The 6-Minute Challenge, Vol. 15!

Join us for our signature program since 2014, when artists, professionals, scholars and scientists of Czech or Slovak descent are challenged to introduce their talent, the subject of their work, project, research, or studies in a short presentation limited to six minutes. In English.
You will learn, laugh, and enjoy impressive performances!

Thursday, December 7, 2023
Moderated by Christopher Harwood


In our 15th edition, we will welcome the following presenters:
Matej Cíp (cimbalom player, student at Berklee NYC), Ilona Kohlová (graphic designer, artist), Aneta Kohoutová (Fulbright- ethics of public spaces), Jana Krupková (arts management & production), Pavel Liska (immersive artist), Barbora Lišková (event producer), Luboš Náprstek (luthier), Alicka Pistek (communications & emerging technology), Yvette Vašourková (Fulbright-architecture and public spaces), and Klára Zíková English (mezzo-soprano)

Free and open to the public. Suggested donation $5.
Seats are limited, on a first-come first-served basis.


Organized by the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences (SVU), New York Chapter with the support of BBLA.

Jaroslav Josef Polívka, Frank Lloyd Wright, and New York

September 28, 2023, at 7 PM
Bohemian National Hall, Manhattan

A talk by Ladislav Jackson, PhD

The talk presented the lesser-known facts about the design and construction of the Guggenheim Museum between 1946 and 1949 when a Czech structural engineer, Jaroslav Josef Polívka, invented the iconic spiral diverging ramp without inner supporting pillars. Between 1946 and 1959, Polivka designed structural constructions for another eight of Frank Lloyd Wright’s projects. The speaker discussed Polivka’s unique influence on Frank Lloyd Wright’s work, specifically the Guggenheim Museum and Belmont Racetrack Pavillion in New York City.


Ladislav Jackson (formerly Zikmund-Lender) is a visual arts and architecture historian. Since 2018, he has been an assistant professor at the Department of History and Theory of Art, Faculty of Fine Arts, Brno University of Technology (VUT Brno), where he teaches global and local 20th-Century Art courses and critical theory (feminist, queer, and critical race studies). His research focuses on 20th-century architecture and design; and gender and queer studies in art history. In 2016, he was a Fulbright scholar University of California in Berkeley. Jackson also curates exhibitions on architecture and design and wrote, edited, or co-edited about twenty books, including Hotel Praha (2019), Villas and Family Houses in Hradec Králové (2020), Myth of an Architect: Jan Kot?ra 150 (2021), The Church of the Divine Heart: 1928?1932 (2022) and his latest Philosopher of Structures: Architect and Engineer Jaroslav J. Polívka (1886–1960). He is an executive director of the Society for Queer Memory in Prague.

This event was organized by the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences (SVU) in New York with the support of the Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association.

Czech History in Brooklyn

June 4, 2023, at 11 am
First Unitarian Congregational Society
119-120 Pierrepont St. @ Monroe St.
Brooklyn Heights, NYC

We joined the First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn to commemorate the 100th anniversary celebration of the Flower Communion ceremony introduced in 1923 by Dr. Norbert Capek, founder of Czech Unitaria in Prague. It was the home church of Charlotte Garrigue Masaryk (1850-1923), the Brooklyn-born First Lady of newly formed Czechoslovakia in 1918. Both her husband, Tomáš Masaryk, and her son Jan spoke from this church’s pulpit. Charlotte Garrigue Masaryk was instrumental in developing close ties of this church with the Czechoslovak Unitaria. The ninth reverend of this Brooklyn church, John Howland Lathrop, headed a relief program in Czechoslovakia following World War II. You can find some memorabilia and photos in the church. A glass window depicting Jan Hus was donated by Alice Masaryk.

We were joined by Mr. Scott Fredrick, a great grandson of Norbert Capek!

The full-service streaming on Facebook.

15:40 Singing the hymn Mother Spirit by Norbert Capek
34:52 Rev.Meagan Henry about Norbert Capek
1:25:00 Singing a Czech folk song Aj lucka, lucka , in Czech!

