Magazine created by students of the Department of English and American Studies at Masaryk University.

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Markéta Šonková

“Every day is a new experience”: Interview with the Honorary Consul of Australia Ms Jana Kvasnicová

in Current Issue/Interviews

By Kristína Šefčíková and Markéta Šonková

Photo kindly provided by Austrade, used with permission.

 

Interviewing Ms Kvasnicová was special in at least two ways: for the first time in the history of the magazine, we had the honour of talking to an honorary consul – one of only two such representatives of major English speaking countries based in the Czech Republic. Ms Kvasnicová is also a graduate of our very own Department of English and American Studies, which made the interview all the more special for both sides involved. The fruitful discussion delved into the history of Czech-Australian ties, current developments of said ties heading towards closer cooperation, the role of the European Union in these processes, but also football teams, career advice, and of course, fond memories of the consul’s times at the Department.

This year, we commemorate 100 years since the foundation of diplomatic relations between the former Czechoslovak Republic and the Commonwealth of Australia, as it was exactly 100 years ago when the first Czech diplomatic representation in Australia, the still present Consulate in Sydney, was opened. Yet, the ties go well beyond diplomacy, trade, and numerous bilateral agreements. For example, earlier this year, Prague Zoo raised 20 million CZK to help the Australian fauna after the bushfires that swept across the continent. So, there indeed seems to be quite a palpable sense of solidarity between our nations. How do you personally perceive the relationship between the two countries?

The relationship between the Czech Republic and Australia is very strong. There is keen interest from both governments to engage, and although we can’t travel to and from each other’s countries at the moment, government to government interaction is on-going. We both stand for free and open global markets and we greatly appreciate the support from the Czech Government.

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“What we are trying to do now is create another bilateral high point”: Interview with Her Majesty’s Ambassador Nick Archer MVO

in Current Issue/Interviews

By Markéta Šonková, Kristína Šefčíková, and Anna Formánková

Talking to an ambassador is always fascinating, as one can find out so much about the different cultures and many intersections between cultures. Talking to a British ambassador, whose professional CV runs across several countries and high offices, during a turbulent time in UK politics and a worldwide pandemic, makes the debate even more captivating. However, the discussion with Her Majesty’s Ambassador Nick Archer, who has resided in Prague since January 2018, examined not only Brexit or the past of the Czech-British ties, and the stepping stones the two countries can use to build their future ties, but also the many things we share in our everyday lives, the importance of nurturing these common values, seeing and working with the bigger picture, and inevitably also the Queen. Keep Reading

At the Centenary Crossroads: Interview with His Excellency Charles Sheehan

in Interviews

by Markéta Šonková and Anna Formánková

 

Markéta Šonková with H. E. Charles Sheehan. Photo by Lucie Tomaňová.

Ambassador Sheehan has been the Irish ambassador to the Czech Republic since 2015, but his time in the Czech Republic has slowly reached its end. The Cork-born lawyer has spent his career in the Irish Diplomatic Service, and his professional CV sports many illustrious posts. And yet, the ease and lightness with which he discusses a wide variety of topics ranging from sports, to literature, was simply heart-warming. 

Although Ireland is a small European nation, its culture is widely popular all around the world. Nevertheless, Ireland is much more than shamrocks, vast green fields, and St. Patrick’s celebrations. To that end, we talked to His Excellency about the Czech-Irish ties and their future, the Irish footprint in the world, and whether he has ever finished reading Joyce’s Ulysses, a feat many students of English and American studies strive to conquer themselves. Keep Reading

Contextualizing the Czech-American Relationship in the Light of NATO and Military Partnership: Creation, Evolution, and Cooperation

in Views

By Markéta Šonková

A shared appreciation of democratic ideals and human rights stood for one of the cornerstones of the foreign policies of the former Czechoslovakia and the U.S. as well as an ideological link between the two countries. At least this is what we learn when tracing the steps of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk and Woodrow Wilson that lead to the creation of the First Czechoslovak Republic. Those very ideals were brought back to the forefront after the Velvet Revolution when Václav Havel took the helm of the once again free Czechoslovak state. By the early 1990s, the geopolitical situation had, however, changed and it was necessary for the young post-Soviet state to become part of larger Western structures, such as NATO. Being part of NATO is still one of the cornerstones of Czech defense and foreign policy, even though under the first term of Miloš Zeman’s presidency, presidential diplomacy tried to move us more towards the East, and the U.S. under Donald Trump has turned more isolationist in its foreign policy approach. When re-examining the centenary of the Czech-American relationship, it is important to discuss the post-1989 era in which the Czech Republic, at least politically, entered in the West and forged an alliance that has changed its security outlook.

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