Six Minute Challenge June 7th a Success!!!

Thank you all for coming!!!


Washington DC’s first Six Minute Challenge was a wonderful success!!!  After a witty introduction by Deputy Chief of Mission Zdeněk Beránek,  five individuals and one team of High School Students from the Greater Washington DC  featured a variety of fascinating presentations.  Panelists Martina Hrvolova, Ivo Jenik, Natalie Masri, Roman Kostovski, Jiri Stavovčík,  Nick Kiefer and Josef Harvey covered topics about historical documentaries , the significance of mentorship and sponsorship, visual arts, finance, international development and democracy , publishing and literary translation.  The presentations were followed by a Q&A session after which everyone had a chance to meet one another during the reception.  Participants and guest enjoyed a wonderful selection of food prepared by the Embassy’s Master Chef Zdeněk Pecka. The goulash was spectacular!  We thank the Czech Embassy staff, namely Cultural Attache  Šárka Ponroy Vamberová for helping us organize the logistics of this event and graciously letting us extend our stay at the Embassy a little while longer.  A special thank goes to Suzanna Halsey of SVU-NY who came up with the concept of the Six Minute Challenge, and to SVU-DC’s own board member Ota Safertalova who had the insight to bring this event down to the Nation’s Capitol. It was a great event and we all enjoyed it very much!



Photos from The Six Minute Challenge

SVU-DC would like to highlight the efforts of  Maryland State Finalists Joseph Harvey and Nick Kiefer whose Documentary film Torch about Jan Palach will be shown during National History Day.  

For those who are interested you can view their work here:

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Six Minute Challenge 🗓



The Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences – Washington, DC

The Embassy of the Czech Republic

Invites You to

The Six Minute Challenge

June 7th, 2017 at 6 p.m.

At the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Washington, DC

Come and join a group of interesting indviduals living in the Greater Washington DC Area  linked by origin or the nature of their work to the Czech and Slovak Republics.  A panel of six professionals and one team of high school students will each have six minutes to present their work/projects to a listening  audience.  Attending guests can then participate in a Q&A session and later have the opportunity to network during a reception where one can enjoy a selection of Czech wine and beer as well as delicious food prepared by the Embassy’s Master Chef. Tickets are free of charge. All that we ask is that if you RSVP but realize you cannot attend, please cancel your registration on Eventbrite by May 31st so that others may reserve your ticket. The RSVP deadline for this event is June 4th, 2017. 

Moderated by Natalie Safertal Masri, Founder of Brave May




Martina Hrvolova PhD. LL.M.

Martina Hrvolova manages the Europe Program at the Center for International Private Enterprise in Washington, DC, one of the core institutes of the US National Endowment for Democracy and the US Chamber of Commerce affiliate. Previously, she served as a human rights expert of the Slovak Foreign Service as the Executive Secretary of the Slovak Chairmanship of the Council of Europe. Between 2010 and 2015, she was posted to the Slovak Missions to NATO and EU in Brussels, Belgium, primarily advising on public affairs, NATO Partnerships, EU expansion in the Balkans. Martina is passionate about volunteering at OSCE election observation missions in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. She has earned her a degree in International and Comparative Law at George Washington University Law School in Washington, DC and a PhD. in European Civil Law from the Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia.


 Joseph Harvey, Nick Kiefer and Abby McGovern

This team of high school students from Frederick Maryland will share their experience working on their project for National History Day, a nation-wide  history competition in which students present historical research  based a yearly theme.  The trio took on the challenge of this year’s theme of  “Taking a Stand in History” and created a documentary depicting Dubcek’s  Prague Spring democratic reforms and the Warsaw Pact invasion of 1968 that consequentially led to the self-immolation of  Jan Palach.  They will share their research on how Jan Palach’s actions inspired the citizens of Prague and impacted the Czech democracy movements twenty years later  when the student march on the anniversary of Palach’s death eventually  lead to the spark of the Velvet Revolution.