In Czech
Story of the Flower Communion made in 1993 for Radio Free Europe by Suzanna Pakesova Halsey. She added images to the original audio-only recording.

(Czech) Photography of the New Millennium

Photography of the New Millennium
An illustrated talk and book presentation
by Marian Beneš, Ph.D., MQEP

Tuesday, May 23, 2023, at 7 PM
Bohemian National Hall, 3rd Floor
321 E 73 St, Manhattan

The award-winning Czech photographer and educator Marian Beneš will present his photographic work, including the fascinating images of the Bohemian National Hall renovation and the portraits of Czech compatriots living in New York City. He will also offer historical insight into the beginnings of digital photography and its specifics in the Czech Republic. We will learn about his collaboration with Prof. Miroslav Vojt?chovský, the doyen of Czech photography, and their work with students as reflected in his new book Photography of the New Millennium: From Technical Mutations to the Poetics of Authorial Creation. For this book, he received in 2022 the prestigious Best Publisher Title prize in the FEP European Photo Book Award competition in Rome.

Moderated by Christopher Harwood, PhD


Marian Beneš is a photographer, university educator, curator, juror, a holder of the Master Qualified European Photographer title (MQEP) awarded by the Federation of European Professional Photographers.
He is a Head of the Studio of Photography and Audio-Visual Arts at the University of Creative Communication in Prague and a vice-president of the Association of Professional Photographers of the Czech Republic. He also teaches at the Institute of Creative Photography at Silesian University. He graduated from the Film Academy of Performing Arts in Prague and received his doctorate from the Faculty of Art and Design at J. E. Purkyn? University. As a Fulbright scholar, he studied at the International Center of Photography in New York City. His work includes digital photography for communication campaigns, advertising, editorials, and exhibitions. His award-winning photography has been widely exhibited and is included in the collections of private collectors, galleries, and institutions.


MARCH 22, 2023, at 7pm
Bohemian National Hall, Manhattan

Scholars, scientists, artists, and professionals of Czech or Slovak descent are challenged to introduce the subject of their work, project, research or studies in a short presentation limited to six minutes. A signature program of SVU, New York Chapte, since 2014. In English.

Moderated by Christopher Harwood

Presenters: Jaroslav Bendl (Assistant Professor, Icahn School of Medicine – bioinformatics), Jaroslav Borovicka (Associate Professor, New York University – economics), Viktor Dvorak (counselor, EU delegation to the United Nations), Eva Giannone (Baker and Energy natural medicine consultant), Tomas Jamnik (violoncellist, Fulbright Scholar), Eva Jamnikova (violinist), Michala Metzler (Founder OYA New Earth), Irena Michalcik (OCR athlete and educator), and Pavel Semerak (Bohemian National Hall renovation manager.)


Organized by the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences (SVU), New York Chapter.


Bedrich Feuerstein: Prague-Paris-Tokyo and New York

An illustrated talk by Helena Capkova, PhD

Tuesday, FEBRUARY 28, 2023, at 7 pm
Bohemian National Hall
321 E 73 St, New York



Bedrich Feuerstein was an influential member of the Czechoslovak and European avant-garde of the interwar period. He was a cosmopolitan figure, always on the move seeking inspiration and inspiring the rich network of his collaborators. He spent two years at the Perrets’ atelier in Paris and four years working with Antonín Raymond in Japan. The key project of his career developed for Raymond was the St. Luke’s Hospital in Tokyo. As a part of the design process, Feuerstein visited the US and studied the most progressive hospitals, such as the Presbyterian and Mt. Sinai in New York. The talk will introduce Feuerstein’s rich and diverse design work focusing on his American research trip and its outcomes.

