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Czech diplomacy awards people for promoting country’s good name

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Prague, June 19 (CTK) – Czech speed skater Martina Sablikova and the late conductor Jiri Belohlavek will be among the 15 personalities who will receive the Gratias Agit award for promoting the country’s good name from Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek on Friday.

Belohlavek, chief conductor of the Czech Philharmonic who died on May 31 at the age of 71 years, will be awarded in memoriam.

Other laureates are writers, journalists, translators and leading representatives of Czech expatriate organisations.

The Gratias Agit (which means “expressing thanks”) awards, symbolically shaped as a crystal globe, have been annually bestowed on people and organisations since 1997.

“The Gratias Agit award is presented to the expatriates and friends of the Czech Republic who are deepening the interest in our country abroad and help spread a good name of the Czech Republic in the world by their long-term activities beyond the framework of their professional duties,” the Czech Foreign Ministry said.

This year, the awards will go to honorary consul in Edinburgh Paul Millar, who pushed through the construction of a memorial to Czechoslovak paratroopers in Scotland, Doris Kumarova for her promotion of the Czech language and culture in India, Spanish poet, prose writer and translator Clara Janes Nadal, Czech-German writer Alena Wagnerova and Austrian journalist Jurgen Serke.

Czech diplomacy has also awarded historian Oliver Rathkolb, who has long cooperated with Czech institutions and was teaching at Prague’s Charles University, for his research in current Czech-Austrian relations, Polish priest and journalist Tomasz Dostatni, one of the first Polish priests who started permanently working in Czechoslovakia after the collapse of the communist regime in November 1989.

Other awarded personalities are physician Vera Yabeko Vitackova, honorary consul of the Czech Republic in Cameroon, Ludmila Mukhina, chairwoman of the Czech associations in Ukraine, Miriam Kama, head of the Association of Czechoslovaks Living in Israel branch in Haifa, and patron Georgina Steinsky-Sehnoutka working in Canada.

Scientist Jaroslav Kyncl, living in the United States who supported Czech artists there, and former Slovenian ambassador to the Czech Republic and art professor Damjan Prelovsek will also receive the awards.

In the past years, the Gratias agit awards went, for instance, to Czech gymnast and Olympic winner Vera Caslavska, artist and writer Petr Sis, Prague marathon organiser Carlo Capalbo, writers Josef Skvorecky and his wife Zdena Salivarova, who were running their publishing house for Czech authors in Toronto, Canada, legendary hockey forward Jaromir Jagr, Czech-American Oscar-winning film director Milos Forman and British playwright with Czech roots Tom Stoppard.

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