Our grantees| Eva Strnadová| Mission: Peter the Great
15. October 2018 Eva Strnadová

Mission: Peter the Great

The major advantage of studying, working or simply spending some time abroad is becoming more aware of the situation in the Czech Republic. This article presents three organisations with an inspirational potential, that I have discovered during my travels.

Chatham House
I did an internship during in a non-governmental organisation focused on cultural diplomacy this summer. Chatham House was perceived as a top institution in this field by many of my col-leagues. The Royal Institute of International Affairs, often called Chatham House after the building it is based in, is a not-for-profit and non-governmental organisation with a tradition of 98 years. Chat-ham House proposes not only activities organised in London. You can equally subscribe to their news-letter to receive their latest articles or become a member. I recommend the subscription to Chatham House Observers scheme. You get an on-line access to regular webinars, comprehensive events output from Chatham House including links to the available coverage online and bi-monthly insights from the Director’s Office about their major research topics.

Gay’s the World
The annual Festival of Cultural held at University College London raised the topic of the LGBT community. I have participated in a talk about teenage literature on this theme in a bookshop in the vicinity of my university. Gay’s the World is the only specifically lesbian and gay bookshop in the United Kingdom. It is not only a safe place for anyone to read and get advice from the friendly staff. The range of after hours meeting such as the Lesbian Discussion Group taking place over 30 years, Gay Black Group and Gay Disabled Group illustrates the diversity of the community and their need of a place where they are able to meet and share their experiences.

Centre Pompidou
The Library of Centre George Pompidou offers various cultural activities. It is perfect for learning the French language because it marries active and passive langue learning. Apart from talks about job-seeking, culture and current debates in France, you gain access to newspapers, films and books. Furthermore, they offer language courses every Friday for non-native speakers animated by librarians. I have participated in a film screening followed by a discussion and a conversation class during which we discussed painting by Matisse located in the museum in the very same building. Equally, a writing workshop is organised every first Friday of the month. From my personal experi-ence, the librarians created a welcoming atmosphere inviting to share ideas with people from all over the world, assure that everyone speaks, explain new vocabulary and thematise the raised questions in the French context.

The observation does lead to comparison, however, the goal is not supposed to be to draw universal conclusions about the Czech Republic. You might realize that we are very lucky to have been born in our country. On the other hand, a critical observation can improve our country by im-plementing new elements from abroad. Times when you had to travel incognito to Western Europe as Peter the Great did are over now. Nevertheless, the critical observation and implementation of valua-ble ideas in the Czech area are a crucial asset of every traveller and active citizen.

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