HELENA CAPKOVÁ, PhD, is a Czech Tokyo/Kyoto-based curator, researcher, and art history professor at Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto. She studied transnational visual culture and Japanese studies in Prague and London. As a PhD candidate, she collaborated on international and interdisciplinary research projects such as Forgotten Japonisme (2007-2010) and later Enchanted Modernities: Theosophy, Modernism, and the Arts, c.1875-1960 (2013-2015). Since 2010, she has published and lectured extensively about the specific nature of Japanese modernism and avant-garde, which she considers an inherent part of art history, traditionally perceived as Western. Her publications on this topic include ” Believe in socialism!: Architect Bedrich Feuerstein and His Perspective on Modern Japan and Architecture (2016) and “Careless Shell “– Transnational exploration of Czechoslovak and Japanese Surrealisme (2015). In 2017, she designed a series about architect Antonin Raymond at the Tokyo Czech Center. The successful series led to the book Antonín Raymond in Japan (1948–1976), which she edited with architect K. Kitazawa.

In 2022, Dr. Capková curated an extensive exhibition, Bedrich Feuerstein, Architect: Prague-Paris-Tokyo and New York, at the National Technical Museum in Prague. There will be a few copies of the catalog available for sale at the event. Catalogs are also available online from the National Technical Museum:

A recording of Dr. Capková’s 2021 SVU NY Zoom talk about another important Czech architect Antonin Raymond is available on SVU NY YouTube Channel.

This event is organized by the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences (SVU), New York Chapter, with the support of the Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association (BBLA).

Czech and Slovak Studies Workshop Keynote Address

Friday, April 20 at 5:30pm
Bohemian National Hall
321 E 73 St, 3rd Fl
New York City

beckerman noty
Prof. Michael Beckerman, New York University, will deliver the keynote address “My Little Czech Fakebook” for the 2018 Czech and Slovak Studies Workshop.

Since the year 2000, the Czech (and Slovak) Studies Workshop has brought together scholars from the United States and abroad to explore Czech- and Slovak-themed topics from such diverse fields as anthropology, architecture and art history, economics, education, film, geography, history, Jewish studies, literature, music, philosophy, politics, religion, sociology, and theater.
In cooperation with the Harriman Institute and East Central European Center at Columbia University.

Contact: Christopher Harwood, cwh4 at
Slavic Department – Columbia University
708 Hamilton Hall – MC 2839
1130 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10026

The Melting Pot of Eastern Slovakia: Slovaks and Rusyns

A presentation by John Righetti
In cooperation with Carpatho-Rusyn Society New York Chapter

Saturday, May 19th
at 5:00 PM

For centuries, Slovaks and Carpatho-Rusyns have lived alongside one another in the Central Carpathians, causing many to not be able to clearly define these groups
culturally. What do they have in common –and what makes them culturally distinct?
Enjoy a fascinating journey into the two ethnic group’s history, language, food, dance and their identities.

John Righetti is the national president of the Carpatho-Rusyn Society, North America’s largest Rusyn cultural organization.  He has studied Carpatho-Rusyn history and culture extensively in both the United States and Europe and has served in numerous leadership roles in the international Carpatho-Rusyn community, including recently as North American representative to the World Council of Rusyns.



Monday, May 7, 2012 at 7:00 PM

American Diplomats and Spies in Postwar Prague:
Was the 1948 Communist Takeover Inevitable?

A lecture by Professor Igor Lukes, PhD.

In cooperation with the Consulate General of the Czech Republic in New York.

Professor Lukes will explore the communist conquest of Czechoslovakia from the perspective of American diplomats and intelligence officers who served in the U.S. Embassy from the spring of 1945 to 1949, as presented in his latest book On the Edge of the Cold War: American Diplomats and Spies in Postwar Prague, just published by Oxford University Press. The book will be available for purchase at the event.

Dr. Igor Lukes teaches history and international relations at Boston University.  He has written about Europe between the world wars, the Cold War, intelligence, and contemporary developments in East Central Europe and Russia.  His publications include Rudolf Slansky: His Trial and Trials and Czechoslovakia, Between Stalin and Hitler: The Diplomacy of Edvard Benes in the 1930s. Lukes is also a frequent political commentator on Radio Prague and Czech Television.


Latest News from the Pyramids: Czech research in Abusir

Monday, April 30, 2012 at 6:30 PM

A slide lecture by Prof. Miroslav Bárta, PhD.

