Offering his abilities to others

Had dinner with the Countess and Earl of Wessex, the daughter-in-law and the son of the Queen of England. Lukáš Kotlár, a regular bloke from Brno.

Meeting the members of the British royal family is a big deal. Lukáš Kotlár (20) had the opportunity thanks to the International Duke of Edinburgh Award. He won the Gold Award and was invited over to London. “Earl Edward and Countess Sophie are very nice people,” Lukáš says. “They have a charismatic air about them. And Countess Sophie is really beautiful.” Lukáš was to deliver an address and he had serious stage fright. After that, however, he could talk about anything.

The International Duke of Edinburg Award (“DofE”) is an educational programme for young people aged 14 to 25. Lukáš took part while still a student of Open Gate where students are admitted based on very stringent tests. The tuition fees are high but a foundation can pay the full cost for talented students. Lukáš grew up in a children’s shelter. A girl from his children’s group who started studying at the school motivated him to apply with the prestigious school. “She had straight As like me,” Lukáš recalls.

In DofE, young people focus on four challenges: skills, physical, volunteering and expedition. Lukáš has mastered three musical instruments, plays sports, volunteers as the Editor in Chief in the Zámeček (Chateau) monthly intended for children’s shelters with no pay and set out for an expedition to Romania’s Banat region where a Czech minority has been living since the early 1800s. “We do something for ourselves and for others at the same time,” he describes his activities. “We do not compete. It is all about approaching our challenges responsibly.”

Lukáš started meeting his original family at age fifteen. “Family is immensely important for Romany people. I am grateful for having grown up in a shelter, though. When I came back, they accepted me immediately, even though they could not initially understand what my school was,” he smiles. “But now, they want me to be the president or at least an MP.” Lukáš studies political science and international relations at CEVRO Institute. “I want to work in the media,” he says. No one can predict the future. Maybe his family’s wish will be fulfilled one day.
Willing to use his abilities for others
Photo caption | Lukáš Kotlár has many plans for the future. They all involve the Czech Republic.
Photo caption | From left: Edward of Wessex, Lukáš Kotlár, his three colleagues from around the world, and Countess Sophie
Photo caption | DofE meeting of last year, with international participants. The practice expedition took place in Jizerské Mountains.
Photo caption | Photo credit: V. Kramer (1), archive (2)

Author | L. A. Kašparová

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