On the 28th of October, 1998, the President of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Havel, bestowed high state decorations on eighty-eight people on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the establishment of an independent Czechoslovak state.Among the nearly ninety people to be awarded the highest state decorations in the Vladislav Hall of Prague Castle, there were several outstanding members of the academic community of Charles University and others whose life and work have been closely linked to it. The Order of the White Lion was bestowed on Prof. Jan Milic Lochman, former Rector of the University of Basel and Honorary Doctor of CU, and on Prof. Mikulas Lobkowicz, who left the country in 1948. The Order of Tomas Garrigue Masaryk was bestowed on Prof. Jakub S. Trojan, the Protestant minister (a former dean of the CU Protestant Theological Faculty) and also on two leading historians and CU docents, Jaroslav Opatov and Vilem Precan. Medals for Service were presented at the Prague Castle to the Swiss doctor Madeleine Cuendet, holder of a CU Commemorative Medal, the important philosopher and theologian Erazim Kohak, Professor at the CU Philosophical Faculty, Prof. Jindrich Necas, the outstanding mathematician and head of the Department of Mathematical Modeling at the CU Mathematics and Physics Faculty, the diabetologist Prof. Jiri Syllaba (in memoriam), Prof. Miroslav Verner, Director of the Czech Egyptological Institute (CU Phil. fac.) and Prof. Petr Vopenka, the leading Czech expert on mathematical logic, abstract mathematics and the philosophy of mathematics (CU Mathematics and Physics Fac.). A high state honour was also given to Prof. Rudolf Zahradnik, scientist, President of the Czech Academy of Sciences (also Professor at CU), and member of the Research Board of the CU Natural Sciences Faculty.
September 1998 saw the first birthday of the Centre for Czech Studies (Centre d'Etudes Tcheques, CET), which operates in the framework of the Free University of Brussels (Universite libre de Bruxelles, ULB). A whole year had passed since the CET, the only research, teaching, training and organizational centre of its kind in the Kingdom of Belgium, had commenced its activities. It concentrates on the broadly and comprehensively defined subject of the CR today and aspires to cover the whole geopolitical area of Central Europe in the near future. In 1998 its activities were very diverse. Czech language courses and lectures on Czech literature at the CET and the ULB Department of Slavonic Studies were attended by as many as 50 students and others with an interest in the field.
On the 18th of November, 1998, we had the opportunity to meet the unusually versatile personality of Doc. MUDr. Konstantin Trosev, CSc. during his reception by the Rector of Charles University. The distinguished Bulgarian doctor (Head of the Clinic for Plastic Surgery and Burns in Varna) was awarded a CU Jubilee 650th Anniversary Medal at the instigation of the CU 3rd Medical Faculty. Doc. K. Trosev first entered Charles University forty years ago, as a student of what was then the CU Faculty of General Medicine. He has devoted his career to plastic surgery and the treatment of burns, and is the author of more than 150 articles in domestic and foreign medical journals, as well as the author or co-author of four monographs that have been published abroad. In 1973 Doc. Trosev (in our photograph) founded a Bulgarian-Czech Friendship Society, and on the occasion of this year's CU jubilee, members of that society who studied at CU in Prague have established a Carolinum Club.
On the 8th of October, 1998, the third in the free lecture cycle "Conversations on Europe", jointly organized by Charles University and the Bohemiae Foundation, took place in the Great Hall of the Carolinum. The main lecturers were the former President of the Slovak Republic, Michal Kovac, and the former President of the Federal Council of Austria and Professor at the Johannes Keppler University in Linz, Prof. Dr. Herbert Schambeck. Among those presiding at the event were Professor Karel Maly, CU Rector, and Doc. Josef Zieleniec (from the Administrative Board of the Bohemiae Foundation).
The joint meeting of CU and the Bohemia Foundation was opened and led by P. Klener, CU Vice-Rector. In his opening address he said that Charles University had invited important figures to the Carolinum as an opportunity for them to reflect on the future development of a united Europe.
Michal Kovac (in our photograph) gave a lecture entitled, "Only a Consolidated Europe is a Contribution for Europe" The View from Slovakia".
The floor was then taken by Prof. H. Schambeck. His excellent lecture was focused on aspects of European integration - above all the economic aspects. Prof. Schambeck also emphasized the benefits of the EU for the further economic and political development of Central Europe.