Zdeněk Lyčka’s interview for The Polar Connection is available here.
EU-PolarNet (www.eu-polarnet.eu) has just published the “Directory of European Polar Research funding programmes” which is available here.
Download the booklet “Czechs and Alaska” here.
Have a look at a retrospective brochure of the Arctic Festivals 2018, 2019 and 2020-21 HERE.
A Czech Film Day will take place at the cultural centre Katuaq in Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, on 19 October 2021. The main guest will be Viktor Zavadil, lead actor in the Czech film Jan Palach (2020). The article in the weekly Sermitsiaq. The article in the weekly Nuuk Ugeavis. The article in the Polish web site of the magazine Zew Pólnocy.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020–21 Arctic Festival was launched on 6 December 2020 at the Ústí nad Labem City Museum without the participation of foreign partners. The second part of the programme – with the participation of foreign guests – will take place from 6 September to 31 December 2021. The complete programme for the public is here:
The Museum of the City of Ústí nad Labem reopened on Tuesday 11 May. There you can see three exhibitions of the Arctic Festival, which were opened on 6 December 2020: “Igimarasussuk, who ate his wives / Inuit legends through the eyes of Aaron Kangermio” (Clubroom), “Sámi fairy tales and legends / Illustrations by Luboš Drtina” and “Canada’s Arctic – Vibrant and Thriving” (corridor). You can still watch the film loop on a monitor by the Czech-American Stanislav Chládek entitled “Southern Bering Sea Animals” (Clubroom). Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 9.00-18.00. Exhibitions and the film loop will be on view until 27 June 2021.
On May 11, 2021, two-hours online seminar “Czechs and Alaska” is to be hosted by the Consulate General of the Czech Republic in Los Angeles, which is also in charge of the State of Alaska. Join our webinar here.
The working language of the webinar is English.
Registration is required. To receive the link to join, please register here.
Tuesday, May 11, 2021
08:00 AM AST (Fairbanks, Anchorage)
09:00 AM PST (Los Angeles)
12:00 AM EST (Washington D.C., New York)
18:00 PM CET (Prague)
Program: time is EST
Los Angeles –3 hours
Anchorage -4 hours
Prague +6 hours
Mr. Josef Smyček 12:00–12:05
– Deputy Head of Mission, Consulate General of the Czech Republic in Los Angeles
Introductory remarks, introduction of guests
H. E. Hynek Kmoníček 12:05–12:15
– Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the United States of America
Czech Republic´s application for Observer Status in the Arctic Council
Amb. Jaroslav Olša, Jr. 12:15–12:30
– historian and writer, Consul General of the Czech Republic in Los Angeles (in charge of Alaska)
History of Czech presence on and knowledge of Alaska since the late 18th century until 1989
Mr. Josef Smyček 12:30–12:40
Introducing 2016 film “Czech Škoda renames Kodiaq from Kodiak” (4 minutes)
Amb. Zdeněk Lyčka 12:40-12:55
– polar explorer, writer and translator, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic
Connections between Greenland, Alaska and the Czech/Moravian Brethren, and Czechs and Alaska today
Dr. Barbora Halašková 13:00-13:15
- Director of the ARCTOS Research Centre at Masaryk University in Brno, Department of International Relations and European Studies, and Vice-Chair of the IASC Social & Human Working Group
Polar research cooperation: A view from Central Europe
A two-minutes’ Powerpoint presentation on Josef Svoboda (without words), as an excerpt from the film “Prof. Josef Svoboda – a free man”.
Prof. Josef Elster 13:15-13:30
- Czech polar ecologist, founder of the Centre for Polar Ecology at the Faculty of Science of the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice and co-founder of the Czech Arctic Research Infrastructure “Josef Svoboda Station” in Svalbard
Czech Arctic Research and North America
Mr. Francis J. Nosek 13:30-13:35
– lawyer, Honorary Consul of the Czech Republic in Anchorage
Presenting activities and history of Czech Alaska Society
Q + A 13:35-13:50
Amb. Zdeněk Lyčka + Amb. Jaroslav Olša, Jr. 13:50-13:55
Mr. Josef Smyček 14:00
ABOUT THE WEBINAR:
It might appear that the inhabitants of the Czech Republic – a not particularly populous Central European country lacking an ocean –would have little interest in events happening in the far corners of the globe, to say nothing of the Arctic Circle.
