The 6-Minute Challenge VII: Czech and Slovak Show & Tell

6-Minute Challenge Nov 29 2017

PROGRAM NOTES – 6-Minute Challenge VII

EVENT PHOTOS – to come

Wednesday, November 29, 2017 at 7:00pm
Bohemian National Hall
321 E 73 St, New York City

Czech and Slovak artists, professionals, students and scholars at universities and institutions in the USA were challenged to present the subject of their project, their studies or research in a short presentation limited to six minutes. In English.

Moderated by Christopher Harwood, PhD, Columbia University

Presenters: Barbora Bartunková (PhD candidate – Modern and Contemporary Art, Photography and Film, Yale University), Jan Fried (U+ accelerator), Martina Hornaková (KITnDO platform), Vladka Jakubiková (Emmemm Publishing, LLC, children’s books), Gabriela Miková Johnson (opera Bellissime project), Ivica Labuda, PhD (biotechnology, Georgetown U.& Biokeys, LLC), Martin Mucha (Igluu start-up), Petra Príborská (film project Anna) and Petra Valentová (PhD candidate, textile design VŠUP, Prague)


In Cooperation with the Slovak Consulate General in New York.
With the support of the Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association (BBLA).

Czech Landscape Architecture- Reflections

Friday, November 3, 2017, at 7 pm
Bohemian National Hall
321 E 73 Str, 3rd Floor, New York City

An illustrated talk on the past and present of Czech landscape architecture, gardens, parks, public spaces, and greenways.

Stephan Yarabek , Hudson & Pacific Designs in Saugerties, NY, and
Zuzana Ambrožová, PhD, Department of Landscape Architecture at Mendel University Horticulture School in Brno, and a 2017 Fulbright Research Scholar at the University of California at Berkeley

In cooperation with Friends of Czech Greenways in New York.

The speakers will also pay tribute to the late Lubomir and Tiree Chmelar, who, after the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia in 1989, co-founded the Prague Vienna Greenways program and the Friends of Czech Greenways organization. They actively promoted cultural and environmental preservation and landscape architecture education in the country. Thanks to their effort, the Lednice-Valtice Chateaux and Parks have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.

Open to the Public. Free. Suggested donation: $5.00
Wine reception
More information
Stephan Yarabek is a landscape architect at Hudson & Pacific Landscape Designs in Saugerties, NY. He is an active member in several Hudson River Valley preservation initiatives, including the Hudson River Valley Greenway and Hudson River National Heritage Area. Stephan had helped design and develop the Prague-Vienna Greenway project in Czechoslovakia since its conception in 1990. Before that, Stephen lectured at the Charles University and several architectural schools under the auspices of SURPMO in the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, right at the onset of the Velvet Revolution in November 1989. His lectures focused on environmental planning and the Greenway Movement in the United States. Stephan also contributed to the creation of a Svatý Jan Nepomuk Trail surrounding the town of Tel? (UNESCO World Heritage site). The trail concept restored the traditional Czech hedgerows which served to filter runoff to the famous 12th-century carp lakes. He also created the initial restoration plan for the town square at Valtice Chateau. Czech and Slovak by origin, Stephan Yarabek, has been a board member of Friends of Czech Greenways organization since 2000. After the premature passing of its founder and director Lubomir Chmelar in June 2016, Stephan was elected FCG’s new president.

Zuzana Ambrožová, a landscape architect, and educator, holds her MA and Ph.D. degrees in Landscape Architecture from Mendel University Horticulture School in Brno in the Czech Republic. She teaches at the Department of Landscape Architecture there and is the author of several professional publications mainly focusing on issues of public spaces and the history of landscape architecture. She published a monograph Main Squares of Small Towns, and the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic has certified her method for evaluating main squares of small towns. Her academic studies took her to Austria, Poland, Germany, Finland, Italy, Thailand, USA, and China. Since 2014 she has been studying American landscape architecture and the way it is taught at universities. She regularly presents at conferences of the European Council of Landscape Architecture Schools (ECLAS). Thanks to her efforts, the ECLAS conference in 2021 will take place at Mendel University Horticultural School in Lednice. Dr. Ambrožová also gives lectures at the University of the Third Age, appears on radio and television programs, and publishes articles for non-academic audiences to promote the landscape architecture discipline. She is a 2017 Fulbright Visiting Scholar at University of California at Berkeley researching methods of landscape architecture teaching at US universities.

