The Velvet Revolution and the Czech Struggle for Democracy with Jiri Styblo

The Velvet Revolution and the Czech Struggle for Democracy with Jiri Styblo


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Former Czechoslovakia is where the world-famous Velvet Revolution took place in 1989. The nation was calling for change and this was both successfully and peacefully achieved under the leadership of Vaclav Havel. But how did the transition of power happen in such a peaceful manner? When the hype had passed, what consequences were left? Join a local expert and grandson of a Czechoslovakian politician to better understand the central European mentality and truths of the last thirty years of political history.

In this seminar, we are going to set off by breaking down the events of the collapse of Communism in order to better understand the 1990s; or the ‘wild era’, as it is called today. We will analyze a number of aspects of this time period, from voucher privatization to the opening day of McDonald’s, to certain illustrative figures and the break down of general spirit. After setting the stage, we’ll move on to a discussion of the current President, who back in 1998-2002 was the Prime Minister of the Czech government. We’ll discuss just how he got the Social Democratic party from 8% to 30% within two years. Our seminar will also cover today's Prime Minister, who established a conglomerate of more than 400 companies in the ‘90s.

There will be a few relevant points of discussion in our seminar we move towards the Millenium. Is it possible to win the election over-promising people a 1-dollar spare? In desperate times, can one use the National secret service to spy on the wife of the Prime Minister? What does it mean to say "I will run this country as I run my corporation"? Why was the popularity of the Japanese-led Nationalist movement on the rise? Furthermore, we will talk about how the Communist Party evolved over the past decade, what challenges are brought into politics today, and what styles of leadership are preferred by whom.

When the context of such a topic can be addressed, the relevance of this theme can be applied to other democracies around the world of today. Led by an experienced lecturer and a grandson of a Czechoslovakian politician, this interactive seminar will take you on the route of exploring the Czech Republic of Jiri's lifetime. The last thirty years is a big defining point of who the Czechs are and what they face today. Participants will deepen their understanding of the central European mentality and realities of this era.

A native of Prague, Jiri graduated in Media Communications, which developed his deep interest for social and political topics. He views knowing and understanding history as a tool to know and to understand the present. When talking about the stories and situations from the past, his goal is to dig deeper and to illustrate the role of politics, interests that were being protected and tools that had been chosen. He especially enjoys researching what used to be found in the streets that we are now walking, what stories they hold and what legacy we are able to find there. Jiri is also interested in current realities of Europe and is conducting ongoing studies on the development of the Czech Republic after 1989.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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