 Ivo Jeník

Ivo Jenik  studied law at Charles University in Prague, the Sorbonne in Paris and Columbia Law School in New York. He practices international law working at the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor. Among other things, he is responsible for activities related to supervisory capacity building, innovative finance, regulation of complex products, and dispute resolution.  Previously, he worked with the Responsible Financial Access team at the World Bank where he specialized in financial consumer protection and alternative dispute resolution, providing technical assistance to client countries including Indonesia, Malawi, Rwanda, Zambia, and many more. Before joining the World Bank, Ivo was Head of the Collective Investment Department of the Czech Financial Ombudsman.

 Roman Kostovski

Roman Kostovski has degrees in Russian Language and Linguistics from the College of William and Mary and  University of Maryland.  He holds  a post graduate certification from  Charles University in Prague.  He has taught Czech at George Washington University and worked as a Central and Southeastern European Media Analyst at Georgetown University.  He translates poetry and prose from Bosnian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Macedonian, Russian, Serbian, and Slovak into English. His translations have appeared in numerous journals, including Absinthe-New European Writings and Watchword Press. His translation of Arnost Lustig’s Porgess was published by Northwestern University Press in 2006, and his translation of Viktor Dyk’s Czech classic The Ratcatcher was published by Plamen Press in 2014.  He is a recipient of the 2017 National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship for the  translation of Hana Andronikova’s novel Heaven Has no Ground. He founded Plamen Press in 2013, an independant publishing house promoting literature from Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe throughout the English-speaking world. He works and resides with his three children in Washington, D.C.

 Natalie Masri

As Founder of Brave May, Natalie Masri consults with organizations on strategic solutions and impactful partnerships in the areas of women’s economic empowerment and leadership, diversity inclusion, and sustainability. Her most recent work involved managing a multi-stakeholder partnership with the United Nations on the role of business in women’s economic empowerment and as well as a partnership with the U.S. India Business Council on investing in women and youth in India. As a former Senior Director of the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Center of Women in Business Masri worked with women executives and entrepreneurs, military spouses, corporations to promote economic, financial, and social  advancement of women into leadership positions. She developed strategies  for companies to  better incorporate women at every level, promoting  mentorship, sponsorship, networking, and the significance of how women are reshaping the entrepreneurial landscape. Natalie spent time working in Prague, Czech Republic, at the Center for Democracy and Free Enterprise (CDFE), a non-governmental organization dedicated to integrating the Czech Republic into NATO and the European Union and to promoting active citizen involvement in democratic processes. She resides in Charlottesville, Virginia with her husband and three children.

 Jiří IURRO Stavovčík

Jiří Stavovčík spent his childhood in Cuba and Czechoslovakia. In 1995, he graduated from Palacký University in Olomouc where he studied history and political science. In 2003, he received his MBA in bank management from Moravian College, PA. Currently, Jiri works as a negotiator for development projects in Africa. Jiří is also an artist. He studied figurative drawing at Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia and Spring Studio in New York City. His art has been featured at various group shows and solo exhibitions in New York City, Washington D.C. and Nagano (Japan). He is currently represented by Artspace 109 in Alexandria, VA.


Vladimir Wolf

Originally from Eastern Slovakia, Vladimir Wolf studied Biology at the  Pavol Jozef Šafárik University  in Košice. He completed his postgraduate studies at the University of Bern in Switzerland where he focused his research on breast cancer. After completing his PhD, he relocated to Bethesda, Maryland and began work at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) where he furthered his studies in the biology of cancer. Vladimir later broke out of academic research and began working for  the biotech companies Trophgen and QIAGEN. After receiving an MBA he founded an independent consulting firm, Pleiades Consulting LLC.  For the past two years,  along with fellow Slovak scientist Pavol Cekan he established MultiplexDX Incorporated, a company based in the US and Slovakia that focuses on  developing  a reliable, accurate, quantitative and inexpensive diagnostic test for breast cancer – Multiplex7+TM.  His company’s primary goal is to eliminate misdiagnosis in breast cancer testing. MultiplexDX was the Overall winner of the 2016 StartUp Slovakia Award. It was also listed among the 100 most innovative Slovak companies.  After receiving funding from the European Union, MultiplexDX  built a new R&D facility in Košice, which is the first of its kind.  Vladimir continues to live in the area with his wife Eva, a virologist and his 14 year daughter.  


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