Friends of Czech Greenways (FCG) is a New York-based nonprofit organization since 1994 promoting cultural and environmental preservation through cultural, sustainable tourism along the Czech greenways. It was founded by Czech-American Lubomir Chmelar and his English wife, Tiree. FCG had initiated and supported the Lu&Tiree Herb Garden in Valtice, in Southern Moravia. FCG sponsors programs, such as the Hickory Foundation Student Grant Program for students of landscape architecture at Mendel University Horticulture School. Dr. Ambrozova it is its 2008 alumna. Another program, Painting with the Bauer Brothers, introduces local children to their heritage and botanic art. Franz and Ferdinand Bauer, natives of Valtice in the 18th Century, created Codex Liechtenstein, a fourteen-volume collection of over 3,000 botanic drawings of superb quality.

A 1 Architects – Naturally

Thu, October 19, 2017 at 7pm
Bohemian National Hall, 3rd floor
321 E 73 St, Manhattan

The architects Lenka Kremenová and David Maštálka, partners of the Prague-based A1 Architects studio, will present their theory of architecture, examples of their work, and introduce their upcoming book Encyclopedia of Home. Their designs bring a tactile sensibility and Japanese-style approach to space and structure in contemporary Czech architecture.

Both studied with Professor Jindrich Smetana (A1 studio) at the VšUP Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague. Since their graduation in 2009, they developed their own approach to design. Inspired by the magic of seemingly insignificant details around us shaping the uniqueness of our life, they follow the motto: The secret of architecture is in its naturalness.


Suggested donation: $5

Lenka a David


A Talk and Book Presentation

Gender Equality in Law: Uncovering the Legacies of Czech State Socialism
A Talk and Book Presentation by Barbara Havelkova, PhD
Wednesday, September 13, 2017 at 7pm
Bohemian National Hall
321 E 73 Str, 3rd Floor
New York City

Gender equality law in Czechia, as in other parts of post-socialist Central and Eastern Europe, is facing serious challenges. When obliged to adopt, interpret and apply anti-discrimination law as a condition of membership of the EU, Czech legislators and judges have repeatedly expressed hostility and demonstrated a fundamental lack of understanding of key ideas underpinning it. This important new study explores this skepticism to gender equality law, examining it with reference to legal and socio-legal developments that started in the state-socialist past and that remain relevant today.

Barbara Havelková is the Shaw Foundation Fellow in Law at Lincoln College and Faculty of Law, University of Oxford. She teaches EU Law, public law, human rights, comparative equality law and feminist jurisprudence. Her research concentrates on legal regulation of gender during State Socialism and in post-communist transition in Central Europe. Barbara completed her first degree in law at the Charles University in Prague, and also holds an LL.M. from Europa-Institut of Saarland University and a DPhil from Oxford. She was previously a lecturer and fellow at the University of Cambridge and visited several law schools as a guest researcher, including Harvard University and University of Michigan as a Fulbright scholar and the NYU as an Emile Noel Fellow. Barbara acts as an advisor to the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic on issues of gender and law.

Upcoming Events

We will resume our programs starting in September.

In September, we are preparing two events. The first will be a talk by a young Oxford professor Barbara Havelková about her new book Gender Equality in Law: Uncovering the Legacies of Czech State Socialism. Then, in cooperation with the Slovak Consulate, our talented member Gabriel Levický will present and interpret a selection of his Gablevages, collages with poetic and political undertones. In October, we will host a presentation by young Czech progressive architects from the studio Architects A1 in Prague. It will draw a new audience from the world of architecture. We will cooperate with the Storefront for Arts organization and Cooper Union. In November, the seventh 6-Minute Challenge will welcome more Czechs and Slovaks of New York to present their interesting work and projects. In December, we plan to partner with other BBLA organizations and organize a sing-along of traditional Christmas songs led by a professional singer and with texts and pronunciation instructions provided to the audience.