But it turns out that the reverse is true, with accounts attesting to significant Czech activities in Alaska, spanning exploration, discovery, scientific research and sports.The two-hour-long program of the webinar will be opened with an introductory speech by H. E. Hynek Kmoníček, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the United States of America, explaining the Czech Republic´s application for Observer Status in the Arctic Council.
The historical and scientific part of the webinar will start with Amb. Jaroslav Olša, Jr., historian and writer and Consul General of the Czech Republic in Los Angeles, and Amb. Zdeněk Lyčka, polar explorer, writer and translator from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, introducing their forthcoming exhibition and a book “Czechs and Alaska. From the Heart of Europe to the Northern Edge of America”. Prepared on the occasion of the 230th anniversary since the botanist Thaddäus Haenke became the first person from the historical Czech Lands who set foot on Alaskan soil in Yakutat Bay. Both panelists will present the activities of Czechs in the US state of Alaska and its Aleutian Islands, as well as the connections and observations of the inhabitants of the country in the heart of Europe with respect to this farthest part of the United States.
Between both presentations by Amb. Olša, Jr., and Amb. Lyčka, a short 2016 film “Czech Škoda renames Kodiaq from Kodiak” will be screened.
Dr. Barbora Halašková, Director of the ARCTOS Research Centre at Masaryk University in Brno and Vice-Chair of the IASC Social & Human Working Group, will speak about her arctic research work for the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs, about her co-authored, newly published book on the Arctic states, about her role in IASC, etc.
Prof. Josef Elster, Czech polar ecologist, founder of the Centre for Polar Ecology at the Faculty of Science of the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice and co-founder of the Czech Arctic Research Infrastructure “Josef Svoboda Station” in Svalbard, will speak about Czech-Canadian Arctic ecologist and tundra botanist Josef Svoboda, Professor Emeritus of the University of Toronto and Officer of the Order of Canada. He will also mention Czech scientists’ cooperation with Prof. Svoboda, having in mind that the Czech Arctic Research Infrastructure in Svalbard is named in his honor. Prof. Elster will conclude his speech introducing the scientific work done by Dr. Michael Svoboda – Prof. Svoboda’s son – in the High Arctic.
This program is organized by the Consulate General of the Czech Republic in Los Angeles with support of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in D.C., and the Czech Center New York.
Consulate General of the Czech Republic
10990 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1100
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Tel.: (310) 473-0889
Fax: (310) 473-9813
On 13 April 2021, as part of Candidacy of the Czech Republic for Observer Status in the Arctic Council, an online scientific and cultural seminar, Czechia in the Arctic / The Arctic in Czechia – Echoes of Arctic Festivals 2018-21, was hosted by the Consulate General of the Czech Republic in St. Petersburg. The working language of the webinar was English.
The event took place in connection with the exhibition of the same name at the prestigious Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI) in St. Petersburg, which was ceremoniously opened on 7 April 2021 by Mr. Jan Čížek, Consul General of the Czech Republic in St. Petersburg, and Professor Alexander Sergeyevich Makarov, Director of AARI. The Consuls General of Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Estonia and Turkey took place in the opening. “Czechia in the Arctic / The Arctic in Czechia” is a traveling panel exhibition of Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem, Julius von Payer Institute for Arctic and Subarctic Research, the Norwegian Polar Institute in Tromsø, the Centre for Polar Ecology at the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice, the University Centre in Svalbard, the Scandinavian Studies Department of the Germanic Studies Institute at Charles University in Prague and the Fund for Bilateral Relations within the EEA and Norway Funds 2014–2021. The exhibition presents the achievements of Nordic and Czech scientists in Arctic research, joint Czech-Arctic research, educational and cultural projects and activities in the Czech Republic and the Arctic, introduces Nordic languages’ teaching and lectures on Arctic indigenous peoples at Charles University, the role of “Norway funds”, etc.