In cooperation with the Czech Consulate NY

Abusir is one of the most important archaeological sites in Egypt. The Czech Institute of Egyptology worked here for more than 50 years. It contains royal tombs from the 5th dynasty (Old Kingdom), mastabas (tombs) of high officials, as well as shaft tombs from the Saite-Persian period.

Prof. Barta teaches at the Institute of Egyptology at Charles University in Prague. He led the first satellite mapping of the pyramid fields of Abusir, Saqqara and Dahshur in 2002. In the years 2003-2004, he taught at University of Pennsylvania, and since 2010 he is the head of the Czech Archaeological concession at Abusir.



Wednesday, March 28, 2012 at 6:30 PM

A slide lecture by Prof. Eugen Strouhal, PhD, DrSc.

In cooperation with the Czech Consulate in New York

This lecture explored the beginnings of scientific medicine in ancient Egyptian civilization. Thirteen ancient medical papyri recorded the level of the empiric knowledge of anatomy, patho-physiology and therapy. Prof. Strouhal presented the amazingly advanced surgical practices in ancient Egypt while the internal medicine and gynecology still relied mostly on religious rituals and remedies of plant, animal and mineral origin.

Prof. Strouhal is a leading expert on Egyptian medicine. He has degrees in medicine, archaeology and anthropology. He worked for 24 years at the Náprstek Museum in Prague and taught anthropology at West Bohemian University in Pilsen. He lectures paleo-pathology and history of medicine at Charles University Medical School in Prague.



Sat, Dec 3 at 6PM

Download the InvitationPhotographs of Prague from 1932-1965 by renowned photographer Jan Lukas, and by his daughter Helena Lukas Martemucci from 1993-2011. Photos from Martemucci’s series Art, Citizenship, Healing, taken during her Fulbright Scholarship in 1998-1999, will also be presented. Exhibition open Dec 3 – 23, 2011
at the Bohemian National Hall

Followed by a Fullbright Alumni concert at 7:30 PM.


SVU Recommends: GOLEM. A play by Vít Hořejš

Nov 17 – Dec 4, 2011

Czechoslovak American Marionette Theater at La MaMa Theater, 66 East Fourth Street (Ellen Stewart Theater), NYC

Century-old and contemporary life-size wooden Czech marionettes interact with puppeteers, klezmer musicians and dancers.

Special Benefit Performance and Reception was held on November 18, 2011, under the Auspices of Ambassador Petr Gandalovič and Consul General Eliška Žigová.


Recreating the GOLEM: From Prague to the Simpsons

Tuesday, November 8 at 7PM
A slide lecture by Mark Podwal on how succeeding generations have recreated the golem legend to suit the times. The lecture will touch on the first mention of golems in Biblical and Talmudic sources, the origins of Prague’s golem legend, the transformed image of the Prague golem from servant to protector in the early 20th century, and numerous depictions of golems in book illustration, fine art, and film, including the Simpsons TV episode You Gotta Know When to Golem.

Mark Podwal is the author and illustrator of numerous books. Most of these works – Podwal’s own as well as those he has illustrated for others – typically focus on Jewish legend, history and tradition. Podwal illustrated Elie Wiesel’s retelling of the Golem legend, as well as his own children’s book “Golem: A Giant Made of Mud.” He is currently designing new embroidered textiles for Prague’s Altneuschul.


Czech Archeological Discoveries in Egypt

Wednesday, November 2, 2011 at 7PM
A slide lecture by Sylva Pavlasová, Czech Egyptologist and Consul of the Czech Republic

Sylva Pavlasová studied Egyptology and Prehistoric and Early Historic Archaeology at Charles University in Prague. As a curator of the Egyptology Department of the Náprstek Ethnic History Museum in Prague, she produced several exhibitions on Ancient Egypt, including a special exhibition for the blind which was also shown in Slovakia, Egypt, Australia and the United States. She served as cultural attaché in Egypt (1999- 2003), deputy chief of mission and chargé d´affaires at the Czech Embassy in Lebanon (2003-2006), a specialist at Middle East Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affaires in Prague (2006-2009).