Most scholars of the Central European region now readily recognize the acronym SVU which in Czech and Slovak languages stands for Společnost pro vědy a umění, a Society of Arts and Sciences. Since its inception in 1958, the SVU has grown into a respected international organization with local chapters in major cities around the world. Although the Society until recently functioned almost exclusively in the West, ever since the peaceful 1989 Velvet revolution, it has expanded its activities to Czechoslovakia and its succession states, the Czech and the Slovak Republics.
The SVU is a nonprofit, nonpolitical, cultural organization, dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge, the free dissemination of ideas, and the fostering of contacts among people. It brings together scholars, scientists, artists, writers, students, lawyers, businessmen, and others throughout the world who have a professional, family or other interest in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, their history, peoples, or their cultural and intellectual contributions.