Consul General Jan Čížek inaugurated the exhibition Czechia in the Arctic / The Arctic in Czechia on 7 April 2021 at AARI.
The almost three-hour-long programme of the webinar was opened with a short introductory speech by Consul General Jan Čížek, followed by a greeting from Mr. Aleš Chmelař, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic. Mr. Chmelař started his speech with a few sentences in Russian. Then he emphasized the importance that the Czech Republic attaches to the Arctic and justified the Czech application for Observer Status in the Arctic Council. He pointed out the existence of two Czech scientific polar stations and the readiness of Czech scientists to cooperate within the working groups of the Arctic Council AMAP (Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program), CAFF (Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna) and Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG). He mentioned, among other things, the third issue of the traditional Arctic Festival in the Czech Republic, which introduces both professional and non-professional audiences to science, history, culture and traditions of the Arctic.
Opening of the webinar
Greetings by Mr. Aleš Chmelař, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic
The webinar participants were then welcomed and greeted by Mr. Vítězslav Pivoňka, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the Russian Federation, and Professor Alexander Sergeyevich Makarov, Director of AARI.
The scientific part of the webinar was opened by polar explorer and translator Zdeněk Lyčka from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic introducing Josef Svoboda, Professor Emeritus of the University of Toronto, a prominent Czech-Canadian Arctic plant ecologist who was a political prisoner in the former Czechoslovakia in 1949–1958 and received the Order of Canada in 2019. The Czech Arctic Scientific Infrastructure in Svalbard took its name in Josef Svoboda’s honour.
The presentation about Josef Svoboda was followed by a video clip by the Czech Television scientific editor Daniel Stach, who visited Longyearbyen in Svalbard on the occasion of the grand opening of Julius Payer House, part of the Czech Arctic Scientific Infrastructure, in 2014. The TV editor emphasized the consistent international – not national – approach of Czech researchers to solving research projects in the Arctic.
Czech Television editors and moderators Daniel Stach and Vladimír Piskala
Mr. Vladimír Piskala, scientific editor of the Czech Television, moderated the presentations of three Czech and three foreign Arctic scientists, followed by a discussion. Dr. Marie Šabacká, Head of the Centre for Polar Ecology at the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice, presented the international cooperation of Czech scientists in the Arctic, the main directions of Czech Arctic research, polar ecology courses and follow-up scientific conferences. Professor Josef Elster, founder of the Centre for Polar Ecology at the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice, in his presentation “Contribution of Czech Science to the Sustainable Arctic” informed about Czech scientific research at the Krkonoše National Park and at the Swedish Polar Station in Abisko, about the Czech Arctic Scientific Infrastructure in Svalbard and the Arctic Science Summit Week in 2017 in Prague. Dr. Richard Pokorný, Head of Julius Payer Institute for Arctic and Subarctic Research (JPI) at the Faculty of Environment of Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem, focused on evaluating almost two years of JPI’s activities, research projects and published materials, including the latest book “Mineral Resources in Iceland: Coal Mining”.
After the presentations of the Czech scientists, their colleagues and collaborators from Norway, Russia and the United Kingdom were given the opportunity to deliver their presentations. Professor Kim Holmén, International Director of the Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI) in Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway, focused on the history and activities of the NPI, the position of the Czech Research Station in Svalbard, the heating of permafrost and the Atlantic Ocean, and on the global impact of Arctic climate change. Professor Olga Shaduyko (Morozova), Head of the Excellence Support Unit at the Tomsk State University (Russia), focused on explaining the origin and functioning of the Siberian Environmental Change Network in her presentation entitled “SecNet”. The network has 15 members, 19 research stations and more than 300 field sampling and monitoring sites. The Indigenous people of the North are also included in the research. Professor Terry Callaghan, CMG, founder of the INTERACT research stations network, University of Sheffield (UK) and the Tomsk State University (Russia), first highlighted half a century of collaboration with Czech scientists (specifically with Josef Svoboda in the Canadian Arctic) and then focused on describing the establishment, functioning and extention of international research stations network called INTERACT, which this year already includes 89 working sites around the world.
