Weeklong Event to Celebrate 100 years of Czech Independence

Keston Center Czech Independence
Oct. 8, 2018

Baylor University’s Keston Center and Modern Languages and Cultures partners with McLennan Community College for Oct. 9-12 events, including keynote address by current Czech Republic Ambassador to the United States

Contact: Carlye Thornton, Baylor Libraries and ITS, 254-710-6675
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WACO, Texas (Oct. 8, 2018) – Oct. 28, 2018 marks the centennial of the birth of Czechoslovakia as an independent country. A series of events sponsored by Baylor University’s Keston Center for Religion, Politics, and Society in partnership with the department of modern languages and cultures in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences and McLennan Community College will be held 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.

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 Baylor’s department of theatre arts at 6 p.m. in Bennett Auditorium.

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 MCC.

The Ambassador has visited Central Texas and has become a celebrity in Czech communities across the state.

“Ambassador Kmoníček brings an expansive worldview to his comments about Czech history and the present state of affairs in the Czech Republic,” said Kathy Hillman, director of the Keston Center at Baylor. “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.”

His wife, Indira Gumarova, will join him for the visit.

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.

Michael Long, Ph.D., professor of Russian 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.


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.

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