7. 4. 2017

Dear readers,

I hope you had a great summer. The fall of 2013 bears further fruitful Aspen events for us to look forward to together.

In June we were pleased to welcome to Prague Jean-Claude Trichet, the former European Central Bank Governor, who took part in a public debate entitled “Euro – the Past and the Future.”The event, which was organized jointly with Prague Twenty, also gave a platform to Marek Belka, President of the National Bank of Poland, as well as to Zdeněk Tůma, the former Governor of the Czech National Bank. A recording of the debate, chaired by Vladimír Dlouhý, Prague Twenty Chairman and Aspen Institute Prague Board of Directors member, is available for viewing on our YouTube channel.

We also partnered with the reSITE conference, which took place in Prague’s DOX Gallery. The theme was urban modernization, specifically the issues of innovative city governance and new strategies for city planning. The conference showed that an interdisciplinary blending of architectural, economic, and democratic considerations makes for a well-considered vision for revitalizing public space.

Indeed, to increase our involvement and build on the subject of shaping the urban future, we prepared a panel debate in September entitled “Transforming Cities: Towards Smart Forms of Governance,” which was hosted as part of the Forum 2000 Conference. Over two hundred people attended at Žofín palace, drawn by the topic itself, but most importantly by our fascinating guests. Eva Jiřičná, the architect, Pablo Otaola, the urban planner, Jiří Devát, the CEO of Cisco Czech Republic, Tomáš Hudeček, the Mayor of Prague, and the panel chair, Roger Scruton all agreed that if a modern city wants to succeed in the world, it has to offer not only an attractive business and infrastructure, but must also provide for a culturally rich and family friendly lifestyle. Successful cities, such as the exemplified Spanish city of Bilbao, have to be places where tradition blends in with modern architecture, and nature with man-made design, to be engaging for citizens and visitors alike. A recurring theme of the debate was that as Europeans we are largely an urbanized society, and the quest for the betterment of public space is the natural and shared responsibility of us all.

In the last few weeks, our greatest efforts have been focused on preparing our Annual Conference “Overcoming Barriers to Growth,” which will take place on October 9 and 10 on premises of Czech National Bank. This annual conference will be an opportunity to remind ourselves of the 20th anniversary of an independent Czech Republic, and a chance to look back at the two decades of growth and transformation, which the entire Central European region has undergone. On the second day, the conference will focus on the further economic development opportunities for Central Europe and the euro-atlantic zone, in the context of the upcoming Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the European Union and the United States of America.

Speakers will include noteworthy guests from abroad, such as Karel De Gucht, European Commissioner for Trade, Kojiro Shiojiri, Japanese Ambassador to the EU, or Matt Blunt, President of the American Automotive Policy Council and former Governor of Missouri. Notable Czech guests include the composer Michal Horáček, entrepreneurs Michaela Bakala, Gabriel Eichler and Zbyněk Frolík or the politician and political scientist Petr Pithart. As part of our annual

get-together we will also share with you the findings of our poll of several dozen successful and recognized Czechs, who shared with us their views on the obstacles to, and motive forces behind, the individual and collective successes of the Czech Republic. In so doing, we will combine our stocktaking over two decades of an independent Czech Republic with a debate over its future direction, and its prospects as part of the euro-atlantic community. I am sure this year’s conference will bring a fresh impetus, and contribute to the debate on how to move forward the best and overcome the pitfalls the Czech Republic may have to face in today’s world. I will be delighted to have you join us.

I wish you inspiring reading, and I look forward to seeing you at our Annual Conference.

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