Scientific part of the webinar (from left to right, from top to bottom): Consul General Jan Čížek, Dr. Richard Pokorný (Julius Payer Institute – Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem), Dr. Marie Šabacká (Centre for Polar Ecology – University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice), Zdeněk Lyčka (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic), Professor Josef Elster (Centre for Polar Ecology – University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice), Dr. Olga Shaduyko / Morozova / (Tomsk State University, Russia), Vladimír Piskala (Czech Television), Professor Kim Holmén (Norwegian Polar Institute in Longyearbyen, Norway)
After finishing the scientific guests’ discussion with TV editor Vladimír Piskala, the seminar programme continued with culture. Zdeněk Lyčka explained the idea of cultural and scientific Arctic Festivals, which connect polar scientists from different countries and enable the Czech and international public to be familiar with the work of Czech and Nordic scientists in the Arctic and with the culture of the Arctic’s indigenous people. He described the current issues of the Arctic Festivals: At Home in Svalbard 2018 in Longyearbyen and Pyramiden in Svalbard, the Arctic Festival 2019 in Prague, České Budějovice, Teplice and Pilsen and the Arctic Festival 2020–21 in Ústí nad Labem, Teplice, Prague, Dačice, České Budějovice and Hradec Králové. Mr. Miroslav Wanek, frontman of the music group Už jsme doma (UJD), which co-launched the Arctic Festival in Svalbard three years ago and continues this tradition to this day, performed as a guest in the cultural block. At the end of this part of the seminar, a video clip by UJD entitled “The Journey”, shot in 2018 in Longearbyen, was screened.
Concert by Už jsme doma at Huset Cultural Centre in Longyearbyen on 8 September 2018
Zdeněk Lyčka then invited the participants of the webinar to an online tour of two exhibitions from the programme of the Arctic Festival 2020–21:
The exhibition “Czechia in the Arctic / The Arctic in Czechia” is described in detail above. From 7 to 16 April 2021, it could be seen at AARI and its other “physical” installations will take place in the autumn and winter in Prague, Ústí nad Labem and Dačice. The webinar participants had the opportunity to take a virtual tour of the exhibition on the website of the Consulate General in St. Petersburg in two hours which followed the webinar’s end.
“The North Pole Expedition” is an exhibition of book illustrations and copies of paintings by Julius Payer (1841–1915), the greatest Arctic explorer from the Czech lands and the most famous painter of the polar landscapes. The exhibition is based on a travelogue by Julius Payer published in 1876 in Vienna entitled “The Austro-Hungarian Expedition to the North Pole in 1872–74”. To emphasize Payer’s artistic genius, the exhibition introductory panel includes a reproduction of one of the four canvases of the so-called Franklin Polar Cycle. The painting entitled “Starvation Cove” depicts the tragic end of Sir John Franklin’s polar expedition in 1845. The webinar participants had the opportunity to take a virtual tour of the exhibition on the website of the Consulate General in St. Petersburg in two hours which followed the webinar’s end.
A traveling exhibition of illustrations and paintings by Julius Payer, currently only online
Within the Questions and Answers part of the programme, positive responses by the participants were heard. They highlighted the quality and reliability of Czech researchers. There were proposals for expanding international cooperation and study exchanges.
Mrs. Jana Lolić Šindelková, Director of the Western Europe Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, delivered the closing speech, thanking the organizers of the webinar for its preparation and implementation and the participants for interesting contributions. She praised the international cooperation of Czech scientists in the Arctic and the potential for its further continuation.
The video recording of the webinar is here.
The Norway Grants and the Ministry of Finance accepted further adjustment of the AF 2020 programme due to the spread of COVID-19. The duration of the festival has been extended until the end of this year and our foreign partners will arrive in Prague in September 2021. Consequently, the festival’s name has been changed to Arctic Festival 2020-21. The detailed updated AF programme is already available on our website.
Zdeněk Lyčka, coordinator