Prague, July 10 (CTK) – The Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences (SVU), founded in the USA 60 years ago, awarded Czech illustrator and writer Petr Sis, violinist Vaclav Hudecek and Slovak-born director and producer Fero Fenic for promoting the good name of Czech culture and science in Prague on Tuesday.
The awards were presented in the seat of the Senate, the upper house of Czech parliament, at the opening of the three-day 29th SVU world congress.
Other awarded personalities are publisher Petr Bisek, translator Veronique Firkusna, puppeteer Vit Horejs, painter Louis Reith and philologist Joseph Rostinsky.
Some of them attended the award-giving ceremony, while Firkusna, Hudecek, Rostinsky and Sis apologised for health or work reasons.
Moreover, the SVU additionally presented its prize to film director Ivan Passer, who was awarded last year, on the day of his 85th birthday.
Along with the decorations presented by the Prague branch of the SVU, its U.S. headquarters also awarded some personalities.
Its awards for the contribution to Czech-American relations went to Eliska Haskova Coolidge, who worked as an assistant to five U.S. presidents in the White House, scriptwriter and director Pavlina Moskalykova and Milada Polisenska, a long-term deputy rector of the Anglo-American University in Prague.
Alena Moravkova, from the SVU Prague branch, pointed out that the SVU was established in the USA in 1958 thanks to the initiative of Czech and Slovak immigrants with the aim to keep the continuity of Czech culture and science.
It was founded by Czech patriot Jaroslav Nemec, a lawyer, musicians and miliary prosecutor of the Czechoslovak army. The SVU founders were also other personalities of the Czechoslovak exile after the Communist takeover in 1948, such as conductor and composer Rafael Kubelik and pianist Rudolf Firkusny whose daughter was awarded on Tuesday.
The society has always worked as a Czechoslovakia and has never been divided into the Czech and Slovak parts, she said.
Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993.
Senator Tomas Grulich (Civic Democrats, ODS), chairman of the Senate commission for Czechs living abroad, reminded that the Communist secret police (StB) listed the SVU, along with the Radio Free Europe, among the organisations dangerous to the regime. In his speech, Grulich thanked the SVU for continuing its work even after the fall of the Communist regime in 1989.
The programme of the SVU congress offers lectures and seminars as well as music and theatre performances, screenings of documentary films and social events.
The main theme of the congress attended by 150 delegates from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, the USA, France, Switzerland, Germany, Britain and Japan, is the 100th anniversary of Czechoslovakia’s birth and 100 years of Czech-American relations.