Newsletter June 2003

 

Prague: AUD's Door to Europe

 

Prague, the “Golden City”, is easily one of the most engaging cities in Europe. Through the centuries it has acquired an unrivalled richness of architectural treasures which now belong to UNESCO’s world cultural heritage. Its unique aesthetic blend of roman, gothic, renaissance, and baroque styles all reflect the successive phases of Czech history. Since the Velvet Revolution peacefully ended 60 years of oppression –by the Nazis from 1939 to 1945, then by the Communist Party from 1948 to 1989-, Prague has slowly healed political and cultural wounds. Today, this thriving city at the crossroads of Western and Eastern European culture harmoniously combines modernity and historical legacy.

 

Despite some criticism, the Czech Republic is often cited as a model of successful transition from an authoritarian regime to a stable and vigorous democratic system symbolized by former Head of State Vaclav Havel, main leader of the dissident movement in the communist era and internationally recognized as a symbol of the end of the Cold War. Today, the country is at the forefront of EU integration.

 

Therefore, at AUD, we are proud and enthusiastic about new opportunities for reinforcing the Euro-Atlantic link and facilitating the spread of democracy and freedom in Prague.

 

Our partnership with the Anglo American University in Prague has proved solid and worthwhile. As outlined in our last issue of UNITE!, we are organizing a conference on political party platform building for EU candidate countries in the Fall. The project is moving forward and already benefits from the administrative and financial support of the British Council and of the Prague Institute for Global Urban Development. We are also exploring the possibility of opening a European office for AUD in Prague, which would be located in the beautiful Maltese Square section of Mala Strana, across from the Embassy of France and alongside the Lennon Wall. This office would enable us to expand our existing programs to Europe, sponsor a unique Master’s degree program in World Federalism, and have students do research on democracy and international integration right on our premises. One of the most exciting developments is the opportunity to host the Vaclav Havel Library on Democracy, the Czech Republic’s most distinguished collection of samizdat and other dissident literature from the Communist era.

 

We look forward to AUD’s presence in Prague, which opens doors for more partnerships throughout Europe and better fulfillment of our mission of facilitating Transatlantic relations.