Stand by for details.

Have a splendid summer!

6-Minute Challenge – HS Special

Students with the Consul General, Martin Dvorak, (back left), the AFCSLS’s president, Martin Herman (back right), and the SVU Board members (sitting from the left) Jitka and Pavel Illner, Suzanna Halsey and Charlotta Kotik.
Sunday, JULY 16 at 6pm
Bohemian National Hall
321 E 73 St, 3rd floor, New York City

Moderated by Martin Herman, president of AFCSLS

The Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences (SVU) in New York and the American Fund for Czech and Slovak Leadership Studies (AFCSLS) partnered for this special presentation. Ten Czech outstanding 15-18-year-old students following their summer academic studies program at Princeton University presented themselves, their experience at Princeton, and their academic aspirations. In English and in six minutes!

These students were selected in a tough competition of about 300 best Czech applicants to participate in Center for Talented Youth (CTY) Summer Program at one of twenty-four university campuses in the United States. CTY is a program of Johns Hopkins University. Once nominated, each student chooses a course and spends three weeks of intensive studies with about 15 other students from all over the world sharing the same interests and the love of learning. The Czech students’ participation is sponsored by the American Fund for Czech and Slovak Leadership Studies (AFCSLS) .

Students: Michael Buchar (Praha – web design), Anna Hrubá (Praha – robotics), Emil Javurek (Praha -mathematics), Oliver Laryea (Praha – nanotechnology), Filip Novotný (Jihlava- astronomy), Ondrej Pelánek (Brno- ornitology), Martin Picek (Ceské Budejovice – micro controllers), Kristýna Pokorná (Praha – science promotion), Ondrej Tuma (Zlín – electronics) and Vojtech Turland (Brno – applied mathematics).

More PHOTOS from the event are in our SVU NY FaceBook Page Album.


Film & Discussion

Wednesday, June 7, 2017 at 7pm

JUNACI Z PRACHU/ Scouts Rising form the Dust
Documentary film (dir. Tomas Vitek, 2010, 26min., in Slovak with English subtitles)

A story of persecution of the Scout organization members during the communist regime in Slovakia.

Life of a Diplomat: Martin Dvorák

Wednesday, June 21 at 7pm, 2017

A farewell event with the Consul General of the Czech Republic
Join us in thanking Martin for his friendship and continuous support, and in wishing him happy sailing to his new destination.

Moderated by Chris Harwood

Come learn Martin’s amazing career trajectory. From a boy growing up in Pardubice to a university student in Prague. From a dissident under communism to mayor of the regional metropolis Hradec Králové. From a UN mission in Kosovo to elections in Ukraine and rebuilding in Iraq, to joining the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2004. From a trade post at the Czech Embassy in Washington to the Consul General in New York in 2012.

Martin shared his Kosovo experiences in his book, Kosovo na vlastní kuži (Kosovo under My Skin), which was published in 2001 with an introduction by Václav Havel, and he wrote regular columns in MF Dnes daily about Iraq’s reconstruction in 2003. He speaks five languages. Martin and his wife Zuzana are both avid and accomplished photographers. We are encouraging them to publish a book of photographs from their time in New York.

A light reception will follow the Q&A.

looking up
Photo by Zuzana Dvoráková


The Czech Republic and the United Nations 🗓

A presentation and panel discussion
Moderated by Jirí Ellinger
Deputy Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the UN

WEDNESDAY, MAY 17, 2017 at 7pm
Bohemian National Hall
321 E 73 Str, New York, NY 10021

Meet diplomats of the Czech Mission to the UN and find out what keeps them busy, worries them and makes them laugh at work. Get the inside scoop, serious and not so serious: How strong is the voice of the Czech Republic? or Why do countries serve free ice cream at the UN? You will be able to ask other questions during the Q&A. In English.

