Celebrating 100 Years of Czech Independence

Sept. 20, 2018

Oct. 28, 2018 marks the centennial of the birth of Czechoslovakia, an independent parliamentary democracy forged through years of resistance against Austrian-Hapsburg rule. In commemoration of this milestone anniversary, the Keston Center for Religion, Politics, and Society and the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures will host a week-long series of events Oct. 9-12 to celebrate 100 years of Czech Independence.

  • Tuesday, Oct. 9, “The Czechoslovak Experience in Film,” screening of Oratorio for Prague (1968) and The Power of the Powerless (2009) at 6 p.m. in Bennett Auditorium on the Baylor campus. Dr. Michael Long will provide an introduction and facilitate discussion. Czech journalist Ivana Doležalová will partake in the discussion panel.

  • Wednesday, Oct. 10, “Remembering the 50th Anniversary of Prague Spring,” presentation of Audience: A Play by Václav Havel performed by Steven Pounders and Cooper Sivara of the Department of Theatre Arts at 6 p.m. in Bennett Auditorium. The play will be performed by students from the Theatre Arts department at Baylor. Ivana Doležalová will lead the discussion following the play.

  • Thursday, Oct. 11, “Celebrating 100 Years of Czech Independence,” reception and keynote lecture by Hynek Kmoníček, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Czech Republic to the United States, beginning at 3 p.m. in Armstrong Browning Library at Baylor.

  • Friday, Oct. 12, “The Magic and Tragic Eights: Generational Reflections on 100 Years of Czech History,” breakfast and lecture by Alice Luňáková at 8:30 a.m. in the Michaelis Academic Center (MAC) 111 at McLennan Community College.

In addition to these public events, a luncheon for special guests and sponsors with Ambassador Kmoníček will be held Thursday, Oct. 11, at 11:30 a.m. in Barfield Drawing Room on the second floor of the Bill Daniel Student Center on the Baylor campus. A limited number of spaces are available for sponsors at the following levels.

  • Ambassador’s Circle ($500 or more): Luncheon table (8 guests), table recognition, program listing, and preferred lecture seating
  • Consul’s Circle ($250-$499): 4 luncheon guests, table recognition, and program listing
  • Diplomat’s Circle ($100-$249): 2 luncheon guests and program listing

The Ambassador has visited Central Texas and has become a celebrity in Czech communities across the state. “Kmoníček brings an expansive world view to his comments about Czech history and the present state of affairs in the Czech Republic,” said Kathy Hillman, Director of the Keston Center for Religion, Politics, and Society. “He is truly an ambassador for the Czech Republic and not just from the Czech Republic. People who meet him love his engaging personality. His passion for his country and his heritage is infectious. He would be an ambassador even if he did not have the title.”

Kmoníček completed an undergraduate degree in music and education, a doctorate in education and additional degrees in English and Arabic. Since 1995 he has served as a foreign affairs officer. He was Ambassador to the United Nations from 2001-2006 and has been the ambassador to the United States since 2017.

Dr. Michael Long, Professor and Interim Chair of Modern Languages and Cultures, will provide an introduction and moderate discussion at the Tuesday film screening. Both movies focus on the events of Prague Spring in 1968, which was an attempt by Czechoslovakia to break from Soviet control and usher in social reforms.

Ivana Doležalová, who will take part in the discussion for “Remembering the 50th Anniversary of Prague Spring” and “The Czechoslovak Experience in Film,” is a prominent journalist, researcher and translator from the Czech Republic.

Alice Luňáková, from Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic, was an exchange student at McLennan Community College and has returned to Central Texas on several occasions to present lectures on Czech heritage and culture.

For more information, visit baylor.edu/kestoncenter/independence. To become an event sponsor, contact Kathy Hillman at Kathy_Hillman@baylor.edu or (254) 710-6684.