martin Bangemann, Commissioner for Industry, Informatics and Telecommunication Technology. It's starting-point is the proposition that advancing technology is increasing access to information, but also making increasing demands in terms of essential skills and commitment to work. This trend is spreading a general insecurity and may even cause individuals to feel excluded from society. The status of each citizen in his/her society will depend ever more on his or the knowledge and skill that he/she can acquire in the context of an "informationized" world.
The RUFIS '97 conference has been designed with a view to addressing an audience broader than that of the European academic community alone. So far, three broader thematic areas have been announced: "the basic vision and programmes of the information society", "new information and telecommunications technology and its use in education", and "information systems, Internet and Intranet". The conference will be divided into a Czech-Slovak section (the first day, the 24th of September) and an international section (25th - 26th of September 1997). Organisational preparation and preliminary discussion, however, has already been underway since the 1st of March on the Internet.
The seriousness of the theme to which the RUFIS '97 conference will be dedicated is undeniable in many of its aspects and above all at the level of planning for the further development of training and education in Czech universities and other types of school.
Forum No. 5 this year carried a report on a visit to Prague made by two CAFED (Christian Academy for European Dialogue) representatives and the summer school that they were preparing. We return to the subject now because of the importance of the project and because of a more recent visit to Charles University by Dr. Hans Vanacker, the General Secretary of CAFED, and Jo Eelen, the executive director of the European Summer Course. The visitors were welcomed in the Carolinum on Wednesday the 9th of April, 1997 by CU Pro-rector Jaroslav Panek. CAFED is a Christian academy with a headquarters in Leuven, Belgium. Among its other activities, this year it plans to hold European meetings, in collaboration with the Catholic University in Leuven, within the framework of its own project "Self-Reliance - Democracy - Responsibility". This project has developed out of the ESC summer schools in European studies which CAFED has been organising in Prague and Leuven in recent years. The idea is to bring together students from several European countries, but mainly the states of Central and Eastern Europe. Last year the Prague cycle of the summer school took place in July and August at the 17th of November Student Hall of Residence. It was held under the aegis of the CU Rector Prof. Karel Maly, who together with the Dean of the CU Philosophical Faculty signed the ESC graduation certificates presented to participants at the end of the school. As was decided at the discussions on the 9th of April, this year the school will take place between 27th of July and the 8th of August, and the final celebratory session including presentation of the certificates signed by the Rector will be held on the 8th of August within Charles University precincts.
Every year the Czech Literary Fund Foundation, jointly with the Josef, Marie and Zdenka Hlavka Foundation, awards the Josef Hlavka Prize for an original work of academic or specialist literature published in book form in the Czech Republic. This year the deadline for the competition (for 1996) was the 10th of January 1997, and the jury (CU Rector Prof. Karel Maly was a vice-chairman of one of the sections) considered a total of forty-three books. The ceremonial announcement of the results took place on the afternoon of the 1st of April 1997 in the Patriotic Hall of the Carolinum. It was attended by representatives of the Czech Literary Fund, the Hlavka Foundation, the Czech Academy of Sciences and Charles University. The competition is traditionally divided into four categories: social sciences, medical sciences, and natural sciences (life sciences and science of inanimate nature). In the social sciences the winners were JUDr. Jaroslav Slavik, prom. hist., and doc. PhDr. Jiri Opelik, CSc., for their book Josef Capek, published last year by the TORST Press. The book brings alive the extraordinary artistic and literary talent of Josef Capek, his wide-ranging cultural outlook and personal courage. The winners of the Josef Hlavka Prize in the category of medical sciences were Prof. MUDr. Jaroslav Vanasek, CSc., Doc. MUDr. Jan Stary, DrSc., and MUDr. Petr Kavan, CSc. for the book The Transplantation of Bone Marrow, published by the Galen Press. In this book all four haematologists provide detailed information on this method of treatment and its results in practice, on the basis of their own experience. No prize was awarded in the life sciences sub-category of natural sciences, but in the subcategory of science of inanimate nature, the winners were RNDr. Pavel Drabej, DrSc., Prof. RNDr. Alois Kufner, DrSc. and Prof. Francesco Nicolosi, for their book Nonlinear Elliptic Equations, Singular and Degenerate Case, published by the University of West Bohemia in Plzen.
The International Service Association for Newspaper and Media Technology (IFRA) has existed for more than thirty years. It has over 1,200 member companies in news industry throughout the world. IFRA has only been collaborating with our Czech Union of Publishers for a relatively short time, but there have already been several joint specialized seminars. Each year the IFRA Board holds its annual meeting in a European city - in 1994 this was London, a year later Helsinki, and last year Vienna. This year the working meeting of sixty IFRA representatives took place over several days in Prague. In addition to the working sessions, an extensive social programme awaited all participants. On Friday, the 6th of June 1997, the CU Rector, Prof. Karel Maly, received the IFRA Board in the Carolinum reception rooms. He introduced the assembled press proprietors to the rich history and current form of Charles University. After expressing his appreciation for the reception, the President of the IFRA Board Michal Ringier (of the Swiss Ringier AG) presented the CU Rector with a cheque for 200,000.- CKR as the first installment of IFRA support for selected projects - among them university publishing activities, and student scholarships (the Mobility Fund). Above all, of course, IFRA is sharing in media support for the 650th anniversary of CU.The reception in the Carolinum - from right to left: the CU Rector Prof. Karel Maly, Mgr. Jana Klepetarova from the CU Rectorate's International Department, and M. Michal Ringier, Chairman of the IFRA Board.