In cooperation with the Permanent Mission of the Czech Republic to the United Nations.
Suggested donation $5.00


The Fifth 6-Minute Challenge: Academic Show & Tell

Wednesday, April 19, 2017 at 7pm

Czech and Slovak artists, professionals, students and scholars at universities and institutions in the USA are challenged to present the subject of their project, their studies or research in a short presentation limited to six minutes. In English.

Moderated by Christopher Harwood, PhD, Columbia University

Participants included: Andrea Cumpelík (student-NYU neuroscience), Josef Machac, MD (internal medicine-obesity), Magdalena Urbánková (art education), Anna Rathkopf (Jewish studies and Her2 project), Jan Zika, PhD (TV production), Elizabeth Rajec, PhD (Franz Kafka project), Adéla Wagner (visual activist, All People Are project) and Karolina Syrovátková (pianist and founder of Living by the Great Composers series)

In cooperation with the Consulate General of the Slovak Republic
With the support of the Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association (BBLA).

The Role of Arts and Culture in the Masaryk Family

promoAn illustrated talk by Charlotta Kotik

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at 7pm
Bohemian National Hall
321 E 73 St, New York City

Ms. Kotik is the great -granddaughter of T. G. Masaryk, the first president of Czechoslovakia (1918-1937) and his Brooklyn-born wife Charlotta Garrigue. Her presentation demonstrated the role of humanities in her family sharing roots in both European and American cultural traditions.

Charlotta Kotik is an independent curator living in Brooklyn. She teaches at the School of Visual Arts, NYC, and the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague. As a former Head of the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Brooklyn Museum, she initiated new programs, such as the Grand Lobby Projects and Working in Brooklyn series to document the energy of the nascent Brooklyn art scene. She is a board member of the Jindrich Chalupecky Award, an important recognition of young visual artists in the Czech Republic.

She is also a member of the national Executive Board of the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences (SVU). Her latest curatorial project Politicizing Space is on display until March 31, 2017 at Anya and Andrew Shiva Gallery, John Jay College of Criminal Justice / CUNY in Manhattan.

For photos from the event please visit our Face Book Album

The Unbearable Weight of Paternity

The Unbearable Weight of Paternity: The Problem of Fatherhood in the Fiction of Milan Kundera
A talk by Christopher Harwood
Wed, February 22, 2017 at 7pm

Bohemian National Hall
321 E 73 St, New York City

Since Milan Kundera first began publishing prose fiction in the 1960s, his provocative and often comic depictions of human sexual behavior have drawn thousands of readers to his work. But they have also earned him the labels of misogynist from many critics.

This presentation examines the related theme in Kundera’s fiction of the uneasy relationship between men and their real or hypothetical offspring. In surveying several examples of problematic fatherhood and paternity-avoidance in Kundera’s novels, it relates the dread of procreation to an Existentialist stance of embracing freedom and authenticity. In the process, it also explores some key philosophical and aesthetic categories in Kundera’s fiction which extend beyond the theme of fatherhood.

Christopher Harwood, PhD, has been Lecturer in Czech in the Slavic Department of Columbia University since 2001. He also works occasionally as a freelance translator (from Czech and Russian to English) and interpreter (between Czech and English). His professional interests focus on methods for teaching Czech as a foreign language and on 20th- and 21st-century Czech literature and culture. In various contexts over the years, he has taught Czech, English, German and Russian as foreign languages. He holds BA (1990), MA (1992) and PhD (2000) degrees in Russian literature from Columbia University.


Farewell Evening with Jana Trnovcová 🗓

Friday, January 27, 2017 at 7pm
Bohemian National Hall in Manhattan

An evening with Jana Trnovcová, Consul General of the Slovak Republic, whose diplomatic post in New York is coming to an end, to thank her for her support, cooperation and friendship. In English.


Friends and colleagues will share personal remarks, stories, and songs as a send-off for Jana to take with her to her next destination. A light reception will follow the program.
Let us know by Jan 24 if you would like to participate in the program. Note that your remarks shall be limited to 2minutes!

Organized by The Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences (SVU) and the Consulate General of the Slovak Republic in New York.