Social Meetings of the Czechoslovak Foreign Institute in the Strahov Monastery

In cooperation with Czech & Slovak Leaders

In 2019, several events organized by the Czechoslovak Foreign Institute were connected with the Strahov Monastery in Prague. At the end of September, members and friends of the Czechoslovak Foreign Institute were given the opportunity to learn more about the order of premonstratensions and the history of one of Prague’s most valuable cultural monuments.

Daniel Peter Janáček, elected at the end of June 2018 the seventy-first abbot of the Strahov Monastery, accepted the invitation to a friendly discussion. As his personal motto, he chose the tenth verse of the eighth chapter of the Old Testament book Nehemiash, which reads “Gaudium Domini fortitudo nostra” meaning “the joy of the Lord will be your auspices”. At the beginning of the discussion, he explained why. We’re all looking for the essential thing in life, a kind of the centre, something above us. Christianity, Judaism seeks the liberation of man.

In November, the summer refectory of the Strahov Monastery became the venue for a meeting of several hundred members and friends of the Czechoslovak Foreign Institute to celebrate the 80th birthday of the chairman of the Institute, Jaromír Šlápota. His past and current collaborators, political, economic and cultural-life personalities and representatives of the embassies came.

On behalf of the Managing Board and all the members of the Czechoslovak Foreign Institute, vice-chairman PhDr. Libuše Benešová thanked him for saving the Institute and caring for it after 1989, and she handed him a bouquet of 80 red roses with 27 bows in tricolour colours. The number of roses corresponded to eighty years of life and the number of bows to 27 years during which J. Šlápota is at the head of the Institute, to which during that time he was able to return seriousness and original significance.

Foreign guests also thanked the chairman of the Czechoslovak Foreign Institute. The mayor of the Komenský School Association in Vienna presented him with an award from the Komenský School Association – a diploma “for years of friendship and for working for Czech, compatriot’s foreign countries”. Jaromír Vrabec, the headmaster of the Czech school in Croatia, thanked J. Šlápota for supporting compatriots in Croatia. “In the second half of the 1990s, when the country was recovering from a protracted war, Jaromír Šlápota and the Czechoslovak Foreign Institute appeared and offered cooperation. If it wasn’t for this, the Czech minority in Croatia would not be so active and so consolidated today,” he said literally. The pleasant atmosphere of the meeting was enhanced by the virtuoso musical performance of the Czechoslovak Foreign Institute member Felix Slováček.

Jaromír Šlápota stressed in his speech that if the compatriots themselves did nothing, the Czechoslovak Foreign Institute could not help them. He then thanked those members of the Czechoslovak Foreign Institute and the sponsors, thanks to which the Institute was able to carry out its projects for compatriots, whether the construction of a school playground or the equipment of computer classes and libraries, and he thanked also the representatives of the embassies who helped in doing so.